As I’ve had a long break from the gym, I’ve been able to reflect more on my fitness journey, the ups and downs, the trials and errors. I wish I had known some things back then to understand more about the longevity of the journey. I will share the behind the scenes of my journey in the upcoming weeks but the first thing to remember is that we all start from somewhere and you shouldn’t be afraid to start or to be worried about how you look lifting or doing a particular exercise. No one starts by looking like a professional. Serena and Venus Williams were beginners once, Simone Biles, Gabrielle Douglas, Dina Asher Smith and the list goes on. When I look back to the very beginning, it’s surprising to see where I was mentally, physically and spiritually…I’m still learning to this day. The path to growth has no destination and it’s never-ending.
1. Build A Strong Foundation
It can be confusing figuring out what exercises you should start with as a beginner especially as it may seem easier to grab a workout from your favourite fitness influencer and go from there. If there is one important lesson that I have learnt throughout my years, you need to build a strong foundation. You need to learn to operate and occupy that space so you can advance to other exercises to develop the weaker body parts. For building muscle and getting stronger overall, focus on doing compound movements (exercises that hit multiple muscle groups at once) such as variations of squats, bench press, deadlifts, glute hip thrusts, pull ups and overhead press. These exercises are the bread and butter to your workouts, then you can add isolation movements (exercises that target one muscle group) such as bicep curls, rear delt fly, leg extension etc.
One of my favourite resources to use when I first started out was Bodybuilding.com.
2. Be Patient With Your Growth
Building muscle does take time but working on building a stronger mind aids the physical journey. I remember finishing each workout checking in the mirror if my bicep looked bigger. After the first couple of months, it is easy to slip off because you are not seeing that instant gratification. A fitness journey focuses on the complete opposite…delayed gratification. You aren’t going to see physical changes straightaway, you won’t realise the physical growth until you forget and look back one day. The first changes that you will see is your mental growth – the change in how you see and talk about yourself, the extra energy that you have, your improved performance in daily activities.
No matter how many times you start, stop and start again – you are still progressing because you are still on your journey.
3. Be Intentional With Your Actions
Every choice that you make in regards to your fitness journey can either push you a step forward or push you a couple steps back. At the end of the day, it will be a lesson learnt. Being intentional with your actions is more than what you do at the gym. It includes what you are eating as you can’t out-train a bad diet, your sleeping patterns, your water intake, your resting and recovery periods, your activity outside of the gym and your daily habits to develop your overall health. It may sound daunting now but the key to all of this is taking it a day at a time and a step at at time until you build a strong foundation to create a consistent daily plan of actions. It means forgetting about motivation and being disciplined in your actions. Motivation can be fleeting whilst discipline is intentional.
Starting a fitness journey can be scary but just start – that’s the key. Don’t wait for things to be perfect. It will only lead to procrasination.