10 Lessons My Fitness Journey Has Taught Me

Embarking on my fitness journey was no easy task, but along the way, these lessons pushed me to power through. 

If you told me 4 or 5 years ago, that I’d be where I am right now, physically, I will never believe you. Moreover, if you ask me for fitness tips before, I wouldn’t have anything to reply to you. Back then, my naive self would think that getting my dream physique was not only difficult but downright impossible.

I was what you would call “skinny fat”; that state wherein you’re thin at parts and flabby in others. In more technical terms, I was not overweight and had an appearance of being skinny, however, I had a high percentage of fat and low muscle mass.

So there I was, living an unhealthy lifestyle with zero physical activity, aside from the heavy lifting involved in styling. Being surrounded by attractively fit people in my line of work only made me wish harder for the body that I want. Then one day, I just grew tired of my persistent dreaming and took the first step towards my goals. I signed up for the gym, and with a focused mindset, embarked on my fitness journey.

1. Hire A Professional

As with everything, my rule would be: if you can afford it, always hire a professional. If you want optimal results, this is the way to go, especially if you’re starting with zero knowledge. Not only does it save you time and effort, doing so also ensures your safety as well. Lifting weights in the gym can lead to injuries, so it’s best if you get proper guidance, at least from the start.

To say that my trainer, Culver Padilla of KPFitness was the catalyst of change would be an understatement. Since 2016 he has tirelessly watched over my progress, constantly challenging me with a customized workout plan. Having a personal trainer ensures you’re doing the proper form of the exercises, which is essential in maximizing the efficacy of the workout.

The best part about training with a professional is that you always have a source of motivation. This is especially pivotal when you’re extremely exhausted and have reached the point where you want to give up. A personal trainer will push you and remind you why you’re there. Culver constantly keeps my body and mind in check, as well as my lifestyle and diet outside the gym. All of which affect the success of my fitness journey.

2. Take A Before Photo

One of the best things Culver instructed me to do (and strictly, at that) was to take before photos of my body. He was adamant I do this before we started on our first ever workout. So reluctantly, I went and took front, side, and back photographs of my out of shape self.

It’s the greatest thing ever—seeing the images side by side with my current progress makes me appreciate the process more and more. Having this point of reference helps to track your progress and consequently keep you on track on your fitness journey.

3. Find A Workout That Works For You

There’s a saying that goes “The only workout that’s not effective is the one you did not do.” Any workout as long as done consistently over a period of time will yield results. With that said, you should find an exercise or physical activity that you can sustain or do diligently. Whatever it may be, it has to fit your lifestyle, schedule, and most importantly, budget.

4. Keep It Short And Sweet

The workout that works best for me is weight lifting. I do it religiously every day for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I squeeze in cardio twice to thrice a week, especially when I want to burn extra calories and fat. Currently, I’m doing indoor cycling at Club Cycling at The Upperdeck. Their dynamic and challenging classes never fails to give me a good burn in just 50 minutes.

A short workout allows me to squeeze it even in my busiest of schedules. Plus, research shows that an hour is the most effective in giving maximum results. Any longer results to poorer performance due to fatigue and in worst cases, burning muscles instead of fat.

5. Avoid Extreme And Fad Diets

In an effort to expedite the results of my workouts, I have tried various extreme diets. You’ve probably heard of a lot of these, and have read about their promises from testimonials. While these diets may yield an almost instantaneous result, it is often unhealthy. And like I’ve said earlier, sustainability is key. A diet that works is one that you can maintain. There’s a reason why these fad diets come and go, but a healthy lifestyle is here to stay.

Instead of removing carbs and sugar altogether, why not just try to lessen your intake. Depriving yourself or quitting cold turkey overnight often results in a bad relapse. This often takes you further from where you’ve started.

Striking a balance is key. I try as much as possible to avoid junk foods and increase protein intake, which I need for muscle building. When in doubt, I always recall what my trainer Culver asked me before: Eat yummy or be yummy?

6. Try Fasted Workouts

I used to believe that to properly start and finish a workout, one needs nourishment beforehand. Culver told me about working out fasted and how this is actually not only effective in burning fat, it also maximizes your use of energy.

How does fasted work out work? When you work out on an empty stomach, your body is put into ketosis—a metabolic state wherein the body utilizes fat as fuel instead of carbs. Believe me, we have a lot of stored fat to power our workouts. If you want to lose body fat, it’s the optimal way to do it.

Fasting isn’t a new concept; we are just more open to it now. When we are on fasting, the brain is more focused and more active.

7. Take Your Time

Your body is unique; each process of transformation is different for everyone. It was one year in my fitness journey when I finally started seeing changes, while others can easily take a few months. What’s important to remember is to never compare your progress with anyone. Getting inspired by others is one thing, comparing is another. It’s hard, I know, but avoiding so will do your mind good. If you really can’t help to compare, focus on your one and only competition: yourself. So take out that before photo of yours and compare away.

8. Never Workout With A Friend

This varies per person, of course, but throughout my experience and from what I see with others, working out with a friend tends to be problematic. More often than not, you grow reliant on each other. If the other won’t work out, the tendency is you’ll get into an unmotivated mindset and end up skipping the working out as well. I’ve been there before, tapping my friends to do a group work out until eventually none of us go at all.

Unless you and your friend are both equally motivated and, most importantly, independent, I would advise against having a workout buddy. Personally, it’s ideal to work out alone or with a trainer, as I’ve said. This makes sure that you are focused on yourself sans excuses and distraction—no idle chitchat that lengthen the break in between your sets. You are, after all, doing this for yourself and no one else.

9. Body Treatments Help—A Lot

No matter what you do, what food you omit, and what workout you try, there are problem areas that are too stubborn to go away. This is where body treatments and aesthetic services come in.

Most slimming technologies now are non-invasive and promise minimal to zero downtime. These treatments target specific areas, and with continued use, produce results.

I’ve tried Aivee’s Cristal Cryolipsis in tandem with their newest slimming treatment, Onda. Both promises and delivered permanent fat removal by destroying fat cells. Cristal Cryo crystallizes fat cells, starting a self-destruction process of the frozen fatty tissues, Onda accelerates the metabolism of fat cells, hastening the process of fat elimination. Onda treatment also stimulates the production of new collagen, ultimately helping in body shaping and contouring.

The result? I’ve bid farewell to my persistent lower belly fat and love handles. As effective as these treatments are, one shouldn’t rely on these alone and let go of their workout and diet. As Dra. Aivee says, at the end of the day, these treatments won’t yield results if not paired with a proper lifestyle change.

10. Take Baby Steps

If there’s one thing that really helped me keep my mindset throughout this whole journey, it’s this quote I read. “You’re never the same person every day—you’re either better or worse.” I can’t recall where I’ve seen it, but it stuck with me ever since.

This reminded me that the things you do every day affect you in the long run, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. That bag of potato chips or extra rice that you thought to be harmless will definitely affect you. Everything you put into your body either takes you a step closer or away from your goals. It’s a matter of making better choices in aspects of our day-to-day life. Little by little, you will see that the small strides you took tantamount to a huge payoff in the end.

Keep at it and never, ever stop—little progress is progress and it’s better than nothing at all. In the end, as Culver always says, when you make your goal to be disciplined, being fit will eventually follow.

Who you want to be is ultimately up to you. So, do you choose to be better or worse?

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