23 January 2018

I Started The Gym

A few weeks ago here on hiyaitsashley, I posted my 2018 blogging goals, but outside of having goals for my blog, one of my big goals for the year was to start going to the gym, and start eating better. On the 10th of January, I started work on that goal.

Exercise and working out has never been something I'm opposed to, it's just I always found it hard to get motivated. If I'm going to be exercising and getting sweaty, I want it to be fun. In terms of eating healthy, my meals are never necessarily that bad, I'm just a sucker for snack foods, and have a huge sweet tooth. But this year, I decided it was time for a change.

I had my induction at my local gym on Wednesday the 11th of January, and I was a little nervous, but mostly excited. The reason I had never really gone to a proper gym before was mostly my own worry. In my head, everyone was going to be either really skinny, toned girls or really buff, muscular men, and I was going to feel so out of place and self conscious. But it was something I was really determined to do this year, so I put those thoughts aside, and along with my sister, I went and actually, I found that of course there were some of people I was picturing, but the majority of people were just ordinary people like me, and right away I felt more at ease.

My induction went smoothly, I had basic knowledge of most machines and how they work from a combination of general knowledge, and from using the gym we used to have in my high school a long time ago. The instructor was incredibly friendly and informative, which helped put my mind at ease as well, as I'm sure it did for the other people who were in my induction too.

After that we were let loose to try the machines for ourselves, and even though I was still a little wary, a few minutes into it and I soon forgot my worries. I tried the Cross Trainer first, and just focused on me and what I was doing, I chatted with my sister, I even caught a few minutes of Emmerdale on the built in TV on the machine (mainly because I was too scared to take my hand off the machine to browse the other channels!)

I went for an hour that night, it passed so quickly and I was having so much fun I barely noticed. After that first machine I got in the zone, I didn't push myself too hard because it was only my first time, so I stuck with 10 minutes in each. I tried out the Cross Trainers, Rowing Machine, Bike and Treadmill for cardio, then Peck Fly and Leg Press for weights. After that first night, I left feeling great and confident, I wasn't worried about how I looked, or what people would think, and honestly, I was excited to go back.

Being a student meant that I got what is called a 'Passport For Leisure', which means I can go as often as I want, and instead of paying a monthly membership fee I can pay each time I go, and for a student it only costs me £3.40. That was another thing that really motivated me to keep going, I knew I could keep and active lifestyle and it wouldn't need to break the bank.

Since it was so cheap I decided to keep going, and my sister and I agreed on twice a week for the first little while to ease into it, then gradually start working up to more frequently.

On top of our weekly gym sessions, we have also started adding an hour of badminton into out sessions, which has been so incredibly fun. I love badminton and tennis, so being able to add an hour of badminton this into our regular gym routine for an hour has been such a bonus for me. In my gym, you can book out the courts and have a proper badminton set up, and it is away from the actual gym area so you can really focus on playing, which I love.

Along with my new gym plan, I have also been working on changing my diet to be substantially more healthy, and for me that has so far consisted of two key changes that have really changed the way I eat, and what I eat.

The first big change I have made is cutting out unhealthy snacks, not completely, but for the most part. I no longer eat chocolate bars or candy for example. Since starting this plan two weeks ago, I have had one Galaxy Ripple and a few squares of dairy milk chocolate, other than that I've had no candy. I also have been cutting out unhealthy crisps, so in two weeks I have had only two packets of 'normal' crisps. Instead I have been replacing these snacks with fruit, cereal bars and yoghurts. For crisps, I eat Walkers Baked, which are an oven baked, low calorie alternative, and rice and corn snacks.

The second significant change has been in what I drink. I barely ever used to drink water, it was too bland tasting for me. This meant I drank a lot of fizzy juice, only diet, but still, not good for you. So in the past two weeks, all I have drunk is basically water, or flavoured water. I've limited myself to one can of diet juice a day for the most part, and I have honestly been loving it. I thought it would be hard to stick to only drinking water, but I can honestly say I haven't even noticed it really, so I'm happy with that.

The other thing that has really helped me to stick to this new eating plan has been getting an app for my phone that allows me to log and track my food, calories and exercise for the day, it has been such a good idea and it has honestly helped me stay on track. I love being able to see and track what I'm eating, and make sure I'm getting enough of what I need each day, but also making smart, healthy decisions.

Tomorrow will be two weeks since my induction, and so far I have stuck to my schedule and my new eating plan, and I can honestly say I'm really enjoying it. It has only been two weeks, but it's a start and I am so motivated to keep at it.

Like everything, there have been some low points. After my first two sessions my right leg was in absolute agony. I could barely walk or bend my leg, and it was quite disheartening. It didn't put me off going back at all, but it put a bit of a dampener on my mood, having been so pleased with how hard I worked, But that quickly subsided, when I realised it was most likely my own fault for going two days back to back for an hour on day, then two hours the following day. My muscles were tired, and not used to so much heavy activity, and I didn't stretch properly. That was definitely something I learned for the future! Now I stretch every time I am finished a work out, or whenever I feel my muscles starting to hurt.

Within the first week, (11th-18th) I had lost 4lbs. It's not much, but in just a week it is definitely a start. Of course, it is too early to see any visible changes, but that's okay, because I can feel noticable differences in myself. I don't get out of breathe nearly as easily, I can work harder for a bit longer without feeling to drained, and I feel so much more active and have more energy during the day. I have also noticed that I'm not hungry as often, and can't eat as much. My skin looks clearer and feels much softer and more hydrated, and the bags under my eyes aren't as dark or puffy either.

Even though it's only been a couple of weeks, I can definitely feel the benefits of this new work out and eating plan, and I am definitely going to be sticking to it. Hopefully as the weeks go on the progress will keep going, and I might even keep you updated on here, if people are enjoying that.

Do you work out at the gym? What are you favourite work outs? Do you have any favourite tips for eating healthy?

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