My Fitness Story

Listen up ladies, I’m about to speak some truth. A healthy lifestyle is not something you’re born with, nor something easy to get the hang of. Health is a journey. One you can very easily get lost on along the way, but one you can always get back on track with as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons. Now, I’m going to be honest with you here because that’s key when it comes to your fitness. I was never in any of the sports teams at school and I would always try to wangle my way out of having to play hockey - those long socks in the pouring rain, my worst nightmare. I was never competitive and the thought of being watched playing sport used to give me butterflies - the bad ones. It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I started to get into exercise, but not in the right way. I was immature and naive, and I thought being skinny was the be all and end all.
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Obsessing over VS Angels and having a ‘thigh gap’ seemed to be all that mattered. Whereas now, I know that no one actually cares. What you should care about is laughing, loving and being present. Not really knowing what I was doing back then, I tried to get myself ‘into shape’ for Prom, but I took things to an extreme. Can you really be defined by ‘a shape?’ I was cutting ALL carbs out of my diet, going on long runs daily and doing endless crunches - soon my body started to suffer. I had no energy, bad skin, I felt tired 24/7 and I couldn’t concentrate in lessons.
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It got to the point where I was cancelling seeing friends for dinner, because I was controlling what I was eating too much. Now, who in their right mind would turn down a pizza with your girls?! The worse thing was that I didn’t get my period for a whole year and if I’m totally honest with you, like I said I would be, its taken about 3 years for it to get back to being full flowing and regular each month.
Long story short, control led to restriction, which soon made my body sad. The period thing is what scared me the most and it really put my future into perspective, because being a mum is one of my ultimate dreams. I didn’t want to jeopardize that just so I could look ‘skinny’ at Prom. I’ve now learnt that ‘skinny’ isn’t even something to aim for. Being strong is. After starving my body from what it needed, I began to nourish myself again and with this I was able to push myself when I worked out. I used to feel like I simply had to workout, but now I actually want to.
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Going to my first spin class with my mum was when I had my first ‘workout bombshell’ (my term for an exercise realization.) Speeding along to Ariana Grande’s Right There I felt that working out could actually be fun if I wanted it to be. As a person who’s never really been competitive, exercising by myself and for myself became a form of release for me. Not having to compare myself to anyone else meant I could just focus on me. From that point onwards, I began to zone unto my potential, but it wasn’t until I was about 20 that I realized I enjoyed pushing myself and watching myself improve at my own pace was so satisfying.
I really began to feel like I was achieving something, as opposed to losing something. The main this here though is not to forget that you need energy to feel this satisfaction properly. Fuelling your body with the good stuff (and the odd chocolate bar or tub of ice cream, yes, tub) doesn’t only feed you energy, but it also feeds your soul. Having a healthy relationship with food is the most beautiful thing, because the mental and physical effects work like clockwork to make you achieve the best that you can. When it comes to working out, be mindful to switch it up. It’s then that you’ll notice a difference.
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So below are some of my top tips…
  1. Start slow. Every workout you do is better than skipping one, no matter how slow you take it on some days. Just getting moving is something your body will seriously thank you for.
  1. Be confident. Gyms can be one of the most intimidating places to walk into, especially when you’re new to it. Make sure to wear your favourite leggings and work on your gym hair. My go-to is bossing those braids. Oh, also, seriously forget the make up – let your skin breathe. And, don’t be scared of the weights section.
  1. Stretch. This is the most important part of exercising. Sometimes in a workout session, all I’ll do is stretch and damn does it feel good. You’ll avoid hurting yourself and your body will flex further than before.
  1. Get outside. Gymming is not the be all and end all when it comes to working out. You can take your sexiest gym kit into the park or up a mountain. Exhale all that fresh air and give yourself some time to reflect.
  1. Listen to your body. If you wake up one morning and feel like you just want an extra hour in bed, then take that extra hour in bed. Rest days are equally as important as workout days.
Sometimes I find after a period of recovery, you perform even better the next time you work out and you easily push yourself that little bit further than you did before.
Written by Poppy Malby 
Sofia Bonsor

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