Top 10 Mistakes I Made On My Fitness Journey: How I Overcame Them And Stay Motivated

It can be intimidating to start a fitness journey. There are many resources available online and this can be very overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start.

When I first started I wanted to try every exercise that I saw online, and thought that if I did all these workouts I would suddenly look like a fitness model. However, I quickly learned that my body was not going to change overnight.

My excitement quickly turned to frustration and disappointment. I had moments when I just wanted to give up. Even though I didn’t start this journey for my body to look a certain way, I did want to see some evidence of transformation.

So I thought I would take the time to talk about things that have helped me deal with obstacles in my journey and stay motivated.

1. Work out with a friend or loved one. It is great if you can start your journey with someone who is also motivated to change his/her lifestyle. I started my fitness journey alone and it was quite lonely. Yes, ultimately you should be doing this for yourself, but a support system can be a lifesaver. There will be times when you feel discouraged or unmotivated, but having someone to talk to or be honest with can take a huge weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to isolate yourself on this journey.

2. Take one day at a time. I try my best to take one day at a time. I want to appreciate each day as much as I can. I don’t want to worry about tomorrow because it takes away from today. I do my best while I’m at the gym and try to make good food choices one meal at a time. I won’t always be perfect, but it is a lot less overwhelming if I deal with the day at hand. I meal plan to help me stay on track, but I don’t obsess about the months ahead because it just makes me anxious.

3. You won’t always love to workout and that is ok. There will be ups and downs in your motivation. I have the tendency to blame myself when I’m not as excited about working out as “I should be”. But I now know it isn’t realistic to always be excited about the gym. I won’t always be excited. I will have days that I don’t want to be in the gym. If it is because my body is not feeling well, I will listen and not go. There are even days when I’m mentally not there and will take time off the gym and relax. I may just need a day of walking outside with my husband or a good yoga session. You don’t have to be in the gym 24/7.

4. Your body won’t change overnight. I made the mistake of thinking that if I workout daily and closely monitor my macros that my body would transform overnight. I would be leaner. I would have smaller measurements. I thought I would be so surprised by the transformation that I wouldn’t even recognize myself. Not true at all. This is not what happens at all. I have let go of having expectations about what my body will look like and now focus on healthy eating and consistent exercise.

5. Don’t compare yourself to fitness models. This journey is about you. It is more than just your physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to see changes in your body. To see the fruits of your labor result in a physical transformation, but you shouldn’t be comparing yourself to fitness models online. There are a lot of variables that contribute to your physical appearance. Don’t obsess about what your body looks like and enjoy the process.

6. Change up your workout routine. Try to find new routines online, but don’t do all of them at once. Start with a few your interested in and keep a rotation of new exercises to keep things fresh. Ultimately, you want to keep it interesting at the gym. You don’t want to get bored. This is a sure fire way to become unmotivated. I’m a creature of habit and for a long time I was doing the same thing at the gym day after day. I started to get bored and realized with new workouts that my interest was reignited.

7. Count calories and macros. I got lazy keeping track of what I was eating. I thought as long as I was “close enough” to what I should be eating that I didn’t need to keep track. Once I started documenting again I found that I was eating more than I realized and this was likely contributing to why I had plateaued. I don’t obsess about calories, but I pay attention to them. Make small simple adjustments at a time and not radical changes in your diet. This will be more sustainable in the long run.

8. Keep reading. I learn something new the more I read about nutrition and exercise. You can never know too much. I like learning about my body and how best to care for it. I stopped reading and I lost enthusiasm about my journey. Staying educated keeps me engaged in my new lifestyle.

9. Stay comfortable at the gym. Make sure you have comfortable clothes, shoes, and gym equipment. You don’t want to be uncomfortable while working out. I didn’t realize how important it was for me to be comfortable. Not only do I enjoy my time in the gym more, but it helps prevent injury. You don’t want to be running in bad shoes or stretching without a comfortable yoga mat for your back.

