Getting Fit: Expectations vs Reality

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Getting Fit

Getting fit isn’t as easy as it seems and a lot of us have gone through that phase where we just can’t seem to get it right. I know in the last 5 years, I’ve made a ton of mistakes and it led to plateaus in my fitness journey. Keep reading if you want to find out whether or not you are falling trap to one of these common fitness misconceptions.

#1. The Fast Fitness Journey

The first fitness expectation I want to clear up is the idea of becoming ‘fit’ fast; most searches nowadays look for ‘ways to lose weight fast’ or ‘ways to lose 10kg in a month’. However, you should know that shortcuts don’t last very long and they will most likely drain you out. While that 2-week diet may work in the short term, you’ll find that it isn’t sustainable and you’ll lose all of that “progress” you made in the first place.

Your fitness journey is more effective when it turns into a sustainable lifestyle and we should avoid promoting ideas of a quick journey. Most people are discouraged when they don’t see results quickly because they don’t realise how much time it actually takes. It’s been 5yrs since I started my fitness journey and I know it will never end because it has become a lifestyle. So the first step to your fitness journey doesn’t start in setting a number on a scale or pinning a ‘goal’ outfit on your wall. The first step is a shift in mindset. Realise that you want to achieve a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

#2. Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

The second misconception is that weight loss and fat loss are the same thing. Let’s clear this up; fat loss has less to do with the number on the scale and more to do with changing your body composition. Weight loss can also mean muscle loss as people don’t focus as much muscle retention when trying to lose weight. While weight loss may be a better if you are at a certain point in your fitness journey, fat loss means you want to retain and build muscle and more muscle means a faster metabolism.

#3. The Ideal Body Image

There isn’t one. There is no secret to being fit because not everything works for everyone and because your definition of fit for your body, doesn’t necessarily match someone else’s. If you’re looking at someone and saying ‘I want to be fit exactly like him or her’ then get ready to change your whole lifestyle to match theirs (which is impossible) and even then you won’t be exactly the same because bodies are different. They’re supposed to be. Instead, find out what fit means to you, rather than picking someone else’s body, imagine your desired body and lifestyle onto your future self because that is the only person you should want to be.

#4. Everyone else Has Got it Handled

This is one is a personal favourite. I always thought fitness influencers and celebrities had it all handled. They were happy with their physique and had perfect healthy lifestyles. But we only thing that because that is what the media and social media shove down our throats. They show us the perfect selfies and bikini pics with perfect lighting and not one fault. So we automatically think that is achievable and then we wonder why haven’t we achieved it yet. But it’s not like that at all and I realised that after changing my exposure to media content. I followed people who I felt were truer to themselves and although yes they still posted perfect pics, they also acknowledged that they still struggled with their body image and criticism. So this is to tell you, even if you reach that goal weight or slim down to the ‘perfect size’ or build the perfect butt… you’re still going to struggle with your healthy lifestyle and body image from time to time. That’s simply because no one is as critical of ourselves as much as we are and because once you reach a goal it just isn’t enough. So my advice is to slow down, take a look at where you are and enjoy how far you’ve come for a moment without any judgement.

#5. Getting Motivated

My last fitness myth is a powerful one and it’s – relying on motivation to get things done. Let me tell you that motivation is a fickle thing and she will disappear on you on most days. Relying on motivation to get that workout in or make a healthy lunch will get you nowhere. Most of the time I don’t rely on motivation, I rely on a routine and habits. When your lifestyle is embedded with healthy habits you don’t question them, you just do it. Your morning workout shouldn’t be a question, it should just be a thing you do as part of your daily life. Of course you should plan around it and be flexible, but what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t expect to feel motivated to do it. In fact, you may be motivated once you start, so remember to just get started.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blogpost even though it was a quick one. Let me know what you think about it and if you have your own fitness misconceptions you’d like to share. Please follow and like for more posts and share with anyone you think needs to hear it, xoxo.

Check out this blogpost on 3 More Fitness Myths you need to know!

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it…

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What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it.

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it.
— Read on fitnessmaniac.fitness.blog/2020/04/20/what-is-skinny-fat-and-how-to-get-rid-of-it/

Definitely a post worth reading if losing fat is your goal and a great blog to follow no matter where you are in your fitness journey!

The Stages Of Weight Loss

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There are many stages and approaches when it comes to losing weight and getting fit, some of us are stuck in one stage and give up, but what we must realise is that sometimes the only way out is through. You must have heard this at least once, there are no shortcuts, there are no quick fixes, however there are scams, plateaus and burnout, along with results and the incredible high of progress. So let’s dive in to the stages I have personally noticed in others and gone through myself.

