Back in December I was having a hard time staying focused on my home workout routines, so I thought to myself “Hey! Why don’t I sign up for a 3 month fitness challenge?! That will get me out the door during the cold, shitty months.”
Honestly guys, I do NOT know where the motivation to get up at 5am, hit the gym by 6 and work so hard I was ready to puke came from. And was it ever a challenge! Not just for my body but my mind was a huge factor as well. HUGE. Not only did I have to deal with the physical exertion but there was a bit of a social dynamic issue as well that for some reason, I just didn’t see coming. Actually this is one of the main reasons I started this blog. Bless the Health and Wellness Industry for all the motivation it gives and all the people it wants to empower -BUT- when you get on that floor it’s not all sunny photos and flat tummies. For most real women out there, we are dealing with a curvy [but still sexy ;)] bod and sometimes we are nervous about taking on new changes in our lives. We may wonder if we can actually DO what we are setting out to accomplish. When starting a new fitness routine your spirit could be paper thin…and it could wave easily. That was the case for me anyway so I want to share a few tips and straight up cold hard realities that I experienced during my 3 months. I’m being straight with you in hopes that it will not discourage you but prepare you to be strong in your own self. Mentally, emotionally and physically.
Protect your immune system
However you choose to do it, if you want to workout through the winter months get your immune strength on. At first I didn’t think too much about it. I was taking a whole bunch of vitamins and supplements to aid in other areas and thought that was enough. It wasn’t, and I got colds on multiple occasions. It can be a huge set back to what you’re trying to accomplish. Once I started to realize this was a recurring issue I started using immune strengthening tea, grapefruit seed extract and oil of oregano as preventative measures. Really wish I had done that sooner. So start there.
Resist the urge to eat heavy food the night before a workout
We’ve been told by the all mighty health peeps a bajillion times not to eat heavy or late before bed…but we do it (or I do it) anyway. All I will say here is, try your best to avoid. Once you’re up early for the gym that food will haunt you in a way you never want to feel which is a huge deterring factor. I don’t often say learn from my mistakes (because honestly, everyone should learn for themselves most of the time) but I will say it here. I’m not saying don’t eat what you want. If it’s the weekend and you want something indulgent – please do it, enjoy it and don’t be too hard on yourself, but avoid late night snaking before a gym sess guys. If you’re so starving you can’t handle it – have some lean protein before bed and then figure out what’s happening to make you hungry at night (usually a sugar thing.)
Now for some hard lessons I learned during this challenge
There’s no room for pain at the gym – or so they say
Many (but not all) trainers have this mentality that if you talk about a physical or health issue you are complaining and there’s no room for “complaining” at the gym. I’m using quotations here for a reason. There is a difference between expressing real concern OR just being open about what your body is going through and complaining and using this as an excuse. Good trainers and not so good trainers do exist. Sometimes side by side. God, I can’t even tell you how much I do not collude with that line of thinking. The reality is and I’m telling you this – unless you’ve been training since you were young – it feels very new and different. Your body will react and you may start to notice certain issues that you didn’t realize where issues before. You should not feel shamed out of verbally expressing what is going on in your body. Any trainer that makes you feel that way – no dice – not cool. If this has happened to you, I want to give you some emotional justification here. These issues are serious and can be very painful but it’s okay to have that issue and there is a solution out there. A good trainer will give you guidance you need to correct the problem.
No matter how much a fitness facility markets that they are a “family” there will always be “those girls”
Unfortunately there is still a world of women (dare I say girls) out there who love their exclusivity, who want to be negatively charged in their competitiveness and who will in return, make you feel shitty. You can’t control everyone’s personal growth but you can decide on your own. Do yourself a favour early on and try to find one other person you click with. All you need is one and they can help you get through the tough times. When you’re trying to work out at 6am in February, leaving your house in the dark to go to a gym to put yourself under physical submission and deal with clique chicks – that one friend is going to be your shining light. Mine was for me. ❤
If you’re new to training and you took it on in Jan & Feb this year – Mad props. That shit is fucking hard – Doable but hard It’s safe to say I messed up on my food consumption repeatedly. I missed days at the gym because it was too dark or too cold. It is the hardest time of the year for Canadians. So here’s some love for those of you who did it this winter in spite of the elements.
Overall, I’m not going to say this was easy but it was defiantly worth it. I’ve seen a great improvement in my strength and tone. Beyond that I got some excellent insight into myself. I started to move past the idea of needing people to like me and I got a lot of insight into my immune system and the strengthening that it needs which is equally important.
Would I do it again? Yes! Probably not at the same place but it got me going this winter.
So I say, despite some negative bits – TOTALLY WORTH IT. Now we are in April – I head to California next week. I’m happy I gave my body the time and attention it deserved this winter.
And for now, I’m back on my home routine. Pushing it harder then ever thanks to what I learned in boot camp and adding yoga into the mix to give myself a peaceful cool down. I will defiantly take the best of what I learned in this 3 Month Challenge and carry it forward in my personal practice! What’s next?! Ha! Some Zouk Lambada, A Juice Cleanse, CALIFORNIA annnd maybe some Yoga on the beach!!