10. Love yourself where you are right now. I have come to accept where I am right now. I know that I’m not perfect and still learning, but I have come a long way and hope to continue to have progress.

 

Skincare After The Gym (Cleansers For Oily Sensitive Skin)

When I started my fitness journey I didn’t realize that I would need to rearrange other things in my life, one of which was my skincare routine.

I am someone who needs to wash my face immediately after a workout. I don’t like sweat to sit on my face. I find that it can irritate my face after awhile as I have relatively sensitive oily skin. Once the sweat dries it causes my skin to feel very tight and dry. My skin tends to look better if I wash it after my workout.

If you’re like me and workout in the morning before work then you probably prefer to take a shower before heading to work, which will make fitting in a skincare routine easy. Even if you are not a person that showers immediately after a workout, I would at least recommend washing your face. If nothing else, it is very refreshing and keeps your skin clear. Make sure to wash your hands immediately after your workout. You don’t want to transfer what you touch in the gym all over your face.

Personally what I have noticed is that as I have been working out more frequently, I have had a lot more breakouts on my skin. This has led me on the hunt to find the best facial cleansers for my skin. I have found a few that work well for me and I hope you find them helpful as well.

Cleansers

Tatcha Deep Cleanser

$38 (5 fl oz.)

This is a cleanser that has a gel like consistency with a slight fragrence. It is said to be oil free and made with the Japanese luffa fruit that helps to purify and decongest pores. There is also Japanese leopard lily that helps to minimize excess oil.

Let me tell you, I was completely surprised by this cleanser. I definitely thought it was overpriced and that there would be no way that this would work for me, but I have been overjoyed with the results.

My skin has really gotten a lot smoother with this product. I love using it after my workouts. It immediately gets the sweat off my face and really seems to give me a deep cleanse without being too harsh. I even love the slightly fruity smell and texture from the fruit in the cleanser. It is refreshing and exfoliates my skin at the same time. Yes, it is expensive, but well worth it for oily sensitive skin. I have not been disappointed.

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap – Oily Skin Formula

$18.50 (6.7 fl oz)

This has been a great staple daily facial cleanser. It is very mild for my skin, which has been great as a daily cleanser. I have very sensitive skin and helps to get  my face clean at the end of the day without being too drying. It doesn’t leave a film on my face or cause me to breakout further. I actually use the Clinique 3 step kit. This includes the toner and a moisturizer and the kit works well for me.

Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Facial Cleanser, Pink Grapefruit

$7.97 (9.1 fl oz)

I just started using this over the last week and I found that initially it helped with my breakouts, but made the rest of my skin very irritated. I noticed the most bumps around my chin and cheeks. This happened only after two uses.

I think the salicylic acid really gets my skin clean, but because of the acid my sensitive skin gets bumpy and textured.

I am not surprised by this reaction because I have had this happen with other products with acids in them. I may need to keep looking around because this doesn’t seem to be the product for me. Quite a disappointment because it is so reasonably priced. I may still be able to use this product when I have a serious breakouts, but likely will not be a staple product for me.

Masks

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores

$17.50 (1.7 fl oz), $28.00 (3.4 fl oz)

This has been a great mask to use once a week to get a deep clean. Initially, I had noticed a huge difference the next day in the brightness of my skin, but I have not seen as much of a difference lately.

I’m wondering if I should rotate my masks more often. Sometimes I think my skin needs more variety in my skin regimen. I haven’t given up on this mask, but not sure if I will be repurchasing just yet.

If you have trouble with clogged pores and need a deep clean, I actually think this is a good option for masks. Plus it’s not terribly expensive.

Origins Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

$17.50 (1.7 fl oz), $28.00 (3.4 fl oz)

I had high hopes for this clay mask as I had read many reviews that raved about this mask. But it just has not been what I had hoped for. Something I have struggled with for a long time has been texture on my skin. I have never had porcelain skin and had been looking for a product to help with this.

