I'm looking at the screen and trying to think of a million different words I can use to get across to you why working up a sweat is the one thing in my life which gives me constant satisfaction and a never ending source of happiness.
The best way I feel like I can truly convey to you how much I love gymming is by letting you in on what I'm like in a workout class (it's an exciting experience for me and a slightly embarrassing one for my friends). When I'm in my head space, the music is right and I'm putting my all into those sprints, that spin, or my Curve Guide strength training session, I honestly cannot help but sing, dance and probably pull overly enthusiastic faces during the class. (Check out my snapchat 'progresspure' for reference).
Bart's got the right idea.
I told you it was embarrassing, because seriously, that is what I do. Being truly in my zone pushing my body to work and being aware of the fact that it's powerful enough to do so is an amazing experience. This morning I was at a spinning class at Spinn-off London and found myself full on singing to the top of my lungs (apologies to fellow spinners). That's right, not just bopping to the beat, or lightly humming along with Jay Z under my breath, like full on drunk-girl Karaoke style blasting. Now seriously, if you told me you went to a workout class and some chick was busting for breath but still showing her love for a top 100 classic, not only would I think she was absolutely off her rocker but my true British side would undoubtably show its colours by feeling helplessly embarrassed for her.
And that's what enjoying exercise is like. You mother fuckin' lose it. For all those people who listen in astonishment to gym-goers who are up at the crack of dawn to get in their morning sesh and simply don't understand it, it's because that gym bug is not instantly infectious. Hell no, if everyone caught it straight away then there wouldn't be such a supportive and awesome community cheering every fit gal on like it's game day. Because legitimately, whenever I scroll through Instagram to read motivating posts, witness daily achievements and listen to small successes I get so excited that by the time I'm in the weights room I'm raring to go. Laugh what you will, but there is nothing like some hard core gym motivation to get you moving. An epic film, a huge song, a motivating story, a life changing event, they all impact my gym routine. And it goes to show you that your attitude to the gym is mostly impacted by your psychological state rather than your physical goals. Don't get me wrong, most of us are working out with physical aims in mind: muscle gain, weight loss, weight gain, fat burn, whatever it maybe, but we're doing it because it leaves us feeling psychologically pumped. Blasting music, heavy weights, quick speed, fast movements, it's all shooting your adrenaline through the roof and proving to yourself that you can do this and you can do anything.
When I exercise I'm doing it for my brain, my body comes second and 99% of people will be the same even if they don't realise it. I started committing myself to the gym because, granted, I was unhappy about the way I physically looked. But why was that? Was it really because I wanted to lose a bit of excess fat? No. A year on I can look back on what was making me unhappy and understand that my physical appearance wasn't my main motivation. My mental happiness was. I felt disappointed in myself for not having the control to make a healthy and positive life decision. My goals at the time were simple, I wanted to stop eating chocolate, cake, sweets, chips (the usual junk) and I wanted to go to the gym 4 days a week. I found these simple goals unbearably difficult, so much so that I couldn't stick to them for longer than a week. And this drove me nuts. It infuriated me that I was lacking in self control to the extent to which I genuinely didn't feel I could say no to sugar and say yes to the gym. (Hi, my name's Molly and I'm a self confessed sugar addict). I wasn't getting frustrated because I hadn't reached my physical goals but rather that I hadn't reached my mental ones. Your will power is the biggest muscle you'll ever use, every small step will contribute to a much larger and rewardable goal.
To make matters worse, I used to really dislike being in the gym and would genuinely dread my workouts. I absolutely hated spinning and would swear during each class that I would never put myself through that again (yes I was a huge drama queen). But after every workout that golden sense of accomplishment would settle in and funnily enough I would find myself booking into more classes, setting higher goals and trying to work out more often. It wasn't all smooth sailing and I definitely went through phases of enjoying the gym for a month and then not going for another, but it was all progressive steps in helping me get where I am today.
These are the 3 things I found which legitimately got my hooked on going to the gym so listen up.
- Go. Don't think about it, don't dwell, don't spend ages on your phone, don't remind yourself you need a new playlist 5 minutes before, don't let your tiredness take over and DO NOT pity yourself. Just go. Put on your running shoes, plug in your headphones and get. going. Whether that's hopping on the bus to your gym or opening your front door to go running. Go.
2. Take it day by day. If you're trying to get into healthy eating then focus on each day as a small step, remember that each time you say 'no' to that free cookie or brownie, your flexing your will power muscle. So keep flexin' girl.
Now I want to make clear to you guys so you don't think I'm hypocritical, I definitely eat the occasional cookie and no sometimes I don't track everything to a T, especially now I am on summer I like to keep my eating pretty chilled. But if you're just transitioning your lifestyle then I recommend being as accurate as you can until you've proved to yourself you've got that self control. Prove to yourself that sugar, junk, fast food whatever, prove to yourself that it doesn't control you and you can opt for the healthier, cleaner options instead.
3. Commitment period. Like I said above, it was incredibly important for me to truly dedicate a few months to proving to myself that I could overcome my addiction to sugar and build on my commitment to the gym. Being honest with you guys, for these few months my fitness and nutrition did pretty much take over all aspects of my life. I was prepared and willing to focus on my health and fitness in order to prove to myself that I could do it. And honestly it really worked.
Focusing on the gym and nutrition I started not only getting that awesome feeling of accomplishment after leaving the weights room but also during my workouts. I started adding extra sets to my strength training routine, new exercises, more reps and higher speed on my HIIT sessions. I started getting excited about exercising, planning my workouts the day before, thinking about what kinds of recipes I would make that week to compliment my gym routine and prioritising my sleep to make sure I got the maximum out of my workouts.
Half a year later and that love and momentum for exercising is the same as it was after getting started with that commitment period. My love for the gym gets stronger and stronger with every workout and my excitement for the future is ever growing. I know how tempting it is to say no to your workout, trust me, my commitment period really proved to be a challenge between September to December last year in 2015. 5:50am get ups in freezing Edinburgh and a 10 minute walk to the gym when it was still dark and most likely raining are not fun. But I'm telling you, being able to sing my head off now when I workout and practically dancing on the treadmill because I'm having so much fun makes all those drizzly mornings worth while.
Food-wise, I've definitely relaxed a bit on my macros as it's Summer and I'm currently happier intuitively eating during the holiday. Mainly because I absolutely love eating out, and I honestly associate summer with restaurants, pubs and BBQ's. I'm now calm and confident in my dedication for the gym and know nothing would ever stop me from working out so eating roughly what I want but generally following my macros (ish) is working well for me for the time being. It probably means my abs will fade a little and I'll be feeling slightly fluffier than normal but I'm okay with that.
I've learned to enjoy my workouts to the max, push myself to the limit and also be able to thoroughly enjoy a burger and not feel guilty about it. And that's the stage I'm out now. When I'm back at University in September I'll definitely focus on hitting my macros to the T and continue getting in all my Curve Guide workouts. I never thought I would have the self control, dedication and motivation to stick to my goals and see them through, but I'm telling you, from someone who has been on the other side - it's sure as hell worth it.
Love, Molly xx