New Year – New Me

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Happy 2018!

The beauty of a new year is the fresh start that comes with it. All the bad decisions, negativity and drama of the previous year stays in 2017. Whether you believe in New Year’s resolutions or not, we cannot deny the new beginnings that are afforded with the start of a New Year.

One thing I’ve noticed is how easy it is for us to desire a different life from the one you were living last year, whether it is to make better financial decisions, to be more outgoing or to be more active. But as the year progresses all your ambitions seems like a lie which usually leads to you giving up on your dreams because as many would put it, it feels as if you won’t change anyway. All of a sudden it’s 2019 and your health and fitness or situation is far worse than what is at the beginning of 2018.

Like most goals you might have learned that it’s always easy to start, but intensely harder to stay committed until we achieve them. For example, after several trials and errors by the end of June 2017 I had mastered this thing called being committed to fitness and I would like to share my secrets with you. But before that, let me share a bit of the journey it took to get to this place.

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Like many of you, I got a gym membership at the end of December 2016 and by the 6th of January 2017 I officially started my gym journey and I was going to the gym at least three times a week. By March 2017 I was only going at least twice a month. Looking back, I realised that what slowed me down was that I didn’t know what to do exactly at the gym, as well as school and work were really hectic. May 2017 I noticed that whether I went to the gym or not, Virgin Active was still debiting their payments. So, June 2017 I decided to be really committed to the gym and since then I have not looked back. I did this by asking myself the following three short questions:

  1. What are my fitness goals?

  2. Why do I want to achieve these goals?

  3. What is my game plan?

What are my fitness goals?

I had to ask myself, Refentse do you want to gain or lose weight, do you want to gain muscle, or do you just want to be healthy and fit?

My answer was, I wanted to tone my body by building muscle and to be physically fit.

Action: Write your fitness goals on, stick on paper notes and place them in a convenient place such as a mirror in your room, your phone screensaver (If you use electronic notes), or office computer etc.

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Why do I want to achieve these goals?

It is important to know why you do what you're doing because in moments when the going gets tough and  you feel like giving up, that reason will keep you going.

My reasons for deciding not to give up on my fitness goals are that, I would like to participate in the Miss South Africa 2018 Pageant. But there are two categories which require me to be physically fit, which are the swimsuit section and all the physical activities we will be participating in  during the course of the competition. What also keeps be motivated to go to the gym is knowing that if I don’t exercise, there is a Naledi, Sarah, Karabo or Jessica, who will also be participating in  Miss South Africa 2018 pageant and I’m 100% sure that they are mostly probably working their butts off while I am lazing around.

Action: Get a journal that is dedicated to your fitness journey. Write out your reasons for wanting to achieve these goals and read them twice a day, for example in the morning right after waking up and at night just before you sleep.

What is my game plan?

How are you going to make your fitness dreams come true is as important as what motivates you. Which exercises are you planning on doing and which days are you going to schedule your workout sessions?

The mistake I made was just pitching up at the gym without knowing what I wanted to do on that day. So I decided that my gym days will be Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and each session will consist of 20 minutes cardio and 20 minutes weight training.

Action: In the fitness journal we talked about above, write a fitness program and after each workout session record the exercises that you were able to complete. At the beginning of the new week review your progress of the previous week. Then based on last weeks progress write out a new fitness program for the following week that includes any new  adjustments from the preceding week program. Do not forget to schedule your workout sessions on your calendar or daily planner.

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Now that you have your game plan, it's important to also have contingency plans for:

  • Moments when you do not feel like going to the gym.

  • Moments when you cannot work out on your scheduled gym days.

On days I don’t feel like going to the gym, I wake-up and just go. But as part of my contingency plan,  I workout in less time than I normally do. Working out for 20 minutes instead of the allocated 40 minutes is better than not working out at all. I also try to work out in a different location, for instance, I skip the gym by working out in nature.

And if you cannot go the gym on your specified gym days because of a valid reason, just reschedule that gym session for another day that was suppose be your rest day or just work out for longer on a different gym day.

After constantly working out for a month or two you might burn out or get exhausted. Therefore listen to your body and take a few days or a week off, but please get right back into your schedule after a consciously decided break. Honestly, it is ok to take a break so don’t feel guilty.

The main point is to remain accountable for the goals you decided for yourself.  Having a gym partner may also assist in staying accountable to your fitness goals.

Decide that you will not quit whether it takes you a month, 6 months or a year until you are able to achieve your fitness goals. “Keep doing it until you get it right”.

To follow more of my fitness journey preparing for Miss South Africa 2018 please follow my Instagram account @fensiface and my blog where the journey is documented in more detail at https://shewolfza.wordpress.com/