This mask unfortunately seems to make me breakout the next day mostly on my forehead and chin. I still try to use the mask about once per week because it may have some minimal effect on my cheeks. Plus I hate wasting products if I can avoid it.

Lush Cupcake Fresh Face Mask

$9.95 (2.1 fl oz)

Lush markets it’s products as handmade cosmetics with predominantly natural products. This mask contains rhassoul mud and cocoa powder as it’s main ingredients for a deep cleanse.

I remain fairly happy with this mask. It gets my skin fairly clean and I like to use it once a week to really get in my pores. It has a similar role in my mask routine as the active charcoal mask.

One con to this mask is that it can be difficult to apply. It is pretty thick and when it comes out of the refrigerator can make it that more difficult to spread on my skin. One thing I could try would be to let it warm up a little before applying to my face.

Lush Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask

$9.95 (2.1 fl oz)

This mask contains tea tree and garlic. I love tea tree for my scalp. It helps to heal my scalp and keep it clean. I have been hoping for the same results in a face mask. This mask is specifically formulated for people with troubled skin. The egg whites are for moisturizing the skin and garlic and tea tree to cleanse.

I am not sure if I notice much of a difference with this mask. Maybe I need to give it more time as it is the newest addition to my skincare regimen.

I would love to hear if there are any skin products that have worked well for you.

How To Be More Efficient With Your Gym Time

I love being in the gym for hours but that is not an option for me with my busy schedule. I have had to figure out what ways to be more efficient in the gym.

The first thing I did was change my cardio from steady state to HIIT (high intensity interval training). I thought HIIT was just a fad in fitness, but the more I read about it the more convinced I became of it’s abilities to help me burn fat and maintain some cardiovascular conditioning. No I probably won’t be able to run a marathon anytime soon with this type of training, but I’m definitely getting my heart rate up.

My favorite HIIT is on the treadmill. I’m able to still get the joy of running while doing it in a shorter period of time. I set the treadmill to speed intervals. I’m not able to jump off and on the treadmill like some of these fitness gurus online. I will mix in stationary bike a few days a week when I need to switch up my cardio. I have been getting some knee pain so I don’t run as often as I do.

As for my weight training, I have had a little more difficulty in being as efficient as possible. My problem at the beginning of my fitness journey was that I wanted to work all my muscles groups everyday I went to the gym. This was bad for several reasons. Daily Overuse Of All My Muscles In The Gym Led To Injuries (Why I Make A Workout Schedule Now).

So now I target upper body or lower body for the day. Oh, can’t forget the abs too. I have found 5 abs exercises that I really like at this point. I can discuss that in another post if you’re interested. I do about 2 sets of 20 reps for each ab movement.

As for my upper and lower body days I am still in the trial and error stage. I have figured out some things that work better for me. For one, I think I am one who favors lower weight and higher reps since I want to tone rather than bulk, but this can take more time which goes against my efficiency plan.

To combat the time sink that high reps can lead to I am focusing on exercises that are not repetitive. I don’t need two different types of exercises to work my hamstrings, if I can just pick one. I think my goal is 5 exercise moves for my upper body day and my lower body day. I will try to rotate these exercises each week. Once I have routines down I can share them with you.

My hope is to be able to get my morning workout down to about 45 mins. That still may sound kind of long, but I think this will give me enough time for stretching and workout.

I Lost The Most Weight When I Reduced Stress In My Life And Enjoyed The Journey

This last year has been the least stressful year I have had in my adult life. My career slowed down enough that I could take time to reflect on my overall mental and physical health. This year gave me a chance to start my wellness journey with complete focus and determination that I never had before.

The first thing I did was start with my mental health because I knew it was not where I wanted it to be. I felt burnout and stressed all the time. I felt like I had no direction and didn’t know what I wanted out of life. So I made it a priority to reflect and meditate because I knew that I couldn’t keep going the way I was.

I spent a lot of time reading books and talking with family and friends. I slowly started to feel better about where my mind was and felt rejuvenated. This gave me an opportunity to transition into caring for my physical health.

