Fitness – a friend or foe? 


Four years ago, I was at my peak – physically it was brilliant! I really enjoyed going to the gym, running & lifting (weights that is), and I even managed to complete two Tough Mudder‘s & I loved it!

Fitness and I were not love at first run……. it all started when I got an office job. I quickly gained weight and I wasn’t in a position to replace all my clothes. Luckily the organisation I worked for offered really good gym memberships and we were able to go to the gym during our lunch hour. As a single mum this offered me a great opportunity. I could never go to the gym after work as I did not have a network nearby and of course I wanted to spend time with my daughter. Sadly, very soon I realised that my biggest motivation was not the fact that my clothes were getting tighter but the super-hot gym manager. Seriously just being able to look at his great physique and blue eyes was enough for me to get my growing ass to the gym EVERY lunch hour!!! Obviously, I got past looking at him (I was never going to consider approaching him!) and I started to really train!

Training and healthy living became one of my joys and priorities between 2013 – 2016. However, I need to be honest – the initial stage is so tough and initially I hated working out. There are plenty of other options for you to get fit if the idea of working out fills you with dread. Take tennis for example, it’s a fun way to get some exercise and enjoy yourself, especially if you can find tennis partners in your area to play with! If you’re like me though and want to work out to get fit, it is hard to get started. I’d never had to do it before, results were slow and I was reluctant to listen to those that knew better and change certain habits such as eating a bar of chocolate a day!! BUT if you stick to it the physical, aesthetic and mental rewards are fantastic! I slept like a baby every night, my skin was clear, the weight fell off but most importantly my mind was clear and when I returned to work I felt fresh and I loved how I looked!

Without realising it fitness was my first step towards changing my mentality and looking outside the box! Of course, there were other influences but that is for another blog post hahaha!! I ended up easily running 5k’s, loving burpees (I know, I must have got the bug bad!) and feeling physically great. Then a bump in the road, In 2014 I started a full-time degree, whilst working 30 hours a week and being a single mum…. Fitness slowly started to take a backseat.

With my routine and commitments changing I was unable to prioritise fitness/working out. Don’t get me wrong I still worked-out/trained at least once a week and walked as much as possible and despite eating healthy (ish) as I’m not a fast-food type of person, I gained weight. I have a slow metabolism and only have to look at cakes for weight gain to creep up on me. In addition, having to stay up late at night to study I was often drinking coffee and eating something to keep my energy levels up (mainly biscuits or chocolate). The pressure also led to some stress, all which contributed to really bad fitness levels and weight gain. I have to emphasise that the weight gain is not huge [but] and it does bother me but what bothers me the most is my big decline in fitness.

So, it brings me to the second part of my argument – is fitness a foe? Can it work against you? It takes an awful lot of work, effort, dedication and change to get to a point where you see results, consistency is key to making sure that you sustain your “gains” but as soon as the intensity goes down so [does] do your gains and the feel-good factor. I personally find that when you start to really focus on your fitness, you somehow compromise on other parts of your life such as nights out[s] and carefree eating habits. [After] Three years of working my ass-off (in a different way) has resulted in a huge fitness decline for me and right now, I am struggling to get motivated despite not feeling great about myself. I know how long results can take but I’m struggling to find a balance between family, work, socialising and fitness.

Now my goal is to incorporate a sustainable training routine that will help me feel physically fit and help me with my body confidence. [although,] I should clarify, while I don’t have major confidence issues [but] I don’t feel my best and that is because I know how it feels when you are at your best!

Here is my current state: I’m currently working out three times a week, intensity is moderate to medium and not really watching what I eat (by this I mean I eat healthy but I don’t deprive myself of anything, e.g. desserts, wines or rice!

Stay tuned for regular fitness updates!

Julie x

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