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Stage 1 : The Diet Obsession 

Let’s admit it, we’ve all been there. You just decided to lose weight and you go online determinedly searching for the best 2 week diet plan… well here’s the punchline – IT DOES NOT WORK – it only gives temporary results and long term stress. Many of us have an on and off  relationship with this stage, but we should all just break up and move on.

 

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Stage 2: Cardio Junkie

Better but not by much. At this stage, we’re still pretty knew to the whole concept of weight loss but this is where we lose a ton of it. Why? Because we pack on the cardio and monitor our food. I started with the treadmill and bicycle, boring, I know, although it did help shed the weight cause I was spending more than I usually did. I also ate super clean, but only in my opinion at the time since I hadn’t figured out what eating clean really was. I thought I was eating clean but I was still having processed foods that didn’t fuel me.

 

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Stage 3: Losing the Gym V-card 

Hello strength training and extreme food monitoring. This is where I tried out the Keto diet (not for me) and calorie tracking. Here is where the stigma around working out is broken and stress about food is built. I realised cardio was not enough and weights were my friend, soon to be bestfriend, so I started strength training but I still wasn’t sure what I was doing. Also tracking and weighing my food led to food being reduced to numbers and it was highly stressful, I was unhappy all the time. I became obsessed and felt guilty if I didn’t track or exceeded my calories. I had lost all the weight I needed to at this point but I now wanted to lose body fat.

 

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Stage 4: Prime Time

This is where I fell I am at right now and it is bliss, but I have to say that I didn’t reach here alone, I had help and great advice. This is the most mentally healthy stage, food is now your fuel, no more tracking or weighing food. I eat when I’m hungry and I eat clean, and there are times that indulge, but the most important thing is I am fully aware of it. Working out has never felt better, in other words, I push hard but I don’t beat up myself about how many calories I’ve lost or about taking rest days, I just embrace every workout as a chance to exert my all into it. This is where progress is slow but significant and long term.

 

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Stage 5 : Finish Line

Funny thing is… we never reach this one, because it moves along with us. This is your goal, the perfect, ultimate result of your fitness journey, but this is the point that you realise there is no finish line, because this is your lifestyle now. The more you go along the more your goals change and you will keep having new ones even as you accomplish them. There is no perfect, you will always find more to want, even when you think you’ll be happy once you reach this weight or that body fat percentage, you will be but it will not stop there. This is the forever stage.

 

These stages took me 3 years… it was not easy. However, not everyone goes through these exact stages, some people have gone straight to strength training or other forms of fitness, but this pattern is highly common in people trying to lose weight. I hope this post was helpful in giving you clarity on your fitness journey or in any way possible, thank you for reading.

Burn More Fat Doing Less Cardio

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When trying to lose weight, most people jump on the treadmill first thing and ‘workout’ for 2-3hours. Now while this may burn calories, it’s definitely inefficient and inconvenient in the long run, especially when you don’t have much time to spend in the gym. Running for hours on the treadmill, will also burn muscle, which isn’t what you want if you’re looking to tone your body. Moreover, building muscle boosts your metabolism and increases the amount of calories you burn, so what you need to do is find peace with your cardio routine.

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This is where HIIT training comes in. High Intensity Interval Training leads to burning more calories in less time. However, I do recommend you consult your doctor before taking up any form of exercise as it may be detrimental to your health or cause injury, so make sure to verify with your doctor.

I’ve recently started HIIT training and I’ve begun to see changes in my strength and body after only one week. I combine HIIT workout along with strength training as well as pilates to increase my flexibility. The great thing about HIIT is that you can adapt it to any form of exercise; on the treadmill, the elliptical, the rower or even PIIT (HIIT with Pilates). If you need a starting point, here is my HIIT routine on the treadmill.

Beginner’s guide to a HIIT workout

  • 5 min warm up
  • 1 min sprint + 2 min walk (repeated 6 times)
  • 5 min wind down

Your speed and inclination is totally dependent on your fitness level, I usually walk on 5mph and run on 8-8.5 mph. I do increase the amount of reps every one or two weeks if I feel myself getting used to the workout or I increase my speed. HIIT training is definitely one of the fastest ways to achieving a change in your body, but keep in mind that during a workout your heart rate will reach its optimum level during that one minute.

There are several videos that go into depth about the several workouts you can do, if you want to take it a step further. I’d also recommend Blogilates (Youtube) for PIIT workouts. I hope you enjoyed this post and leave me comment if you decide to take on HIIT training.