How do you fit exercise (cardio/weights) into your life?
Exercise is an integral part of my life, although sometimes I admit that I would rather sit on the couch than be on the treadmill! I find that having scheduled fitness sessions not only makes me accountable but also lets me enjoy what I’m doing. I play a couple days a week on an organized sports team and I have my scheduled One On One session. The rest of the time I try and organize my workouts around my daily schedule. Making time for fitness is important to me as it helps me mentally and physically feel good (I love the feeling of tired muscles as you know you have accomplished something).
What was the toughest part of the Lean and Mean for you?
Changing my overall eating habits wasn’t too hard. I had to figure out what vegetables I could learn to like and how to prepare them so I would actually eat them! Planning non-scheduled exercise sessions also took some work and a change in mind-set. I found that once I started routinely exercising that it became easier to commit to it on a regular basis.
What was the most rewarding aspect of the event for you?
I really like being able to see muscle when you are just doing day-to-day activities. Of course, seeing my clothes get looser is also a great perk! My family was very supportive and my spouse is the best! We had a lot of birthdays and family events during this competition. My family really stepped up and helped out by adjusting meals so that I could participate in the function but not sacrifice the competition. My spouse was my voice of reason and my cheerleader rolled into one!
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I need to listen to my body. I found that weight can fluctuate daily based on water retention, hormones, etc. and that I need to take a longer outlook on what results I’m seeing. I also found that my body will tell me when it’s time to rest or when I’m hungry and that it’s important to listen to it.
When you fall off track with healthy eating/exercise, how do you get back on?
I don’t punish myself anymore. There’s no benefit in berating yourself on what you did, just look forward to what you can do! I found that logging what I ate, the exercise I did each day and the amount of sleep I got at night helped me to see patterns in my behaviour. When I fall off track I go back to those notes.
What are your goals now?
Although losing weight and building muscle is tough, I personally find the hardest part is actually maintaining what you have achieved. Losing weight is structured and I am good with routines and short term goals. Transitioning to a long term goal of maintaining my new body will involve learning what my thresholds are for food and exercise. My goals now are to find that balance.
If you could give advice to another person who was struggling with their fitness what would that be?
There is no “right way” to start getting fit -just start! Think of what you enjoy doing and begin with that. I find that if you enjoy the fitness routines you are doing then you will make them part of your daily life and look forward to them. Also, don’t underestimate the value of weight training. Cardio is important but weight training has huge benefits as well – from strengthening that back or those knees that are always aching to defining those muscles you want to see.