This post has been requested many times over the last 4 months. I'm sorry it took me so long but honestly I was reluctant to write it. The truth is, as much as I don't mind doing things for myself and sharing my workouts, yoga flows and poses, it's different having to write out certain things in more detail.
I won't say I know a secret to making exercise easy, I don't know how to make you progress much faster or how to get you from running a KM in 10 minutes to 6 minutes in a limited amount of time. After all, I'm not a miracle worker. I'm just another girl who loves what she does.
But if so many of you want to know a few tips I can share to make working out easier or more manageable, isn't it good to share?
Know Your Limits
Whether you're starting out or you've been at this for a while it's so important to remember that you have limits for a reason and that working towards new goals slowly is always a better than jumping right into something that might be too much for your body to take.
If you've never used weights before, don't run at the chance to pick up a 20KG dumbbell just because everyone else at the gym is. If you've previously had a sedentary life, don't just push yourself into a 5KM run from 0 on your first run.
Listen To Your Body
Regardless of what you do, you need to listen to what your body is saying. When I first started, I was very determined to get my 5KM done a day. It was good determination but there were definitely times where I ignored what my body was trying to tell me and I paid for it later.
I'm all for working through some feelings, but if you feels faint, sick or any pain, it's time to stop. Sometimes you need a snack, water, just a minute or two before you continue but it's worth figuring out what your body needs than pushing yourself until you end up passing out, throwing up or injuring yourself.
Remember Your Form
I am a huge fan of taking it slow so you get your form right for each and every rep than to rush through it just because you want to do as many reps in 20 seconds. There is no shame is slowing down your workout so you do everything properly and avoid injury. Over time, it will get easier and proper form will be more natural, then you can speed things up again.
If You Need It, take A Break - and continue later
This is something that sort of works in line with point 2 (Listen to your body). There are many people who say they were just too tired to finish the last round of their workout, their last KM, the last few minutes of HIIT etc, it happens to all of us at one point. I used to just give up. But now, just take a break. You might feel like you have nothing left, but after a minute or two you might realise you still have enough in you to finish the workout - and you will! So as long as you don't feel sick or faint, take a break then keep going!
I'm sure all of you know how important it is to stay hydrated during the day and it is just as important as staying hydrated during your workout as well. If you're sweating a lot as well you need to replenish all that water and it's easy to forget when you're done working out - i would know, I always used to forget!
If it just doesn't feel necessary to you, know that keeping hydrated during your workout can help prevent fatigue and help you keep going for longer - something I've personally experienced as well! So make sure you keep a water bottle around and have a few sips between sets, it helps with the recovery process as well!
Some people believe finishing a workout means rewarding themselves with a candy bar, other want to lose as much weight as possible so they skip any snacks post workout, even if they need it. Both aren't exactly the best thing to do, and it's better to know how and what to refuel with after a workout to help the recovery process.
Candy bars and chocolate, not such a great idea as a post-workout snack. And forcing yourself not to eat even if your body needs it, isn't a good idea at all.
Grab a healthy snack or have a meal after and you should be good to go. But as always, figure out what works best for your body.
I once made the terrible mistake of not giving myself rest days, and I definitely paid for it.
When you start out it's normal to be clueless but don't let that hurt you. Having at least one rest day a week will help you do better ad give your body enough time to recover from your workouts.
More importantly, when you hurt yourself or fall sick, rest is the best thing to do. Pushing yourself to workout will only result in getting worse.
Foam rolling after a workout, giving yourself rest days, stretching, knowing when to take days off from being sick or injured it's all part of the process.
You Cannot Out-Exercise A Bad Diet
I believe that even if you don't eat well, it's good to exercise to take care of yourself.
But if you are expecting a real change like significant weight loss, there is no amount of exercise that can do for you what changing your diet can. Of course, these two go hand in hand, but not many want to give in to healthier food habits. At the end of the day, eating healthy does wonders for everyone so decide what you really want and if you're ready to go on this journey, you can even do it slowly. Figure out what you can swap out, soda for water, coffee for tea, chips for fruits etc. Order healthier meals, start cooking at home if you can. It all leads up to having better health.
And really, who said eating healthy was boring? I've had so many yummy, healthy meals and treats and it's always amazing!
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