5 Things I Wish I Knew About Fitness When I Started
NEED WEIGHT LOSS WISDOM? READ THIS.
I started my fitness journey six years ago when I moved to Rochester NY for work. All I did was work, I had no social life and rarely left my apartment for leisure. My restlessness bore a baking hobby where I'd try a new recipe almost daily. I baked decadent cakes, and thoroughly enjoyed the process of creation. You start with some flour, sugar, egg, butter, a dash of salt and BOOM a seven layer vanilla bean cake appeared in the oven.
Okay so it wasn't that simple, but you understand what I mean. Naturally, I needed to taste these creations during the process and after. I tasted a lot, to ensure product quality of course. Eventually, I wised up and started off-loading all my baked goods to the employees at the deli under my apartment. They loved them. At least, they pretended to.
Over time my culinary skills increased, and so did the scale. My clothes stopped fitting, and I felt like a reclusive Betty Crocker. I needed to get it together. Thus began my fitness journey. I had numerous ups and downs and learned through trial and error. Truthfully, if I had someone to help steer me the right way, I would have achieved my goals much sooner. This entire blog serves that purpose for you. So in this post, we're going to cover some crucial weight loss tips I painstakingly learned over time.
1. Weighing Food > Eyeballing Food
This tip sounds like the most tedious, but it truly yields the best results. Simply put, your eyes don't know how much food you're eating and people always underestimate their food consumption. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight is caused by eating more calories than your body needs. Your first step is to figure out how many calories your body needs, then eat to that goal. When I first started I eyeballed my food and because I had more body fat to lose, I saw results via that method. Eventually, my weight loss slowed then halted because I hadn't accurately reduced my caloric intake to suit my body's changing needs.
2. Use the Scale Sparingly
The scale can't tell fat loss from poop, water weight, or even bone loss. It has no idea. Therefore, the number on it means very little. Where the scale is helpful is tracking trends over time. The more frequently you weigh yourself, the more sporadic your results will be. However, if you weigh yourself once every 2 weeks or month, the trend line will show if you're on the right track.
3. Fitness is Your Diet
There is no aspect of fitness that isn't primarily impacted by your diet. Are you trying to lose weight? You won't if you don't rein in your diet. Are you trying to build muscle? You can't if you don't eat enough of the right things. Are you trying to run a complete marathon without eating enough carbs? Yeah, good luck with that. Make your diet your priority. It takes the average person mere minutes to eat 500 excess calories, and an hour or more of high-intensity exercise to burn it. So naturally, a goal-driven diet is the best and most efficient use of your time. If you give your body the nourishment it needs, it will work for you.
4. Weights = Curves
Repeat after me, "cardio will not give you curves." Cardio is merely a piece of the puzzle. Your muscles - or lack thereof - and body fat percentage are what determine your curviness. If you're slender, lift heavy and eat enough calories to grow. Eventually, you'll build curves. If you're slimming down, lift heavy and eat the proper amount of calories to shed body fat. Eventually, you'll lean out and reveal curves. Notice in both scenarios I said lift heavy, that's because either way your muscles heavily influence your frame.
5. Consistency is the Key
I spent the most time stumbling over this tip. I spent so much of the beginning of my journey questioning my progress and essentially watching paint dry. I'd stick to my regimen completely Monday through Friday, then on the weekends I would splurge. In that time my muscles grew and my frame changed, but my goal of shedding body fat just never happened. I couldn't understand what the problem was. Truthfully, I wasn't being honest with myself. I was going way overboard on the weekends and nearly eradicating all my work during the week. Everything changed when I shifted to a flexible dieting approach of macro counting and allowed myself one cheat meal per week. It was easier to be consistent. Soon my progress over time was nearly predictable.
Do yourself a favor and commit these tips to your memory. Don't be like the old me and spend a year wondering where your progress has been hiding.