“I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t.” —Neila Rey
Yesterday was my one year gym anniversary! I know, I’m pretty much just as shocked as you are, ha!
I could say that I have no idea how I got here. However, I actually know what it took to hit this milestone. All I can say is that I can only give praise and glory to God.
I feel like He has helped me power through everything including my physical and mental health this last year.
Despite being in a car accident a year prior and the injury still being fresh, getting the flu twice and tending to my family’s health, I stuck to consistent fitness as best as I could. And to hit my one year gym anniversary feels SO good.
My health journey hasn’t been easy by any means.
We all have “those days” and I certainly have had my fair share this last year, but it’s so fulfilling to know that I completed a milestone I set out to do.
In my past, I spent 5-6 years of my life doing the best kind of workout I knew: dance. During high school, I spent an average of three hours a day training. After I graduated, I went on to work for a dance company for a summer.
Unfortunately, the timing and amount of travel wasn’t what I could commit to so I never went back. Instead, I enrolled in dance classes in college to keep up my passion. However, the classes were too beginner for me and with no advanced options, I left after a year. Although I didn’t pursue a career in dance, I took with me the discipline and patience I learned and applied it to my every day life.
Dance will always have a part of my heart.
I still count the beats in songs, choreograph dances in my head, watch shows like So You Think You Can Dance and sometimes do bell kicks if I’m feeling really goofy.
Looking back, dance made me happy in every way possible. I got to see my friends, dance with them, perform/compete in front of large crowds, learn challenging routines, push my body and express my emotions through this art form.
Most importantly, dance pushed me and taught me to persevere with determination, grit and hard work to get what I wanted. Little did I know that my health was the result of what I loved doing. I was so focused on the journey of dance that I didn’t even realize the side of effect: great health and a bangin’, 110 pounds of muscle body. And to this day, I still use my dance training in the gym.
Everything I gave to dance, it gave back to me.
I miss dance. A lot. I miss the stretching, across-the-floors, high kicks, learning challenging dance routines and as weird as it sounds, feeling the constant soreness. To dance your emotions away when you’re upset is a sense of freedom I miss most. Movement, expression and just releasing whatever energy you’re feeling is just good medicine.
Within the last decade of my life, I can’t say my health nor my body has been the same though. My food habits declined as my work and school schedule demanded all of my time. Keeping up healthy habits were hard because I was constantly on the go.
Since I left dance, I’ve tried several ways to keep my fitness up: running, cycle classes and gym memberships. I have kept up with none of them except for a private gym in Dallas that I joined 366 days ago. And to be honest, God and Reidland, my trainer, is the reason why I have lasted this long, considering I had a terrible experience with a gym membership many years ago.
I’ve shared my personal health journey here on the blog in the past.
Today, I wanted to share with you the experience of my journey along with my thoughts and wellness lessons I’ve learned from the past 12 months. What I’m about to tell you is real. It’s my experiences and what I’ve gone through. Some are serious and some are funny. It’s my hope that my personal journey inspires you to start yours or pick up where you left off…
Here’s what happened…
YOU’RE GOING TO HATE THE BEGINNING.
Yep. The beginning is going to suck. Bad. And you’re going to want to quit. One of the first things that happen when you start working out is that you’re going to hate the beginning of your journey. Like really hate it. Give yourself some grace. If you’re just starting to work out, you’re going to feel tired and even unmotivated at times during your sweat session.
Even if you haven’t been to the gym in awhile, just go.
You might get nauseous (true story for yours truly) or you might even puke on your first day. That’s okay because once you find “your person” who understands the process, you’re going to be just fine. Once I found my personal trainer, I knew I was going to succeed in hitting my first milestone. It was only a matter of time.
Lesson: Take your fitness journey one rep, one workout, one day at a time. Consistent baby steps is better than no steps at all.
THE FOOD PART IS HARDER THAN THE WORKING OUT PART.
The “abs are made in the kitchen” phrase is SO true. To me, staying motivated in the gym is easier than staying motivated to eat healthy. Why? It’s boring. Even celebrities admit they’re tired of chicken. As someone who doesn’t like sweets all that much, I had days where I ate giant cookies, sometimes for two days in a row.
Lesson: Like The Rock says, “You ain’t cheatin’ if you ain’t eatin’.” It’s okay to reward yourself for suffering a leetle bit.
TRAIN YOUR BODY BEYOND THE WEIGHTS.
Here’s a personal tip of what I do: I get up right after finishing a set. The goal is to NOT train your body to collapse. Standing up is a symbol of triumph and victory! Once Reidland counts down and hits the five second mark, I grab my weights and ready myself so I don’t give my brain a chance to give up before I start.
My goal is to close the law of diminishing intent gap by applying the five second rule using the “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” mentality. I do not count down like Mel Robbins teaches. Instead, I tell myself, “Do it now! Do it now! Do it now!” and physically take action right away.
Lesson: Train your brain and your body will follow.
DON’T DO WORKOUTS YOU HATE.
If you attend a gym, try out all of the classes they have to offer. And if you hate a certain workout, don’t do it. The key to staying active is doing what you love and knowing your body’s limits. Even if your trainer is pushing you, speak up and tell him/her that’s the best you can do.