An important component to my physical health was to reduce my weight and to eat more nutritious foods. So many years had gone by that I was eating nothing but junk that I gained weight and felt tired all the time. I knew if I wanted to see a change in my physical health that I would need to change both my diet and my workout routine.

I had a good feeling that I could keep up with the fitness component of my wellness journey because even during stressful times in my life I stayed fairly active. I find exercise to be very helpful in dealing with emotions and stress. I have talked about this in another post. Exercise Helped Me With Stress: What Can It Do For You? My workout routine still needed to be adjusted and I needed to add weight training, but this seemed very doable. By far the more difficult part of this journey has been changing my nutrition.

Changing what I eat seemed very daunting so I started slowly, I looked up recipes, read articles, and watched videos. I incorporated one new dish each week. I didn’t want to do a complete overhaul because I had tried this before and it always led to me going back to old habits as soon as I got frustrated. I wanted this time to be different. I wanted this to be sustainable.

Little did I know that the work I had done on my mental health would be a key component in my physical health. To be honest, this year had been the first time that I took time to work on my mental health before starting to change my diet.

A side effect that I didn’t expect with working on my mental wellbeing was more sustainable weight loss. I never realized how much impact stress had on my nutrition and weight. I had read about the impact of stress on various hormones in my body, including ghrelin “hunger hormone” and cortisol “stress hormone”, both of which are said to go up with increased stress. To be honest, I didn’t really believe stress could make a difference in my waistline. Now I must say that I am a believer.

Don’t get me wrong, I have changed my diet and I’m more consistently exercising this year. Decrease in stress has helped me control my binge eating and eating unhealthy processed foods. I didn’t realize how much my mood and stress level influenced my food choices. I would eat things that made me feel good to make up for the amount of stress I had in the day. I also waited so long to eat because I was so busy that by the time I would eat I would lose self control and binge eat.

I really believe a clear mind and mental wellbeing have led to an overall improvement in my health. I am able to focus on the things that are important to me and prioritize them. I don’t let my emotions control my actions. I have a better handle on understanding that “this too shall pass” and I continue moving forward. I have a tendency to ruminate and wallow when I am stressed or emotionally out of balance. Now that I take time to reflect, I can remain grateful for all that I have in the moment and love those around me with an open heart.

This has been an incredible year for me and I hope that I can take what I have learned and continue to incorporate into my life forever.

It’s strange, but I feel like I was living in darkness for a long time and didn’t realize how many colors, sounds, and smells there were. This journey has been about so much more than just my weight, but it’s been great to see the impact it’s had on my overall wellbeing.

You Don’t Have To Eat Unhealthy Just Because Your Friends/Family Are

For a long time I have felt pressure to eat like everyone else around me. I felt guilty if I didn’t eat like my family or friends. I didn’t want people to think I was judging them because of what they ate or that I was somehow “better” because I didn’t want to eat the same foods. I felt like people were most self conscious about what they were eating if I wasn’t partaking in the same meal. All I wanted was just to fit in and not standout. Also, I wanted to go out to restaurants with my friends, but I felt awkward asking for a restaurant that had foods I could eat.

During this time in my life, I definitely would classify my unhealthy meals as mindless meals. I qualified them by saying, “oh it’s ok, just this one time” or “everyone is eating like this so it must not be that bad”. In some warped way it was like a “community” guilt and not nearly as bad.

I had to stop giving myself excuses though. My lifestyle is not about deprivation, but about mindful eating. I really do love the taste of food, but I can’t just eat calorie dense food without thinking about what it’s doing to my body. This might sound crazy, but I feel like when I eat unhealthy it’s almost like I’m betraying my body.

As I got older I realized that the people who love you will support you in your journey. You shouldn’t feel guilty for want to eat nutritious foods. You should be eating for yourself and no one else. If you want to enjoy a meal with someone you love on a special occasion that is reasonable, but your mind and body are yours. You are free to make your own decisions about what to fuel your body with.

