Tips for Exercising: A Personal Fitness Journey.

I think everyone has a desire to improve their fitness. However, saying that you want to get fit is the easy part — getting started is the hardest.

I began my own journey in March. I had been overweight my entire life weighing 99 kilograms — almost the same as a Giant Panda — as of January 2020.

Eight months down the line, I weigh 70 kilos. I picked up a 30 kg weight recently and was shocked by how heavy it was; that was how much weight I had lost. It made me so proud — I was fed up getting out of breath just by walking up a flight of stairs, I was fed up not being able to take a walk without having to stop for a rest. 

I honestly believe that exercise is the key that we are all looking for. For me, it has made me feel better than ever before, physically and mentally. It makes me feel I can tackle anything; it has changed my mindset. 

It’s also a good form of meditation. Traditional meditation isn’t really for me though; exercise vanquishes my stress, improves my focus and fills me with energy. 

A friend asked me how I did it, which got me thinking of how far I have come and how much work I put in. So, if you fancy losing a few inches of your waist or just get fit, I want to share what I have learnt.

Here are six tips for getting started, achieving your weight loss and getting fit!

No Need for a Gym
Membership (Just Yet).

I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a gym membership right away. Start at home. 

I began walking to my local park and then starting to run for thirty seconds, then forty, fifty, one minute, two minutes, three, four, five. . . until I reached the time I was happy with. This process is tediously slow — it took me four weeks to be able to run more than five minutes straight. But stick with it and you will see progress!

Take It Slow.

There is no rush. Trust me, starting too hard can do more damage than good. Don’t run every day — you’ll end up with shin splints; don’t work out every day — you deserve breaks and rest is key. Pick one or two days each week to rest and make this your routine. 

Set a Goal.

What is it you desire: To lose weight? To get fit? Both? Setting a goal is important. As the saying goes, “without a goal you can’t score.” It’s so true. 

My goal was originally to lose weight, but over time it morphed into becoming fit. Now, it’s to stay fit. It’s so rewarding when you reach that goal you set months ago — the hard work certainly pays off. 

Need some ideas for setting a goal? Have a look at these:

  • Hit a step target. Whether it be 5 000, 10 000 or 15 000 steps a day.
  • Set aside half an hour each day and go outside for a walk.
  • Run three or four times a week for half an hour each time. 

Be Aware.

You can walk, run and do all the cardio in the world but if you are eating more than you burn, you won’t see results. I had this problem at the beginning of my journey. I would come home from running for only five minutes, eat a whole bag of crisps and some chocolate, then sit for about the rest of the day. 

There is no harm in having a treat every now and then, but you should be aware of portion and serving sizes on the labels of your favourite snacks.

Did you know a 500g bar of dairy milk chocolate serves six? I used to eat the whole bar myself! Don’t feel guilty though; if you do eat more than is suggested, it’s perfectly normal!

What helped me during my journey?

  • Most major supermarkets sell a 10cal pot of jelly. They’re quite big, come in many flavours and are delicious. They really help to settle cravings.
  • Dividing up chocolate bars into the portion sizes.
  • Snacking on nuts. Most are low in calories and a good source of protein. 

Let Your Progress
Speak for Itself.

Document your journey. Trust me, there is nothing more rewarding looking back at pictures from the beginning and seeing how far you have come. Not only is it extremely rewarding, but it also acts as a form of motivation to keep going! 

Ditch the Scales.

You are more than a number on a screen. Track yourself by how you feel, how you look and how much progress you have made. 

I used to weigh myself every day just to be disappointed that my weight had gone up a little — this is entirely normal. Your body is a complex organism. You may have just consumed a bit more water, which has increased your weight.

However, weighing yourself occasionally is a good thing, too. Maybe once a fortnight. Just make sure you weigh yourself with the same conditions. I choose to weigh myself when I wake up before I have eaten anything. I do this every time to ensure accurate results to track my weight. 

Getting There.

You may be asking yourself how I lost 30 kilograms — I chose running. I ran every other day and slowly increased my mileage.

I also cut out the snacks I consumed. When you take the time to look at how many calories are in a snack, you naturally eat less of them. Don’t get me wrong, I still rummage through the cupboard looking for some chocolate bars and I still eat sweets by the masses. But we’ve earnt this. There’s no point feeling guilty for your temptations — they are perfectly normal.

I want to end with this short quote by Socrates, which inspired me and fuelled me to lose weight and get fit: “It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

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