Learn from us: Here’s a few things we wish we knew!
When you start out on your fitness journey it is nerve-wrecking, scary, and full of click-bait information that makes it hard to decipher fact from fiction. So if you’re new to this journey, here are a few things I learned along the way that may be helpful to you.
#1: Not ALL “Health” Food is Healthy
Many of the health benefits touted on the boxes of Pop Chips / Lean Cuisines / Special K are nothing more than clever marketing. While there are definitely less calories in these items than their alternatives, you’re still eating a TON of processed foods. How your food is produced is REALLY important. Trying to stick to whole, non-processed foods will take you a lot further in your fitness journey.
#2: Rest Days Aren’t Lazy, They’re Essential
I use to pride myself on the fact that I was team No Days Off. I had this fear that if I missed one day, I’d somehow completely fall off the rails and lose all of my progress. If you’re pushing yourself hard, rest days are ESSENTIAL for your muscles to repair and rebuild. Going to the gym became so ingrained in my daily routine that it was hard for me not to go. If this sounds like you, I recommend taking “active” rest days, such as light cardio, yoga, or something minimally taxing on your body so you can still get some movement in while giving yourself a chance to recover.
#3: Increasing Weight Isn’t Always The Best Mode
The most obvious way to “progress” in the gym is to continually increase the amount of weight you’re using as you become stronger. However, it’s important not remember that there are other ways to make an exercise more challenging. To switch things up I sometimes like to drop the weight and focus on completing the exercise, particularly the eccentric (or lowering) phase, nice and slow. This maximizes the time that the muscle is under tension allowing for greater growth.
#4: Comparisons Will Never Help
One of the worst things that you can do as you go about this journey is compare yourself to others. There will always be someone out there who is fitter than you, leaner than you, stronger than you, and so on. Don’t pay attention to them. This is YOUR journey so the only person you need to worry about is yourself. Are you better than you were yesterday? That is the question you need to be asking.
#5: Seeking Assistance Will Help
Don’t be afraid to ask others for support. You can benefit from the experience of others, whether this is a personal trainer or a friend who’s more experienced than you. Failing to get the help you need could be the one thing that causes your progress to stagnate. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about it. Reach out and you’ll be glad you did.
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