This summer, I decided I wanted to make a change. Not only did I want to tone up more, I also wanted to feel better with more energy. As a dancer, I was so used to constant exercise that moving to University led to some bad habits. Don't get me wrong, I have never been a size 8, nor will I ever be. But I did have better energy levels and took better care of myself in the past.
Everyone gains weight at uni, it's honestly a fact. This is usually down to stress, but can also link into the initial "relationship weight" that many of us experience. It also can be connected to the awful diets we all end up adopting and the lack of money or time to join the gym.
Now that i'm "a grown up" (that still feels odd to say) I feel it's time for a change. The only problem is there are so many ways to approach getting fitter, that I'm still learning what works for me.
Option 1: The Gym
There are positives to joining a gym, for example:
- Joining a gym may help with your mental motivation to begin your fitness program.
- You have a diverse option of activities to choose from; flexibility training, mobility, posture, strength and power as well as learning relaxation techniques or group classes.
- Gyms can give you the atmosphere you need for a tough workout.
- You can use the gym and it's facilities at any time (most are 24 hours now) and in any weather conditions.
- You meet new people and can go with friends (workout buddies).
- Most machines can track heart rate etc. so you can stay safe and within your target.
- Once you pay, you feel you have to keep going.
Like with everything, there are negatives to consider too:
- It's very expensive to join a gym.
- Sometimes people do not feel comfortable in gyms and the atmosphere may not work for you.
- If you can only go in peak times, the gym is often overcrowded and you have to wait a lot, making a solid and continuous routine difficult to achieve.
- Once you add traveling time and showers after, your time at the gym could increase which may not work for you.
- If you know how, you can do just as effective workouts at home.
- Some people prefer the outdoors and can find the gym stifling.
- In some more budget gyms, there is a lack of professional support available.
- Your machines might be busy and this will mean your workout isn't what you wanted.
- Some people don't like that others can see them whilst they work out.
Option 2: Home Videos/Workouts
Many people are now getting more invested in alternative methods of working out. Some use home videos (the likes of Insanity). This allows you to move at your own pace and workout when you have time throughout the day. However, you must always be careful when using home workouts as you have a high risk of injury or possibly doing something wrong. Be careful!
Option 3: Group Fitness Training
Lately, I have seen more and more alternatives to gyms popping up, one of which is TCS Fitness Limited. Aimed at helping people reach their weight goals and tone up, they work with people even more than traditional personal trainers. They provide a combined approach to tackling weight loss by focusing on nutrition, mental battles and getting to know you on a more personal level to choose a program that works for you. Although this may be a new approach, for those of us who may be nervous going to a gym, we don't know how to use all of the equipment, the atmosphere isn't for us etc, this sounds like a great combination of support to help you reach your goals!
It's hard to find a workout option that suits you but unfortunately, it's not healthy to simply diet. We should exercise and eat healthy portions to achieve our goals. Maxing out at the gym or starving yourself might get you results, but it isn't good for you mentally or physically!
Getting Fit, in my opinion, is a different mindset to losing weight. It's a more positive way of looking at it, more of a choice for you to be healthy rather than to conform to societal expectations or peer pressure. You can make yourself unhealthy by eating too little or working out without the right eating habits. It's all about finding the balance for you that makes you feel better about yourself and having the motivation to keep going once you get there.
By making a conscious effort to eat a more balanced diet and get to know my body, I'm now ready to take the next step in my fitness journey. With Summer approaching, make sure you treat your body with care and do what's right for you. Being healthy is a personal achievement, so make your approach personal to you!!