10 Things I’ve Learned on my Fitness Journey that Will Help You with Yours
I’m 2 years and 7 months into my fitness journey now (crazy!), and I’ve learned a thing or two. If you really learn something new every day, I’ve actually learned at least 942 things. But I’ll give you the truncated, health & fitness specific version. After all, you don’t need to know that I’ve learned that when potty training a girl, she can manage to pee all over the bathroom from the safety of sitting on the can just as much as, if not more than, a boy can.
Despite the overall concept of weight loss – calories in vs calories out – being totally legit, there’s a lot more to it. Many factors play into your choices, and life is riddled with ups and downs that influence your behavior and attitude. There are misconceptions, plenty of misinformation, lots of overreactions, too much self-doubt, and a harsh learning curve.
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Over time, you’ll learn these things for yourself, but maybe this will help you reach these realizations sooner so you can continue to move forward knowing that, although your journey is unique, your struggles are normal.
- It’s a 7-Days-a-Week Thing
You can’t go balls-to-the-wall adhering to your nutrition and training goals every Monday thru Friday afternoon, yet be a sloth and dive headfirst into deep-fried food platters and high-calorie drinks all weekend, every weekend. Sad, but true.
If you want to actually realize results, you’ve gotta keep a bit of a routine, have a plan, and make it happen on the weekends, too. That’s not to say you can’t rest or indulge on the weekends, however. I totally do! If you’re interested in seeing how I manage to eat and drink more every Friday-Sunday, see results, and feel healthy, happy, and strong every Monday morning you can find that here.
Related: 9 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your NEAT
- Screw-Ups Don’t Mean Shit
I know right now that deep-fried platter with all the fat-laden dipping sauces you just stuffed yourself to the gills with seems like the end-all, be-all of your dieting hopes and dreams. And I know that the scale will probably spike a bit tomorrow morning. And I know you’re probably mad at yourself, thinking you’ve ruined your progress.
I assure you you haven’t ruined anything. First off, you didn’t actually gain however many pounds of body fat – it’s water weight and the physical weight of the food you ate that hasn’t – ahem – left your body yet. So just chill.
Your perceived “screw-up” doesn’t define you or your progress. How you proceed does.
Related: Why a “Bad” Diet Day is Actually a Good Thing
- Quitting is Absolutely the ONLY Way to Fail
To piggyback on the screw-ups not meaning a damn thing, the only possible way you can fail is if you quit altogether. Resting, dialing things back, or taking it slow sometimes is 100% okay, and 100% not quitting. Stop labeling yourself as a quitter when you take a break or continue with less intensity. A fitness or weight loss journey can be taxing. Giving yourself some time to physically and mentally recover from training, stress, and life in general, is not only okay – it’s necessary.
A long break is just that – a long break. Not quitting. Take the time you need to get in the right headspace and mindset to continue at peak levels again. The longer and slower the process and methods, the more likely you are to create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle you’ll never need to give up on. This is how and when real progress happens.
- All-or-Nothing is Dumb
Miss your Tuesday workout? That’s no reason to skip the gym the rest of the week.
Eat like an asshole at lunch? That’s no reason to eat like an asshole the rest of the day.
I guarantee any diet “fail” situation you think you’re in can be recovered from but you must stop the bleeding. You have the power to adjust, pivot, and change course. No matter how deep the hole you think you’ve dug yourself into is, you are in control and capable of climbing out. Period.
Related: 10 Tips For Healthier Snacking
Related: Avoid Mindless Snacking with These Helpful Distractions
- Consistency > Perfection
Throw the idea of perfection out the window. It’s impossible. It’s never gonna happen. And if it does happen, it’s temporary. Fleeting. Fickle. It will not last.
Consistent imperfection trumps sporadic perfection any day. Four half-assed workouts trump one full-assed workout any week. Over-indulging on dessert one evening but continuing to eat healthily overall the rest of the week trumps giving up on the rest of the week because you ate a few damn cookies.
Related: Eat Dessert, Lose Weight: My Macro-Friendly Treats
- It’s Hard
I know you’ve heard the saying, “if it was easy, everyone would do it.” And well, it’s true. If it were easy, you probably wouldn’t have the need to lose weight in the first place.
2.5 years in and some days I still want to say screw it, and lay in bed surrounded by bags and bags of every flavor of Doritos there is. But, 2.5 years in, it’s less hard than when I started, because habit and routine have taken over, even when motivation is dwindling or nonexistent. Keep pushing.
Related: How to Set Fitness Goals and Actually Reach Them
- Food is Fuel
Eat. For the love of Christ, eat. Eat as much as you possibly can while also seeing results. Will progress be slower than if you ate much much less? In theory, yes. In reality, probably not because you won’t be in a vicious cycle of restricting and binging. You’ll just be happily, consistently eating to fuel your body and life without deprivation.
Related: I Started Tracking Macros at My “Happy” Weight, and Here’s What Happened
- Discipline > Motivation
I touched on this in #6, but it warrants it’s own mention. Motivation gets you started, and discipline keeps you going. You won’t always be motivated. You won’t always want to eat well and workout. But that’s when the habits you built and routine you created in the beginning will come in clutch.
You’ll find yourself instinctively reaching for the healthy snacks, and going on auto-pilot when it’s time to hit the gym. This is discipline. You may have to give yourself reminders or pep-talks some days, but this is what you do and who you are.
Related: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Fitness Journey
- Making Time > Having Time
There’s no such thing as “having” the time. I don’t have the time to workout or meal prep. I make the time to workout and meal prep. It goes for anything. I don’t have the time to get to the grocery store, write a blog post, clean the toilets, put away laundry, call my mom, cook dinner, see a therapist, or hang out with friends. I make the time.
I love to-do lists, I look ahead at my day and week to see what fits where and when. For me, it makes getting things done more manageable and less stressful. As the day and week goes on, oftentimes things happen and schedules change. That’s when practicing “if I must erase, I must replace” helps. Don’t throw in the towel or give up because things don’t go to plan. Adjust, and move forward.
Related: My Postpartum Fitness Journey with the SWEAT App
- Strong is Sexy
Let me set this straight. Strength is not about how much you lift or how big your muscles are. Feeling strong is being empowered by self-care, self-love, and self-improvement. Strength is doing hard things. Strength is confidence. Own it. Lift that weight. Do that circuit. Go for that run. Buy that activewear. Flex in that mirror. Post that selfie.
Be so unapologetically you and show yourself and your body so much respect and pride it weirds people out, inspires them, or both.
Related: Why I Love My Fitness Instagram Account, and Tips for Starting Your Own
Related: How Being “Fit-Shamed” Made Me Feel
Fitness takes effort, and it’s worth every effing bit. It’s very much mental, meaning that what you tell yourself in your head matters. I hope this helps you realize sooner than later in your own fitness or weight loss journey, that you’re doing better than you think, and you’re just as capable as anyone else of being successful and fit.
Follow me on Instagram to witness the ups and downs of my own fitness journey, and to see how I train and eat.
Other Posts You May Enjoy:
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Meal Prep Recipe Roundup! 8 of my Favorite Make-Ahead Lunches (& My Macro-Friendly Tips)
Macro-Friendly Starbucks Orders
Kelsey Wells’ PWR and PWR at Home Programs: How do They Compare?
My Kayla Itsines’ BBG (Bikini Body Guide) 60-week Review