Here we go; a post about working out. I’ve been avoiding doing one of these, mostly because I wasn’t really working out at all up until a month ago. The stress of office life and monotony of winter weather had gotten to me, keeping me in a very annoying and disappointing slump. Once I returned from my well-needed trip to Greece, feeling rested and rejuvenated, I began taking on a more active weekly routine in order to stay out of the vegetative state I had been in until then. Netflix and chill was not treating me well and so I realized it was time to make a gradual, yet productive change.
Of course, all these opinions are subjective and will most likely continue changing the longer I maintain my routine and as I develop a better understanding of the workouts I am doing. That isn’t to say that I am a complete beginner to the world of fitness ‘goals’ and ‘thinspiration’, however I have learned how to turn the negative aspects of those derived from social media into ones that work for my specific body and not an ideal beauty standard.
DO: STAY HYDRATED. This is something I’ve struggled with even at the time of my peak of physical fitness. It can seem almost impossible to want to drink water when you aren’t even thirsty, but once you do become thirsty it means it’s too late and you’re already dehydrated. Your mind always has to stay one step ahead of your body and I’ve found that the easiest way to do that is keep a reusable water bottle with you all day or (if you are like me and work in an office) a tall, metal Starbucks sippy cup in order to encourage you to drink more. I have one at my desk and in my room that I always keep full and ready for drinking. I try to measure out the amount in a bottle in order to plan ahead for how many to drink that day. I also try to drink one tall glass of cold water first thing in the morning in order to wake me up and kick-start my metabolism for the day.
DON’T: PUT TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF. At one point I was running for 35 minutes every day, without any rests, and barely even breaking a sweat. Working out didn’t seem as treacherous as it does coming back from a vacation full of late night meals and not really caring about diet. However, we all change and our bodies easily adapt to sedentary lifestyles, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get to where we once were or where we want to be. It all just takes some patients and perseverance because no one can jump right back on a treadmill and not feel like dying 10 minutes in. Within the past 3 weeks of regular workouts I have managed to increase my speed slowly and maintain a steady run without having to stop for a break during one of my reps. While that may not seem like a huge achievement, it makes a world of difference when I’m not putting immense pressure on myself to run like a track star. I know it takes time to build a body you want and that is time I am willing to put in.
DO: HAVE THE RIGHT FOOTWARE. Everyone’s workout goals are different and that means different types of shoes will be needed. Having been a long time sufferer of flat feet, I’ve learned the importance of a good pair of running shoes the hard way. Depending on the arch of your foot or the way your ankles bend you will need a specific pair of running shoes that will work with your body instead of against it. I was plagued with shin splints during my most active months and decided it was time to change up my old, flattened out shoes for a new pair that worked with overpronating feet and weak ankles. With the right shoes your feet feel light and bouncy, not stiff and slapping the pavement with every step. Your knees will also thank you in the long run (yay for puns!).
DON’T: COMPARE YOURSELF. Depending on your goals, it can be great motivation to try and match the speed or pace of a friend, trainer or fitness idol. Having some direction in a workouts helps me the most and knowing what to work towards will make things seem much more in reach. However, if weight loss is the goal (which it has been for me and probably is for many people), then comparing yourself to others is not the way to go. Your speed may match someone else’s, but your body never will. And to think that you will look exactly like that Instagram model after working out and losing the weight you want is unrealistic and will distract you from the great body that’s actually yours.