As you can tell by the title, the subject of this blog post is different than my usual topics. Fitness is something I’ve been interested in for a few years now, and amongst other topics, I’ve always wanted to talk about working out and healthy eating on my blog. The fact that my blog is mostly beauty-based has always stopped me from doing so – I’m afraid that diversifying too much will cause a dip in interest from readers.
However, after chatting with a few blogger friends about this subject, I’ve convinced myself that it’s my blog so I should talk about what I want; even though I mainly talk about makeup, I’ve always categorized my blog as a “lifestyle blog”, so I’m going to start branching out this year. Here it is – a new topic called Fitness Fridays! In particular, today we get a little more personal than usual by talking about my fitness journey, which has been…well, a journey. PS – I didn’t know how to take pictures for this blog post (I’m no “fitspo”, you see) so umm…enjoy the memes.
Before I got into fitness and living healthy, I didn’t really realize that everyone could have such different fitness goals and reasons for wanting to be fit. It seemed like most people either wanted to 1) lose weight or 2) get ripped. It wasn’t until I really started looking into the fitness world that there are so many reasons why someone might be living a healthy lifestyle. Yes, some people may wish to shed a few pounds while some want to see muscle definition, but some people do it because they have health issues and want to improve their health, while others are challenging themselves to run in a 10K marathon. And those are just a few examples! I would say my goals are similar to most, but also different.
I’m a very petite person – just under 5 feet tall, with a small frame, and narrow shoulders and hips. As most of us know, the media is great at telling us that our bodies are never good enough, but somehow I managed to completely avoid that pressure growing up – I honestly never really thought about whether or not my body was good enough for society’s standards. What led me on my fitness journey was my difficulty in finding clothes that fit.
While it seems to be a common goal for people to want to fit into a smaller size, my personal challenge was finding clothes that are small enough for me. Every so often, I’ll luck out by trying a shirt on that fits me perfectly, but those moments are few and far between. Even at stores that sell size XXS, I am usually still swimming in the clothes, which makes shopping a really frustrating experience. Yes, I can get my clothes taken in, but I’ve learned that sometimes there’s only so much a seamstress can do, and in terms of money, it also adds up real fast. I wanted to be able to fill out clothes from off-the-rack, but I didn’t know how to do that.
I’ve been working out on and off for about 4 years, the first two of which were very sporadic and done without much knowledge of how our bodies work, so I completely went about reaching my goals the wrong way. Also, most people categorize themselves as either a sweet or a salty person in terms of junk food. Well, give me both the chips and the cake! I love junk food, so “eating clean” is a tough one for me.
- In my first year of working out, it seemed to me that I lot of people who work out do cardio, so I started off doing a lot of light cardio using machines (treadmill, elliptical), as well as bodyweight exercises, with no change to my diet. I didn’t see much change in my body, so I went back to the drawing board.
- I thought that by shedding fat, I would be able to get more muscle definition, and thus be able to fill my clothes out. I started doing a lot of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with bodyweight exercises. My diet consisted of a strict diet of salad and other food one would typically think of as “healthy”. This whole stage was a HUGE misconception for me. It took me a year to figure out that this was leading me farther away from my goals, not closer. Back to the drawing board I went again.
- I started realizing that I needed to lift weights in order to see any muscle definition. I started incorporating light weights alongside cardio. My diet was mainly healthy, but this was a stressful time in my life so I also stress-ate a lot. I saw small gains mostly in my arms and a little in my glutes, but my body remained largely unchanged and I still couldn’t fill out any clothes. After doing a lot of reading on the subject, I realized I wouldn’t see big changes unless I started lifting heavier.
- This is the stage I’m currently at – pushing myself to use heavier and heavier weights while still remaining in control of my movements. While in the past I completely neglected my upper body (other than arms), I also realized that in order to fit into tops (the part I have the most problems with), I needed to make my shoulders and chest bigger. Now, I make sure to have a “shoulder day” and a “chest day”. I learned about macronutrients, and upped my protein intake.
I don’t think there’s a “wrong” way to be fit; as long as you’re moving and eating a balanced diet, that’s already a step in the right direction. BUT as you can see from my experience, there is definitely a “wrong” way to go about reaching specific goals if you don’t know what you need to do in order to get the results you want. But I think everyone goes through this! They call it a journey for a reason, right? It hasn’t been until the last year or so that I’ve gained a lot more knowledge, although I’m still constantly learning and am very, very far from being an expert! Can I fit into clothes off the rack now? Nope! But it’s better than it was before, and I know there’s still so much space for growth in my workout routines, which means my body will follow.
Do you work out and/or eat healthy, and if so, was there a particular reason why you started? I love hearing about other people’s journeys! Okay, I’m going to hit Publish before I change my mind and delete this whole thing, haha.