Lesson: I tried several different classes, knew what I liked and what I didn’t like and showed up for classes that I preferred: yoga and weighted HIIT classes.
THERE IS HOPE FOR THOSE OF US WITH FLAT BUTTS.
Growing up, I was always told, “You have a flat butt just like your dad!” Gee, thanks, Susan. I was given these genes so it’s not like I can do anything about it…until I learned about squats.
Hey, I had no idea you can grow your tooshie! Like really grow it to a point where you have a hard time getting dressed because you have to pull your clothes out and over your butt to put them on!
Lesson: It’s okay to have a love-hate relationship with squats.
RIGHT WHEN YOU WANT TO QUIT, DO ONE MORE REP.
Right when you feel like you can’t do one more rep, that’s when you shouldn’t quit! Push yourself even if it means getting ONE more rep in. Try your best. If you know you have one more rep in you, don’t short change yourself. You’re worth the extra rep and no, you won’t regret it.
Lesson: Your brain is so lazy so it’s going to tell you to stop during your work out…the entire time. It’s very annoying, but don’t give in!
TRAIN YOUR MIND TO FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT.
I don’t like to chat much during my classes as I prefer to focus on the task at hand. When I start to lose focus, I concentrate on my reasons why. Many times, when I was struggling, I thought about being able to keep up with my future husband and our kids.
In fact, I thought about how hard my 40s, 50s and 60s are going to be if I don’t work on myself NOW. And honestly, that is incredibly painful because it’s hard now, so I can’t imagine how much harder it’d be if I waited to work on myself later in life.
Lesson: Envisioning a picture of your future helps you to push harder. Seriously, you don’t understand how much having a vision helps.
NUMBERS ON THE SCALE SHOULD NOT BE YOUR FIRST FOCUS.
The numbers on the scale is a place to understand where you should start. However, your results after one year of going to the gym isn’t always about numbers. Sometimes, getting healthy is not about losing the weight right away. So, what worked for me?
Focusing on consistency first.
I can’t say that I’ve lost weight within this last year because I hardly looked at the scale. Heck, I don’t even know how much I weigh now. After awhile, I “gave up” on the scale and just focused on training myself to show up to the gym 2-3 times a week.
Lesson: If you know that you get overwhelmed easily, just take your journey one phase at a time. Whether it’s the exercise portion or the food part, begin with consistency.
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS.
No, I’m not talking about the number on the scale. Pay attention to how well you sleep. Is eating healthier a bit easier? How about carrying the groceries into the house on one trip? How is your energy in the afternoon? Are certain kinds of workouts getting easier?
Lesson: Taking pictures to measure your progress is probably the best way to see where you’re at in your journey. Sometimes, when you don’t think you’re making progress, you need to see that you really are.
A few weeks ago, my trainer “caught” my friends and I eating small ice cream cups after our church service. He asked us what we were doing (in a playful manner of course) and I legit said I was enjoying life. And I felt no guilt whatsoever.
Life is short and as nice as he is, I’m not going to let my trainer tell me I can’t have a little fun when I’ve been good all week. That’s when I feel the pressure, the fun is gone and I want to quit.
Lesson: If you want to indulge, do it. Even if it’s in front of your trainer (sorry not sorry, Reidland!). However, leave the guilt out of it. You should never feel guilty for enjoying a balanced life.
Joining a gym for the first time can be very intimidating.
Heck, beginning your health journey is intimidating. Don’t let it deter you though. If you want to, “shop around” until you find a trainer or gym that vibes with you. For me, I’m thankful that my friend, Nathan, introduced me to Reidland and that I said yes to attending his class when he invited my friends and I.
I don’t regret it one bit because I get to support an entrepreneur who cares about my health. On top of that, he doesn’t operate from a place of fear, guilt or pressure. Whether it’s our food habits, injuries or coming back from an illness after being gone for weeks, Reidland always comes from a place of understanding.
If you can find a trainer like him or a business that operates with their heart, getting healthy is easier. It’s hard to give up when others don’t give up on you.
Is it possible to fall in love with exercising? Maybe. I’m personally not there yet. However, I’m beyond thrilled that I hit my one year gym anniversary that I did a one-year nutrition consultation today to decide where I want to go next.
I’m looking forward to 2019 as I have some huge health goals I want to achieve.
You may be wondering, “How long will it take to see changes in my body from working out?”
Well, it all depends on you and your commitment. If you’re committed, you’re cutting off all options to fail. However, if you go in also knowing you’re going to fall off the horse, it gets easier and faster to get back on and keep going. And each time that happens, you give yourself fewer and fewer options to fail and a higher chance to succeed.
I can’t believe it’s my one year gym anniversary!
It seems so surreal. It really does. Here’s to hoping I can look at my weights one day and sing, “Reunited and it feels so good.
Reunited ’cause we understood. There’s one perfect fit and sugar, this one is it. We both are so excited ’cause we’re reunited, hey, hey…”
Please note that this content should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease and serves as informational purposes only. Always consult your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new program or consuming health-related products with any questions you may have.