health

'I've been working out daily for two months. And I've noticed some serious changes.'

I never thought I’d write this down someday. Me, working out? With consistency and pleasure on top of that? Nah, no way. 

And yet. It’s been six months since I started working out again.

I’m a 22-year-old woman. I’ve always been pretty active. In my childhood and adolescence, not a year went by without me joining a sports club.

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Then I moved to Paris, and I quit. Mainly because everything was very expensive. I missed it. I realised that sport was a way out and a way not to gain (too much) weight.

But every time I decided to work out a bit at home, to sign up for the gym, or to go running, I took no pleasure in it. It was a constraint. Even a burden on my day. After a few weeks, I’d give up.

Last October, I felt like starting over.

I believe that for the first time, it was a conscious step, motivated by a quest for myself. I knew why I wanted to work out. And I also knew what I had to do, and not do, so I wouldn’t give up after a few sessions.

If I have to get out of the house to work out, it demotivates me. If it’s too hard, I give up. If someone doesn’t tell me what to do, I get bored.

Slowly but steadily

I decided to train on my mat, in my tiny apartment, 15 minutes two or three times a week, late in the afternoon, following the instructions of an app (Nike Fitness & Fitify, for those interested). It met all my criteria.

Surprisingly, it worked. I found myself enjoying it, and saw the motivation come on its own as soon as I put music on. I held onto it until February.

At this point, I felt that I had toned up a bit, but nothing extraordinary. I also felt better, more energised, and fit. I didn’t notice any real visible change on my body.

Then, quarantine began.

I was on the verge of hyperactivity. Before lockdown, I could barely spend a day at home. I needed my daily dose of moving and walking.

Suddenly, I couldn’t anymore. More than a simple well-being resolution, sport became a need.

That’s when things got serious

“I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don’t.” — Neila Rey

For the first two days, I did nothing.

Gradually, however, I felt the negative energy rising within me. On the third day, I put on my sportswear, I found a rug at my parents’ house where I was in lockdown, and I launched my app with loud music.

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It’s done me a world of good.

I did it again the next day. And the day after that. I felt the need to. That’s when I started feeling the well-being that sport provided me. My sessions got longer and longer, before reaching 40 to 45 minutes.

I rotate between three sessions. Each starts with a five-minute warm-up. I only use my body weight, except for a few bottles of water for occasional arm movements. My three sessions are:

  • 20 minutes HIIT + 20 minutes back work
  •  20 minutes arm work + 20 minutes abs
  •  25 minutes of a personalised program that I created to work the hips and lower back + 15 minutes cardio

I sometimes add 10 minutes of cardio at the end of the first two sessions as well.

Now, I’ve been working out every day for two months. I try to force myself to observe one day off a week so that my body can recover. But I feel like I’m missing something.

I’ve discovered the power of consistency.

I saw my body change.

I don’t even need to find motivation anymore. It comes from within. I know I’m going to enjoy these 40 minutes. I know I’m going to feel incredibly good afterwards. That it’s going to pay off. And that, more than anything else, I need this session.

Am I careful with what I eat? Yes. I try not to overeat. But I don’t deprive myself either. I eat normally. More obvious results could appear if I paid even more attention to what I was eating. But I don’t feel the need to.

I spent quarantine at my parents’. I might as well tell you that I eat more here than at home. Especially when my mum almost bakes one cake a day. In the evening, I also often share a beer with my dad while cooking dinner.

An assessment after two months: I feel way better about my body

I used to see mostly what I didn’t like about myself. Now, I am more satisfied with what I see. I’ve dropped a kilo.

The muscles in my whole body are much more defined. I’ve even discovered muscles I didn’t know I had. My arms and legs are toned, my abs are more visible. Muscles in my lower back have appeared.

My whole body is firmer. I have more energy.

I’ve made progress

The exercises that I had trouble finishing at first are now my warm-up. I’m way more resistant to the effort, both in my body and in my mind.

Mentally speaking, I feel calmer. Working-out really helps me to evacuate negative energy. I’m also more focused when I work.

The benefits are total.

Motivation is necessary to start your journey. But when you feel the wellbeing it brings you, momentum is created, and it takes more motivation to stop than to keep going.

Will I continue to train every day? Probably yes, at least until quarantine ends. Then I’ll see. But I know I’ll keep at least four sessions a week.

Sport has become an integral part of my life. It’s no longer a constraint.

And I’m happy about that.

This article originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission. 

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