fitness

"7 things I've learned since I started investing in my health."

Image: supplied.

About six months ago, the social basketball team I was playing in stopped, not long after, I decided to cancel my gym membership.

For three months, I did little to no exercise while my eating habits stayed exactly the same. The consequences of this slowly crept up on me – I felt sluggish, tired and my clothes felt tighter. Something had to give.

It’s now been three months since I started High Intensity Impact Training (HIIT) bootcamp. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve learnt some important things along the way.

1. The first session will be hard.

It sounds obvious, but it will be 10 times worse than you expect. I was the slowest of the group (despite being one of the youngest) and I had to stop halfway through to throw up. It took two days before I could walk properly again. But despite wanting (badly) to give up, I went back. Each time it got that little bit easier. And the feeling after completing a particularly hard workout got addictive.

2. Results won’t happen overnight.

You’re not going to wake up the day after your first workout with a six pack. Like your fitness levels, changes to your body (if that’s your goal) will take time to notice. I actually found I put on weight in the first few weeks – mainly because I was actually building muscle from exercising.

RELATED: How long does it really take to get “out of shape”?

3. You don’t have to give up everything you love

Being healthy doesn’t mean having to quit sugar or carbs or gluten. I have a big sweet tooth and was having something sugary after almost every meal because I wasn’t feeling satisfied. Now, I still have something sweet at least every other day – but I choose something that I know I’ll really enjoy rather than eating it for the sake of it. (Post continues after gallery.)

4. Don’t feel like you have to do it alone.

Like most people, I’ve had these motivational bursts before and they’ve very quickly petered out. The reason this time is different? I’ve learnt that I’m not very good at doing it by myself. If it’s purely up to me to motivate myself, I’ll give up very easily – which is why the gym didn’t work for me.

With bootcamp, someone else plans out the exercises and tells me what to do, and as I do it with friends they hold me accountable to turning up each time.

RELATED: “4 reasons why hiring a personal trainer is the best fitness decision I’ve ever made.”

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5. The most important thing is how you feel.

Truly. How you feel about yourself mentally is so, so much more important than the numbers on any scale. Endorphins after exercising always make you feel good – no matter how early in the morning it is! – but the most positive change I noticed was how good it was to actually be doing something for myself.

Image: supplied.

6. It's ok to miss a session and indulge once in a while.

As long as it doesn't become a habit. Some mornings if I've got a huge day ahead of me, I know that that extra hour of sleep will do me more good in the short term than one workout. It's all about moderation.

RELATED: 4 ways to squeeze exercise into your life when you just “don’t have time”

7. Everyone is different.

What works for someone else might not work for you - and that's ok. In the past I've tried getting a personal trainer which some people swear by, but it didn't suit me. If something doesn't work, it doesn't mean you have to stop or give up - just try something else.

What do you do to keep healthy?