Firstly, I want to say a big thanks to Jemma for offering this guest post!
For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Becky, I’m 28, live in London and I write over at BeckyBlog.
What I wanted to post about today is ‘getting started to getting healthy!’ Health and fitness is my biggest passion and I’d love to share some tips on what worked for me in the beginning, and what works for me now in maintaining my health and fitness and giving me the strength and enthusiasm to keep going.
I have always been an active person – running fairly long distances with my Dad as a child, as well as gymnastic lessons in primary school and exercises videos (yes, they were still videos back then!) as a teenager. But I have never been able to consistently stick fully to an exercise or nutritious eating plan until about a year ago. I knew if I could keep it up for 6 months I’d be able to reach the point that I would be able to do it forever. Six months passed and I was hooked on my new lifestyle, and I know that exercise and eating well will be with me for the rest of my life.
I started 2010 as a lot of people do, a bit fed up after Christmas with what I’d ate and how rotten I felt. I was also suffering from a stinking cold and was about a stone heavier than I’d like to have been. Not ideal! I decided to once again embark on the exercise regime and analysis of what I was eating. I was already walking everywhere but started using my exercise bike again and dusted off a few workout DVD’s. But I still hadn’t got to grips with proper nutritious eating and was counting calories rather than thinking smarter about food as fuel and something to embrace and enjoy. I did lose weight though and got back my buzz for working out. I entered the Sport Relief 5K and starting running again (all be it, very slowly!)
Then, I struck gold! I started reading health and fitness blogs and discovered Jillian Micheal’s 30 Day Shred DVD. I read the reviews and knew I had to have it! The first time was soo tough but I loved it and couldn’t wait to do it again. I did for 14 days straight and got injured, and I’d never experienced frustration at not being able to workout before, but I was so annoyed and desperate to get better and start again! And that’s what really kicked things off for me, working out every day became part of my routine and I loved the results both physically and mentally. It also made me stop counting calories and focus on nutrition.
A year on, I love exercise more than ever and cannot see my life without. I work out 6 days a week and absolutely thrive on it. I love how it makes me feel, I love seeing my body improve and setting myself new challenges (I have my first half marathon coming up in September!) And I love discovering new nutritious recipes and foods and am damn right obsessed with cooking and creating foody treats!
So, here are my top tips for getting started:
* Start walking as much as possible. This will give you a good base of fitness so you can move on to more strenuous stuff and will also fire up your interest in exercise
* Consider an exercise programme such as the 30 Day Shred, this will help to make exercise a habit and a part of your daily routine
* Look at what your eating but rather than cutting out too many calories, try and cut down foods that aren’t helping your new regime. You need calories to fuel your workouts
* Make sure you refuel after your workouts with a protein/carb snack such as a smoothie. This will replenish your muscles and help them grow stronger
* Everyone says it, but do the exercises you enjoy! I love running and workout DVD’s. Don’t bother with stuff you hate!
* Consider an achievable goal in the near future – I started with aiming to run without stopping for 15 minutes and built from there
* Ask why you want to get fit and healthy. Find the reason and go for it
Once you’ve got yourself on the right track towards health and fitness, it’s important to keep things fresh to avoid plateauing or boredom setting in. Here’s some tips for maintaining:
* Set new goals. I am personal best obsessed when it comes to running, so always have a new time to aim for each time I run. Also, aiming for longer distances is a good challenge to work towards
* If you are a DVD fan try new workout DVD’s often to avoid becoming too comfortable with the same old same old. The body gets used to training the same way so you need to mix things up to keep your muscles guessing. Maybe dig out a DVD you’ve not done in a while too?
* Take a few days off every now and then to give mind and body a break from working out. The body can then repair and become stronger for when you start up again
* Try not to become too fussed about what it says on the scales. It’s how you feel that counts!!
* Explore new foods, new recipe books, cooking websites, different ingredients – don’t get in a food rut, there’s so much to eat out there!
I suppose my biggest piece of advice I could give is the most obvious – just do it! Start it and you won’t regret it. Good luck 🙂