Summer is upon us, and we’re finally on the downhill slope for this semester. We have a lot to look forward to, such as warm weather, shorts and tank tops, and hanging out by the pool. You’ll even get to wear that new bikini you just bought!
That is, assuming you even want to.
So maybe you’re uncomfortable in a swimsuit, or maybe you think you need to lose weight. I’m here to help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
I only ask one thing of you. Do not give up, and work hard at all times.
Before we begin, I need to make something very clear. Meeting your fitness goals will not be easy. It will be very hard, and it will take time. Do not go to the gym for a week and get mad when you can’t see any physical results. By time, I’m talking weeks and months of dedication and perseverance.
Persevere, persevere, persevere.
Like most people, I wasn’t always satisfied with my body. In high school I played sports, but I wasn’t necessarily concerned with fitness. I had a serious honey butter chicken biscuit addiction, and that took a toll on my physique. I’ll admit I wasn’t fat, but I definitely wasn’t in shape. My senior year I weighed in at around 140 lbs, and wearing a swimsuit was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t born with a “perfect” body like some of the other girls I went to school with, so I pondered that and wallowed in self-pity for a few years.
When I came to Tech, things changed. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I decided to get up and do something about it. My freshman year I lost 17 lbs, but I didn’t do it correctly. I was spending hours and hours on the elliptical at the recreation center, eating next to nothing, and getting little to no sleep. It was no surprise when I went home for the summer and gained back almost all of the weight that I lost that year.
Here’s what you can learn from this:
Not eating gets you nowhere. Sure you might lose a few pounds short term, but it will come right back. Not to mention you will have no energy and feel sluggish all the time. Who wants that?
So I was back to square one, and I wasn’t happy about it. I decided I was going to try to get back in shape the right way this time, and that’s what I’ve been doing since then.
Here are some very important things to remember about being in shape.
1. Fitness is 70% in the kitchen, and 30% in the gym. You need to eat healthy and be aware of how much you are eating. You can spend hours working out, but if you eat like crap your hard work won’t make a difference. Fruit is a great snack, so instead of having a bag of chips have an apple. Also, be aware of the amount of calories in the meals you consume. I kid you not; the secret to my success is the My Fitness Pal app. If you have an iPhone, pull it out and download that app right now. You’ll thank me later.
2. You can’t just do cardio. I know what you’re thinking ladies, and I’ll admit I used to think the same thing. But yes, even as women you need to do weights.
“But it will make me bulk up, and I don’t want that.”
No, no, no. It won’t make you bulk up if you do it correctly. To tone your arms and legs, simply do less weight and more reps. That way when you do burn fat you will have a nice, toned body to show for it, rather than a scrawny one. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Strong is the new skinny!
3. Cardio doesn’t have to be monotonous. If you hate sitting on the elliptical or treadmill for hours on end, try something new. There are several group fitness classes offered at the recreation center for free, and you can find a schedule and class descriptions on their website. They do a great job of making workouts both fun and physically challenging. My personal favorite is Turbo Kick, and I highly recommend you go try it if you’ve never done it before. You won’t regret it!
4. A few final tips. When watching TV, lie down on the floor and do some crunches. If you’re standing around waiting on something or someone, do calf raises. If you were planning on taking the bus to class, leave a little early and walk instead. Opportunities to increase your fitness level are endless. All you have to do is take advantage of them!
5. STAY POSITIVE. If you don’t think you will be successful, you won’t be. Bottom line. Be optimistic, create realistic goals for yourself, and go conquer them. Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, think of yourself as your own competition. The only thing preventing you from reaching your goals is you.
I know fitness can be physically and emotionally draining, but the end result outweighs every ounce of pain you will endure to get there. Your head will quit a thousand times before your body will, so just keep pushing.
I went from being a freshman at 140 lbs, to a junior at 120 lbs, because quitting was never an option for me. Don’t let it be an option for you.
Started from the bottom, now I’m here.