The further along I got on my lifestyle journey the more self confidence I gained to say no to others.

If your loved ones have a hard time supporting you or want you to eat like them you can politely tell them you have chosen a different lifestyle. Sometimes it may take not eating meals with them if it becomes a huge source of contention. Ultimately this is your health. Don’t compromise it for others.

Daily Overuse Of All My Muscles In The Gym Led To Injuries (Why I Make A Workout Schedule Now)

When I first started my fitness journey I spent all my time doing cardio, but as I learned more about weight training I it would be a good idea to incorporate it into my gym routine.

I was excited about all the possibilities in the world of lifting. I could only imagine how much strength I could gain from weight training. I was also hoping to help prevent further injuries from running by increasing my core, back, and leg strength.

I spent hours reading about weight lifting and watching videos online. I couldn’t believe that I had neglected this part of my fitness routine for so long. I had never walked over to the weight section all these years that I had been going to the gym.

However, I think I was a little too eager and jumped into things too fast. I literally wanted to replicate every single movement I had watched others do online. So instead of picking body parts to work on each day, I decided to do what I called “total body” training. I was going to work on every single muscle group everyday so that I would get a “balanced” definition to all my muscles and not neglect any of them.

As you’re probably not surprised to hear, this did not work out for me. I ended up overusing all my muscles and each day got progressively more painful in the gym. I would discover new aches and pains as the days progressed and I could not understand why.

My eagerness to have a toned body led me to overdoing it in the gym. I did not listen to my body and each day I would set myself further back. First I noticed pain in my knees, then my legs, then my back,  then my elbows, and every other body part. You can see where I’m going with this. I was doing my body no good. What I initially thought was soreness from the gym was pain from overuse and poor form.

Now I understand why people don’t train every muscle group everyday. Muscles need time to repair themselves and you need to give them a chance to do this. So no more “total body” training. I now isolate a group of muscles I want to work on each day along with cardio. I take time to make sure that my form is good while doing the movements. I don’t need to work on every muscle group at once, nor should I. This is a lifestyle change that will take time. It is a marathon and not a sprint.

It does me no good to hurt myself early on and prevent any further progress later on. Makes more sense to exercise safely so that I can have longevity in this lifestyle change I am trying to make.

Waking Up Early In The Morning Helped My Fitness Journey

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing to do is wake up.” -J.M. Power

I’m by no means an early bird. I’m definitely a night owl. This has had to change since I married a man who is no question an early bird. He can’t sleep past 6:30am no matter what he does. In my past life It was unheard of for me to ever wake up before 8am on the weekend and I would wake up as late as possible during the week to make it to work on time.

But my life has changed and this is no longer an option. I’m a very light sleeper and as soon as my husband’s up so am I. So I had to figure out what to do with this extra time in the morning. I decided to use it for fitness. I would go to the gym first thing the morning.

This morning routine has really helped me stay on track with my wellness journey. I never knew how productive these early morning hours could be. So now I like to use these hours for my workout and post workout routine. My Post Workout Routine (Top 5 Favorites). I get to use the quiet time in the gym as a way to clear my mind before the day starts. It’s just my mind and my body. What better way for me to get in some meditation time? Plus I make sure that selfcare is at the top of my To-Do list and not the bottom.

Now I don’t have to fight for time at the end of the day to fit in exercise. Plus I feel energetic from exercise and this helps with the rest of the day. When I used to work out at the end of the day there was a 50-50 chance as to whether I would make it to the gym. There were many times at the end of the day where I would feel too exhausted and would find excuses not to go to the gym. Or I would get caught up at work and not make it back in time to go to the gym. Now none of these things happen with my morning workout routine.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still days I don’t enjoy going to the gym but since I’m a creature of habit I will stick to a schedule once I figure out that it works for me. So looks like I may like mornings after all.

I’m still a grouch in the morning, but at least I get to do something I love with the time.