What I Wish I'd Known
Starting a fitness journey can be really exciting. Though oftentimes I'm sure we feel pressured into it by society, fears, or anxiety. Whatever reason you started, it doesn't matter. You're on your journey now. I've had a lot of ups and downs on my journey, and I want to share the top 5 things I wish I'd known or fully understood when I started. 1. The scale is a liar. I've had lots of ups and downs with the scale (pun totally intended). I focused on it so much when I started out. But really, it's a huge liar when it comes to performance, happiness, success, and how you feel. I weigh almost the same as I did when I started out, but my capacities are completely different. I feel better, I am more energetic, I can lift more, and I'm happy. Rather than setting an arbitrary number as a goal, I know now it's better to set a goal based on how I want to feel, or want to be able to do. 2. One workout a day is sufficient. When I started, I wanted to work out lots. I figured the more I worked out, the more I'd benefit. But actually that's not the case. Sometimes the excessive workouts were doing me a disservice. Straining my joints, I was more prone to injury (and I did suffer injuries), and I wasn't as effective in my workouts. You really need your nutrition on point if you are going to work out several hours or more a day. But often, we are thinking of the scale, so we don't eat enough. I know now, I'm more successful with one workout where I give my best effort. And I am better served by going to a yoga class or doing mobility instead of more lifting. 3. Stretching really is super important. This is big. Flexibility without strength, strength without flexibility. Neither is good. Your muscles get tight, short, long, or weak based on how you train them (or not). Balance is key. Ideally no muscle overtakes any other. But this is achieved through proper workout planning, and also through mobility. Your body will work at its best, and be set up for long term success, if you are mobile. In the end, most of us just want to be 90 and able to tie our own shoes. That's my goal. When I started out, I barely stretched. And wondered why I couldn't get into good positions for lifting. *spoiler alert* I stretch lots now. 4. Missing a workout is not the end of the world. This one is still a work in progress for me, but at least I acknowledge it. First of all, we have to honour our bodies. If your body is telling you no workout, listen. Second, if you miss one workout you are not going to lose all your progress or suddenly gain 10 lbs. It doesn't work like that. This is sometimes hard to accept, but it will be worth it. Because then you can go out and enjoy yourself without endlessly thinking about what you missed at the gym or feel guilty about what you are doing while you aren't there. 5. Think long term. It's really great to be able to snatch 150lbs, but what is that going to net you later on in life? As I mentioned before, most of us just want to be able to tie our shoes at 90, me included. It's not to say it wouldn't be awesome to still be lifting heavy well into retirement, but I wonder now what kind of damage I may have done when my ego was leading my journey. I wish I had been more focused on the long term, more patient with my progress, and not always trying to push my body somewhere ahead of where it was ready to go. Mostly because I want my body, joints, and bones to handle all that I might do as I hopefully reach 60, 70, 80 or 100 years of age, mobility and movement will be my mantras.