Fitness & what I learnt on the internet…

fitness

Want to get fit? I’ll show you how!

First, check out this picture of a fitness model dancing around a beach in her pants.

Now, cut out sugars…carbs…protein load…take the shake plan…work out…push it hard…lift til your muscles scream…sweat…meditate…push it harder…ignore that voice in your head telling you to stop…is your face melting yet? YOU’RE NOT SWEATING ENOUGH…run faster…run further…remember – you are not trying to beat other people, you’re trying to beat YOURSELF!!!…breathe…hold that plank!…YOU ARE A WARRIOR…want a summer body? Take the abs/squat/lunge/run-until-you-vomit challenge…

Inspired? Or just tired?

I’ve seen a mass of ‘fitspirational’ and occasionally fat-shaming videos and memes creeping onto social media lately & its getting to the point where they all blur into one big shouty tirade that what you’re doing is not enough!

And what irritates me the most is that this isn’t what fitness looks like. This isn’t real life. This is photo-shopped, glamorised nonsense that usually has a product or service behind it that requires your guilt to make their £££. This is fitness dressed up to shame and appeal to the members of the population who are desperate to be fit but just cannot find a way to get there.

It’s important to understand that for some the simple idea of exercise is scary – even before we add in the pressure and extra guilt piled on by society. The reasons are numerous: the deep-seated belief that they just ‘can’t do it’, worries about injury or disability, fear of pain, or the seemingly trivial but crippling fear of looking stupid in front of friends (which is worryingly common in teenage girls).

All equally valid & all wrapped up in psychological, as well as physical issues. Something that media reports of obesity and inactivity barely skim the surface of – we’re just lazy and unfit and what’s worse, a drain on the NHS – show them some aerobics DVDs and take away their cake! Sorted.

So what is the answer? Erm…there isn’t one. Sorry!

What I mean is, there isn’t one all-encompassing answer that will work for everyone.

One of the main problems I see is that many people have separated ‘exercise’ from ‘normal life’. It has become ‘the thing we know we need to do but really don’t want to’ – And the more I see of how ‘fitness’ is portrayed in popular media, the less I am surprised! It looks bloody scary!

When really it should be simple & fun!

My advice would be to start small. Take an honest look at your lifestyle – talk it through with a friend, write it down or just give yourself a few minutes to sit and have a think. Work out what suits you & your circumstances – not what you’re constantly told you should aspire to.

Signing up for an 8 week boot camp might seem like the thing you ‘need’ to do to get fit, but if you’re not a very active person right now, is that a realistic goal? It’s like taking on your GCSEs in your first year at secondary school – you just wouldn’t be ready! Think about your fitness as the education of your body – start simple and work your way up!

  • Is there a small journey you could start walking or cycling each week? Can you include the family or fit it in around work so it becomes a regular day-to-day habit? Walking is how I started out improving my fitness and it still forms a huge part of my weekly activity – especially when I can stick my music on and zone out!
  • Ask at your local leisure centre about any local activity groups or take a look through Facebook & see if there are any set up in your local area. You’ll probably find like-minded people with similar concerns to your own plus if you’re meeting new people & forming friendships through activity you’re more likely to stick at it. Joining my rowing club was the best move EVER – bags of support & new friends for life ♥
  • Get your friends involved! Do you have 1 or 2 mates who would like to get fit with you? Its especially good if you’re all happy having a laugh at each other & takes the pressure off during any exercise classes you might try. I’ve always hated circuits but with 2 of my best buddies there it was one of the funniest classes I’ve ever been to!
  • Exercise doesn’t have to mean sweating and grunting it out to have great effects – something like yoga will help improve your flexibility & balance & give you the opportunity to reconnect to your body & appreciate what it’s capable of. Any of my customers reading this will appreciate my yoga love (you will probably go home having learnt one or two sneaky yoga moves whether you realise it or not!)
  • And if you’re really struggling & just can’t work out how to start purging yourself of an inactive lifestyle, it is always worth talking to your GP about the exercise by referral scheme. You’ll receive help to create a plan of activity and stick to it – specific to your health condition & ability.

And finally, don’t beat yourself up. If you’re struggling or you have a few days where motivation escapes you and you feel like giving up, just put it down to experience & get back on track when you can. It will take effort, it will not happen overnight, but this is a process that will last the rest of your life & is most definitely worth investing in!

 

PS: About 4 stone and 5 years ago I turned down an invite to walk Snowdon for a friend’s birthday for fear of holding them up and looking ridiculous/sweaty/out of breath/fat – not long after, realising I was missing out on tonnes of stuff I really wanted to do, I started walking. The advice above stems from what worked for me (and is still working for me – we’re not done yet!), but it won’t necessarily suit everyone. Just get out there, try anything that you like, make friends, get to know and appreciate your amazing body & what it can do, and most importantly have fun! X

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