Welcome to my very first Turn Up Tuesday everyone!
With my first full year of blogging down, and the start of a new year beginning, I was brainstorming some different topics I could share with you all. Every 3rd Tuesday, I plan to share new fitness related content that I will deem Turn Up Tuesday. Fitness has been a HUGE part of my life for the last several years. It’s a topic waaaay out of my comfort zone, but something I’m super inspired by. So, I thought I would first start by sharing my personal fitness journey… and full disclosure, I was SUPER nervous to write about this topic!!!! I spent A LOT of time writing and re-writing this post. I wasn’t sure how in depth I should get, but I thought it was super important for you to know that I’ve done it all… lost weight the unhealthy way, ate through stress which landed me 20 pounds heavier then I’ve ever been, and then lost weight slowly over a long period of time.
So here we go, my fitness journey in a snapshot (it’s about to get real)…
In 2012, I graduated college weighing under 100 pounds… stressed, eating basically nothing, and working out like crazy. I was a cardio queen, and easily at an all-time emotional and mental low. This was right about the same time as when Instagram hit the scene… home of filters, and body modifying apps. I was the girl who was constantly comparing my athletic “soccer legs” to beautiful models (even if it wasn’t real). I was seeking some sort of internal validation, which quickly became a slightly toxic, fitness obsession. At that time, I equated happiness with a number on a scale. Speaking of THE SCALE…such a love hate relationship. I personally am not a huge fan. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t tell you that there have been instances in the past where I let the scale dictate how I felt. But, after playing the game for awhile, I’ve come to learn that losing weight is a lifestyle, not an overnight miracle. AND the scale is a helpful tool, but it sure as hell does NOT define you or how you look for that matter.
Let me also say that I hate talking about weight, but I think it’s important to understand that fitness is just as much a mental journey, as it is a physical one. Right after graduating college, my career took off. I was putting in 80 hours a week, and any extra time I had was put into spending time with my now husband. So, it’s safe to say, my body freaked out and the weight piled on… quickly. In 2014, after getting engaged, I weighed myself for the first time in a year. I was more than 20 pounds heavier… the most I’ve EVER weighed.
And so it began… my REAL fitness journey. I vowed that day to lose weight the RIGHT way this time.
I started slow, substituting eating out for healthier options. My go to meals were the pre-made salads and chicken/rice meals at Trader Joe’s. AND, if I’m being completely honest, I gave up drinking for almost an entire year!! I was the girl drinking water with a lemon, while everyone else guzzled down moscow mules. It was hard at first, but eventually I trained my mind to automatically say “nah, I’ll pass.” I also started lifting weights! I would lift 50% of the time, and mix the stair master with running the other 50%. Or, I would incorporate both into a 30 minute HIIT workout. Something like run for .25 miles, followed by 10 burpees, 10 overhead presses, and 30 sit ups, for 30 minutes straight.
My hubby and I got married one year later, and I was both mentally AND physically happier than I have ever been. I learned to embrace my curves, and love my body regardless of a few stretchmarks. I weighed in about 6 pounds heavier then when I graduated college, but felt a million times better! In fact, because I utilized both cardio AND weight training, I actually had less fat on my body even though I weighed 6 pounds heavier. My point… MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THEN FAT PEOPLE!!! So, don’t be discouraged if weight doesn’t melt off in one week. Give your body time… a good diet mixed with a consistent routine will do wonders for your mental and physical health! It may be hard, but NEVER let the scale dictate your journey.
Now that I’ve shared a little snapshot of my journey, here are my top 5 tips for jumpstarting YOUR fitness plan. I also want mention that I am NOT a fitness expert. I’m merely sharing this information because it’s what I’ve learned over the last several years and something that I wish someone explained to me early on!
#1. Set Clear Goals
Setting realistic and precise goals is THE most important part of a successful fitness journey. Unfortunately, losing weight (and keeping it off) is a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of “losing 5 pounds”, commit to “eating healthy 6 days a week, while going to the gym 4 days a week for 2 months straight.” By doing that, you’re forcing yourself to stay accountable IN THE MOMENT. The hardest part of losing weight is that it’s so easy to say “I want to lose 5 pounds, but I’ll eat this tonight and start tomorrow.” A lot of times, this never actually allows you to start. By setting clear goals (including a timeframe), you hold yourself accountable daily.
#2. Find The Right Routine For Yourself
Finding the right routine for yourself is KEY! Find a few different fitness styles that you really enjoy. Key word here is FEW. For example, my fitness style of choice is spin, but I also incorporate Orange Theory classes in order to get both cardio and weights in. I’m a HUGE advocate of weight training. Ladies, don’t be afraid to grab those weights… I promise you will not come out looking like a man! Besides looking more toned, weight training actually burns more calories both during and after your workout. This helps your body metabolize food better, and hence keep weight off long term. If you can, commit to working out on certain days of the week as well. For example, I workout every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. This obviously changes sometimes, but for the most part I know which days I can come home and relax after work, and which days I have an “appointment” at the gym.
#3. Eat Well
Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Abs are made in the kitchen. If I’m being completely transparent, only about 30% of what you do in the gym is actually going to help transform your body. What you fuel your body with is so important! Eat colors, colors, colors… and I’m not talking about skittles. Ha! Eating lots of greens, berries and protein will not only help your physical fitness, but your mental health as well (which is half the battle). With that being said, what I’ve learned is to (again) COMMIT to eating well 5 or 6 days a week. I found that when I said I’m no longer eating sugar, that’s literally ALL I could think about. So, instead of doing that, plan to eat well over a certain period of time each week, but remember to also give yourself a break too.
#4. Take Milestone Photos
This is one of my favorite parts of the journey! TAKE PHOTOS of your progress! Whether this be weekly or monthly, I think this is what personally helped motivate me the most. There were several times along the way (especially over a year’s time) where I would get discouraged. But, the proof was in the pudding. Looking back at old photos helped show me that my hard work was doing just that… WORKING! And frankly, it pushed me to work even harder.
#5. Reward Yourself
Do I even need to explain this? Again, losing weight is a marathon, not a sprint! CHEAT! But, cheat in moderation. Pick a day once a week to go out to dinner and enjoy a burger! Or, if you know you’re going out for a friend’s birthday one night, make that your cheat meal. Planning is definitely key here. But, above else, hold yourself accountable and stick to your goal.
I really hope this post hit home for some of you and shed some perspective on fitness being a lifestyle. It’s a personal journey that I’ve really learned to respect, and I’ve now been able to incorporate in my everyday life. Yes, I’ve started drinking casually again, I eat bread on my “non-cheat” days, but overall I’ve learned where I can flex to just ENJOY life, because really… that’s what it’s all about!
And my final piece of advice… invest in cute workout clothes! I don’t know if it’s just the blogger in me, but there’s something about looking good (I’m NOT talking about hair and makeup) at the gym. Wearing a quality legging that holds everything in, or a backless top with a cute sports bra LITERALLY motivates me to work harder!! OR, even better, set a short-term goal, and buy yourself a new pair of leggings when you hit that goal! #treatyourself
And perfect timing because the workout gear right now is LIT!!!!!!! OMGosh literally some of my favorite gear I’ve ever seen! I’ve rounded up all of my favorites below. If you’re reading this from an e-mail, click here to be taken to the full post. The shopping widgets below do not work via e-mail.