I’ve always been a big advocate for fitness, but never took the time to do proper research, or even put much effort into keeping track of the most important factors that play the greatest roles in any fitness journey. I was on a roller coaster for years with my fitness. There would be periods in time where I was super dedicated to reaching my fitness goals (well, what I thought were my fitness goals at the time), then there would be other times I’d get discouraged from not seeing the results I expected, so I’d take long breaks from working out…of course, that didn’t help at all.
About a year ago, I decided that I’d had enough of my half-assed attempts, so I began doing some real research aimed at getting on the right track of my fitness journey. I realized shortly after that the two main reasons I was so inconsistent with my fitness routine, were because I did not have a clear goal, nor did I have a structured fitness plan. Around October of last year, I made the decision to invest in professional coaching. Fast forward to June, 2020, I’ve now completed two fitness challenges from Bodies by Rachel , and an at home “Peach please” challenge from Workouts By Katya.
With the gyms in Ontario being closed since March, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, I’ve had to adjust to working out at home; and it’s honestly been a struggle. The discipline and consistency I had on lock while I was going to the gym went way down during the first month of the lock-down, even though I had a structured at home workout plan from WBK. Weight lifting has been one the biggest contributors to my muscle gains. Going from having access to a variety of equipment to only having my body weight, a few booty bands, ankle weights and dumbbells, I initially felt very demotivated. I took about two weeks break from working out, and lost quite a lot of my gains. Now, I’m working on getting my fitness level and physique back on track. So, since I’ve been working on embracing this at home workout thing, until the gym re-opens, I thought I’d share five tips with you guys, which I’m personally using to get back on track.
IT STARTS IN THE KITCHEN
Whether you want to gain or lose weight, build muscles, or simply maintain a healthy physique…it all begins with your diet. Ensuring that you are incorporating healthy foods into your daily diet is absolutely necessary; but it’s not just about what you are eating. It also has a lot to do with how much. Having a good idea of your caloric intake is one of the first steps in creating a good fitness plan. When you know this, you are able to adjust the amount of calories you are eating on a daily basis to match your fitness goals. If you are focused on weigh gain, like myself, you would want to steadily increase your caloric intake. My maintenance calories are around 1500 (your maintenance calories are the amount of calories your body requires to optimally perform all its functions/activities) . As I’m focused on weight/muscle gain, I initially increased my caloric intake to 2000, and now I’m trying to eat 2300 daily. I’ve seen major results from consistently eating in a caloric surplus while working out.
Tracking your macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) is also very important, as they correlate with your calories. If you are looking to gain lean muscle weight, you especially have to ensure that you are eating enough protein. Now, you may be wondering how exactly you can find out how many calories/macros you should be eating. There are various apps or professional services available that will collect your information (such as weight, height and fitness goals), and will provide you with the recommended amount of calories and macros. Although both BBR and WBK programs come with personalized meal guides and calorie trackers, I also use MyFitnessPal. It’s a simple, user friendly app that allows you to track both your calories and macro-nutrients. I highly recommend using this, as it has nutritional information on almost every kind of food, it’s easy to use, and best of all, it’s free (unless you want to go Premium).
Learn more about macronutrients from this blog post by BBR: Click here
CREATE A PROPER WORKOUT SCHEDULE
Making a workout schedule is very important when aiming to be consistent. I like the structure of having all my workouts laid out for the week, and being able to look over and sort of mentally/physically prepare for each session. If you don’t have a schedule, then chances are you’d either spend more time during your workout sessions trying to decide what exercises to do, or you might just skip working out altogether.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when making your workout schedule:
- What’s the best time for me to work out? If you typically have a busy day, you’d probably want to plan your session for a time when you’d be able to really focus on working out and not have to rush through it; so consider working out either before your work day begins, or after it ends.
- What’s my main focus? If you have specific fitness goals, then you don’t want to just be doing random exercises. You have to do your research and plan what kind of exercises you will be doing to target your area(s) of focus.
- How many days should I work out? In a good week, I’ll exercise 5-6 times. I think that any good workout schedule should have at least 3 workout sessions a week.
There are always at home workout hacks to exercises you’d normally use gym equipment for- so, get creative! You can find various workout substitutions that will target the same muscles, as the exercise you’d typically do in the gym. I’ve come to realize that my body weight and some filled water bottles can do wonders.
It can be very easy to get distracted while working out at home, as you’re in a more relaxed and comfortable environment. When I initially started working out at home, my usual 1 minute breaks started turning into 10 minutes. Either I’d just lazily lay on the mat, or I’d be on my phone. Now, I make sure to only use my phone to look at my exercises, and I try my best to jump right into my next exercise as soon as the timer goes off. If you find yourself getting easily distracted while working out at home, try avoiding the things that are contributing to that. Kind of treat your workout space like an equipment station at the gym that other persons are waiting to use… you don’t want to be hogging the machine for yourself, so be as efficient as possible, and get through those exercises in a timely manner.
BE DISCIPLINED & PATIENT
“Nothing good comes easy”– Your fitness journey won’t be smooth sailing, and don’t expect to see results overnight. It will take hard work and consistent, intentional efforts. Speaking from experience, there will be days when you look in the mirror and be like “damn, this really is working”, then there will be other days where you can’t seem to see any progress. It’s SUPER important to not let those bad days get you off track. Keep eating right and keep putting your best into your workouts. During my challenges with BBR, there were days were I felt like calling it quits, because I wasn’t seeing much results. At the end of my second challenge, I took that photo on the right, and compared it to the photo of when I just started the first challenge. I was so surprised, as I really didn’t realize just how much my physique had changed. I still have a long way to go in my fitness journey, but each day that I put in the work, the closer I get to reaching my goals. So, be patient with yourself and just keep going. Once you’re doing the right stuff (proper dieting and consistent, targeted workouts), the results will come.
I hope you found something useful from this post!