Working out could be the hardest thing to do at times. Your mind often telling you “GET UP LET’S WORKOUT AND GET OUR BODY RIGHT!” but your body pushes back and says “maybe later.”
It is a constant struggle we try to combat by setting-up body goals and deadlines,”summer bodies are made in the winter!”, or my favorite,making new year’s resolutions about how this year I will actually start working out and eating healthier. If any of this applies to you, don’t feel bad because you are not alone but hopefully by the time you finish reading this you might have a little bit more motivation to get up and get after it.
Think About This:
Baltimore, MD - June 7, 2010 was the day after my high school graduation. It was such a happy day, I had just graduated from high school, senior week was ahead and not to forget most importantly going to Howard University in the fall. I remember the day so clear, going to return the fly white and black tux, we were required to wear for graduation, back to Men’s Warehouse at the mall. The traffic was building on the street and as I waited for the traffic to flow, my life was severely altered. An all white Toyota SUV crashed into the back of me; destroying my car, ruining my summer and sending me to physical therapy the rest of the summer to rehab my now injured back and neck.
Growing up I never thought about working out; I didn’t have a gym membership, I didn’t even know people took classes to stay fit. All I knew was sports; soccer and track, and that was my workout. Of course I never viewed it as a workout because it was something I enjoyed; well almost all of it, practice always sucked. I never realized that the reason I was so fit was because I was an athlete.
Now I was required to go to physical therapy 4 times a week, from the week after high school graduation up until I left for college. My summer of fun turned into a summer of recovery. Each session requiring more and more strenuous activities and exercise to try and heal my neck and back. This was my first time getting exposed to working out aside from playing sports.
When I went to college my workouts regressed. My neck didn’t hurt anymore and my back only ached on occasion. My new problem was eating so much Cafe food. Sheesh! talk about putting on pounds. I went from 120 lbs in high school to almost 140 lbs by the end of my freshman year. There were so many distractions and I had very little motivation to go to the gym besides the time when the homies said they were going. Then it just looked like the move.
The years flew by from freshman year to senior year and I could count on one hand how many times I went to the gym. I tried running with friends here and there but that never really lasted too long, running at 7 am vs sleeping til 8 am before class, I typically chose sleep. The only time I really worked out was during the summer and that was simply because I lucked up and had roommates that went to the gym often.
Now we arrive to adulthood. No more excuses of being too busy because I was studying or attending org meetings. Instead I replaced those things that took up my time in college with being too tired from adulting, happy hours and most importantly SLEEP! lots and lots of sleep.
At this point however my back pain was getting worse. I would crack my back often and get massages as temporary fixes but I knew that my back was weak. It also didn’t help that a small paunch replaced the area where my abs used to exist.
This is when I knew something had to change !
Join a Gym: A littler over a year ago I signed up for a LA Fitness membership, as part of those New Year’s resolutions I mentioned earlier. I was focused on two things when I joined, making my back stronger while trying to bring my abs out from hiding. LA Fitness, like most gyms, offers free classes for members in addition to a plethora of free weights and workout machines, which was great for what I was trying to do.
Staying committed to going to the gym was tough however to get started there are a few things I did:
Go to the gym often: When I first started working out my energy and excitement was enough to get me to the gym; so I took advantage of that feeling and went to the gym as often as 4-5 times a week until working out was more of a habit vs luxury.
Plan your workouts: Going to the gym without planning my workouts caused me to spend a lot of time just walking around being indecisive and wasting time. It was very inefficient and there was no way I could keep this up. I got myself to go to the gym, but I had no clue what to do to really reach my goals.
Get a trainer: LA fitness offers a free fitness test with a trainer when you first join. The fitness test showed me that I could reach my goals a lot faster and easier if I had a trainer providing me with workouts and pushing me (holding me accountable). Yet the cost for the trainer was so expensive, initiation fees + paying for the trainer on top of paying for the gym membership. I just graduated college and was still adjusting to being an adult, I didn’t have money to waste. So I did a few sessions with the trainer, got an idea of what workouts to do then found a loophole to get out of my contract with LA fitness and my trainer; LA Fitness makes you sign a long contract (6 months - Year) when you take on a trainer, SUCH A RIP OFF. There is also the option of finding a freelance trainer who could work with you to meet your fitness goals as well as your budget.
Get a reliable workout partner: Without a trainer to give me workouts I needed some way to stay accountable and still find ways to push my workouts. If you ever lived in Chicago and commuted to work then you know the traffic can be brutal. Just my luck I found a coworker who also had a long commute and a LA Fitness membership. My coworker, now friend, also had a freelance trainer who would feed him daily workouts which we used at the gym; lucked up and got a workout partner and a trainer all in one #winning. My workout partner kept me motivated to go to the gym and it soon just became part of the work week routine. We worked out a solid 3-4 times a week.
Put down your phone!: In the beginning it was all about the snap flex(taking pictures to show off on snapchat). I just had to let the world know that I was in the gym, hoping that one of my cute followers might catch my progress. But taking pictures during workouts became a waste of time and left me at the gym a lot longer than I wanted to be. Plus it always felt better when somebody saw me and gave me an unprovoked compliment about my new “amazing” body ;).
Class Pass: If you struggle with going to the gym alone or staying motivated then it might be a good idea to get Class Pass, A monthly membership that gives you access to the largest network of fitness studios. Your monthly membership lets you create workout routines that work for you, whether thatʼs Bikram and barre or cycling and circuit training. It also allows you to create a schedule for your workouts, but you have to plan accordingly because you can only visit the same class/studio 3-4 times a month (varies by city).
I tried Class Pass for 3 months and really liked it. Whatever your appetite may be, taking classes consistently is a great way to get yourself in the groove of working out. Classes provide you with all the accountability you will need, because the more you go to class the more of a community you will build. It is also refreshing to meet people going through the same struggle as you. Class pass also give you a financial incentive to make the classes you sign up for by charging a penalty of $15 or $20 if you cancel or miss a class respectfully. The positives still outweigh the negatives depending on the price. Prices vary by the city but you can learn more at www.classpass.com.
A Few More Tips:
Cook more and eat better: The hardest part about working out is not seeing results. The reason you could not be seeing the results that you want is because even though you have gone to the gym regularly, you still haven’t changed what you put into your body. Fast food should be held to a minimum while you manage the daily amount of fat and calories you are consuming. Say no to sugar and alcohol; okay keep alcohol to a limit lol. And look for cook books or online recipes that allow you to switch up your eating habits while still enjoying food that you like.
A healthy lifestyle consist of 70% nutrition, 20% fitness, and 10% rest
Go to sleep: Are you getting the necessary amount of sleep your body needs? If not this could be a reason why you are seeing your results a lot slower than expected. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that an adult get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night for healthy living. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass.
Patience young grasshopper: Anything worth having doesn’t come overnight. Focus on the process and progress, the results will come.
You are beautiful however you see yourself, so when you workout it should be for you and no one else. Everyone has a reason why they do what they do, find your reason and let it fuel you. Let’s live a healthy lifestyle and that starts with taking care of your body.
From a fellow millennial going through a similar struggle -
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