Fitness—Expectations versus Reality
I quit! How many times have you thought that or said it aloud during your fitness journey?
There is a harsh wakeup call when starting one’s fitness journey, especially when you are bombarded with Instagram accounts that distort the reality of the process, effort and commitment level required to reach FIT goals. Not everything can be attained quickly and with fitness it shouldn’t if you’re actually serious about adopting a FIT lifestyle and having lasting results. Programs that advertise losing 10 pounds in 10 weeks are not sustainable, all you’re likely to lose is water weight and then run the risk of being discouraged and not reaping any health benefits; you could even do more harm than good to your body and mental health.
It’s easy to get caught-up in the idea that results can be archived quickly and with a limited time commitment and effort level; after all, we are living in a society where everything is made to be accessible and attainable through a few clicks. However, that doesn’t apply to fitness, where at its core it’s all about knowing your body, and working equally on your mind, body, and soul, meaning that you’re putting in the time to exercise, eat healthy, connect with yourself, and get enough rest.
In reality, work, relationships and financial issues are some factors that can be an obstacle in allowing you to take the time needed for your health and fitness. I get that, life gets in the way and there are days that feel overwhelming, but it’s also during those times when you should put time aside for health and fitness. Fitness is the route to go to when life gets in the way, you just have to get into the habit of adding it into your day and of thinking about what you eat. I started offering online classes so that workouts can be done from anywhere and you save time on commute without compromising on the quality of your workout because I make sure my clients are working to their full potential by offering progressively challenging routines and real-time corrections.
Although it might not feel like you have the time to do so, on average, per week, a person spends 40 hours at work, 56 hours sleeping, and 7 hours working out, which means that even accounting for one hour of exercise, you get 65 hours left in your week to spend how you choose. You might be thinking I never get that much sleep because life is messy and lots of time gets dedicated to caring for kids and loved ones, but what this time breakdown shows is that there is time in a week to care for yourself. It’s about managing the time you have. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very challenging, but when you get into the routine of regular exercise you will want to dedicate some time from your busy routines to it. Plus, the more you do it the more you’ll enjoy it and want to exercise and eat healthy. For me, eating healthy means following the 80% rule, I share healthy recipes with my clients and on social media (BFW.barrefitwarriors) but I’m aware that balance is key and it’s more realistic to aim for eating healthy 80% of the time (of what you consume).
Dedication is key to achieving your goals and so is remembering that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to exercise and diet. If you want to transform your physical and mental health, you’ll have to work freaking hard for it! That’s why you need exercise to be part of your routine so it’s not always a challenge to fit into your day. Also, it’s helpful to choose your role models wisely in the sense that your objective has to be realistic to your body type, age, and your commit to exercise and eating healthy. For example, if you can only commit to working out twice a week and use that workout to justify eating junk food then you would need to alter your expectations for change. It’s better to start small and realistically set milestones that you can attain to stay motivated until fitness becomes ingrained into your daily life.
Remember, you get out what you put in, so if you want to see results you have to also be willing to be patient, it does take time, and commit to a workout routine that you can maintain as well as a diet that fuels your body without being restrictive. For example, focus on portion control and a balanced diet, I personally love the Mediterranean diet—think veggies most, then protein, whole grains, fruits and fats; the quantity you need of each food group will change depending on your health status, age, and activity level.
Tips to get you through the challenges of reality and help you reach your expectations:
- Get support, whether it be a community, friends or loved ones, it makes a difference to have people cheering you on.
- Workout in the morning, that way your clear for the day, and you start your day with a win. It’s also a great time before things get too busy. If mornings aren’t for you maybe workout at lunchtime while everybody else is eating or in the evening—pick a time where you know you’ll be able to find yourself and work it.
- Establish a “why”. Knowing why you’re doing something will help you keep doing it when your motivation is low.
- Celebrate all wins.
At some point exercising and eating healthy goes beyond attaining a certain physic. It’s also about feeling good in your body, having energy, being strong and protecting your body—setting it up to age well and sustain the demands of daily life. You feel so much better mentally when you exercise consistently for a period of time. I’m not saying you need to be working out each day for hours but do move your body each day. I choose Barre Fitness because it is one of those exercise routines that I can do every day, get the health benefits, and feel great.