In recent years the ‘fitness’ industry has boomed. I’m sure even the title of this post will bring in some readers. This is partly due to social media, and the beautiful people we follow. Thankfully, it’s also due to us becoming more educated about our own health and diets.
Over the last 2-3 years I’ve got really into weightlifting and keeping fit. It’s not easy to fit it in around normal life, and to push yourself hard enough to see results. My latest personal best was an 80kg deadlift for 1 rep – at 52kg bodyweight. Though, as I write this, I’ve currently had about 2 weeks off the gym.
As much as I really enjoy going to the gym and seeing results, I struggle with the discipline needed to achieve the results I would like. I work full time and try to fit in several hobbies, as well as spending time with my partner and family. So lately, I’ve been extremely hard on myself about how I look and my lack of discipline. I also started a new job 6 months ago which involves lots of travel and variable hours, meaning I’m not always anywhere near a gym.
Fitness and Social Media
The problem with ‘fitness’ is how we see it on social media. Now, I follow several fitness accounts on instagram, some of which I absolutely LOVE. However, like most women, I spend far too much time comparing myself to them. People who follow the perfect diet – never ever slipping, who never skip a training session and still manage to appear to be managing it all. I can not do this.
If you read the above statement and decided I just ‘don’t try hard enough’, then this is the problem. I don’t have a time limit on my goals. How I reach them shouldn’t matter – especially to anyone else. I find going to the gym therapeutic, so my goals are both physical and mental.
I’m guilty of saying I don’t have time for my lifestyle to revolve around my fitness goals, but this isn’t entirely true. My reasons are simple – I don’t want this to be my life. I want to fit too many things in, and the gym isn’t my priority. There is nothing wrong with that!
People who are able to sustain 2 gym sessions a day and 6 meals – for several weeks, are incredible to me. When I feel stressed I stop eating. I’ve been underweight twice in my life and I know that I use food to help myself gain some control. So I have the ability to obsessively control my diet, but it’s probably not a good idea for me anyway.
So recently I’ve put on a little weight, I’m probably what the fitness world describes as ‘skinny fat’ – or what most people would describe as normal. We need to remember, it’s not possible to sustain these lean physiques all year round – despite what instagram might have you believe. There are many stories from bikini/fitness models about losing friends, their periods stopping while they are on competition prep, or how difficult the lifestyle is.
Information about diet and exercise is coming from everywhere, it can get very confusing. There are countless myths surrounding carbohydrate, fat and protein intake. I ended up enroling on an online nutrition course, just to make sense of it all!
Whilst working in the hospital, I tried to do a ‘cutting’ plan to lose weight. I found most coaches were unsupportive of the fact I couldn’t eat at regular times, or was too tired for the gym. Obviously I didn’t want the results or wasn’t willing to just ‘do as I was told’. However, I could walk 8+ miles in a shift with no break and minimal water, I was knackered. It has taken me around 2 years to realise, I need to do what works for me.
Making Fitness Work for Me
Last summer, I worked with an absolutely amazing coach to retrain my muscles to work more effectively. Matt at The Physio Clinic in Bristol, coached me through the performance matrix over 3 months. It had incredible results and I still can’t believe my long standing back pain is gone. He also took the time to help me improve my weightlifting form, as well as being generally supportive. The difference having a realistic and supportive coach makes, is everything. I actually enjoyed what I was doing and began to see my triumphs over my failures.
So my plan moving forward, is to write a new workout, and start to watch my diet again. I’m going to try not to compare myself to people on instagram, or others I see in the gym. Everyone has a different journey, with various goals and lifestyles. I want to ENJOY keeping myself fit, I don’t want to feel as though I’m failing because I’m not achieving the same results as someone else.
While we spend time trying to improve our physical health, lets not let our mental health suffer.
I would love to hear from anyone who is on their own fitness journey. Get in touch and tell me what your goals are and how you’re managing them.