In light of all the New Year’s Resolutions, I felt like the topic of fitness, exercise and health was an important one to write about today. As most of you know, I grew up generally disliking exercise and absolutely hated running. I also didn’t have the best diet, my favorite food usually consisted of some sort of fried or processed food. And for most of my early life, I got away with my unhealthy habits and still was skinny. Or skinny-fat, which if you don’t know what that means click that link to learn more.
But half-way through college, the donut holes caught up to me. I was eating too much and just not working out. I didn’t know where to begin, but my mom insisted I take some sort of self-defense class to protect myself, and my boyfriend was a little too concerned over my new-found chub. With these wonderful people in mind, I enrolled in once weekly Tae Kwon Do and started pushing myself to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. Nothing crazy. I also started eating less processed foods and more veggies and protein in order to feel full for longer. But the biggest struggle I experienced was my lack of knowledge at the gym. I would show up with no idea what or how to do anything right. I would run on the track some 30 plus laps until I was sweaty and then be like now what?
There were these strength machines that I would just use like in a loop, the same machines every time. And I didn’t really see much in ways of toning up or getting stronger. Not to say I didn’t feel better, I definitely did, but I was just lost. So lost that after dumping said boyfriend and graduating, I went back to my sedentary life of which I was all too familiar with. Pounds started piling on and about two years later, new boyfriend same situation. This time, I knew I had to do something differently. Going to the gym was just too over-whelming for me. I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to do more than just run around like a hamster or sit on some random arm machine and pretend to work on my biceps.
This boyfriend was the evolved version of previous boyfriend and he too didn’t understand gym equipment as was apparent by his severely lacking muscle tone and way too skinny ass. But, I digress. Lucky for me, he had half a brain to suggest an alternative to the gym. One that I had already done before, but rather than just once a week actually push myself to practice martial arts more often, closer to 4+ times a week. We found and enrolled in a local Kung Fu school and the rest is history.
Kung Fu led to me starting to run which also led to me wanting to learn said confusing gym equipment and proper exercises. Many years and Kung Fu belts later, I become a certified personal trainer and finally know how to go to the gym with an exercise plan that I can successfully execute and build upon. Where was this knowledge years ago when I was sitting on a leg curl machine next to my ex wondering what was the purpose of building this one muscle in my leg when my belly was the issue?
So my one piece of advice for those of you looking to get started, or restart your fitness journey is this. Do something you love AND are comfortable with. Or at least comfortable being pushed to learn something new. Having a teacher or coach is invaluable. Over the 6 years that I practiced Kung Fu, I dropped easily well over $8,000 that I didn’t even have. And every dollar was well spent. I distinctly remember one day I literally took every dollar I made from tutoring that week from one of my clients just to pay for Kung Fu for that month.
My point is, don’t do this journey alone. Find something you’re passionate about and if you have no idea what you’re doing, get with someone who can show and teach you. Their knowledge will help you grow and achieve your fitness goals. I wish you the best of luck in your journey, grasshopper.