Disclaimer: I am not a fitness expert or a nutrition expert. This blog post is only based on my personal experience during my 1-year strength training. Don’t take these advises seriously. What worked for me, may not work for you.
Today, I celebrated my First year anniversary on my weight lifting journey. I took the challenge back in January 2020 without any idea that the world will experience a Pandemic. I enrolled at an old community gym where my dad and his coworkers are going.
This was not my first time in the gym. My first gym experience was in 2009, after college graduation. I went to the same gym but felt demotivated and insecure because I was a skinny, small and shy kid. Although my dad was there to help me with the exercises, going there was kind of a drag.
A few years after, I went to a different gym and hired a trainer. Unfortunately, it was a hit-anywhere strike-anywhere workout program. The trainer did not explain why I am doing the exercises. No assessment, no monitoring of my weight. I left they gym with another skinny physique and no knowledge whatsoever on the techniques.
In 2018 I enrolled at a fancy gym. But it was just fancy and another strike anywhere workout program. It was a lost investment. I am blaming myself for not researching and putting extra effort on my workouts. Again, I left that gym with an empty pocket and a body goal I did not get.
That’s when I tried yoga. I like Yoga because it taught me about spirituality and fitness at the same time. I did become a little flexible than before. I did become strong. During the start of 2020, I integrated it with weight lifitng. Unfortunately, pandemic hit fitness centers, forcing our yoga studio to do the sessions online. I don’t like online classes.
When gyms around the world shut down, a nearby gym opened their doors for us ,exclusively. I was very lucky that they allowed us to have our workout there during the lockdown. I swear, I partly owe them my sanity during that strict lockdown. I learned a lot on my own without a presence of a trainer, thanks to Youtube.
Here are the lessons learned in the past year about exercise and fitness:
1. Consistency is everything– You have to set your gym schedule. And to stick with it no matter what. Make it a non-negotiable part of your week. Don’t allow distractions and laziness to get in your way. I allot 3-5days a week for exercise. When you travel, research for the nearby gym. When the gym is closed, research for home workouts.
2. Rest is also everything– It is important to listen to your body. Rest is very important. Allow your sore muscles to rest.
3. You really don’t need a trainor and a spotter- I realized that on top of the actual workout, we should also take time to research on proper techniques. There are a lot of science-based workout techniques on Youtube. My fave are Jeff Nippard and Jeremy Ethier. Watch them over and over again. You also do not need a spotter. If you can’t carry the weight, it’s not yet for you and you have to lower it down. You can be independent on the gym. You should also practice Physical Distancing. The virus is evolving.
4. You really dont need a fancy gym. If an exclusive membership is for you, grab it. But like what I have said, it’s about proper form and consistency. A good environment is just a bonus.
6. Invest on a good workout program. I started my workout journey using the Minimalist Fitness program by Cho Lim. It is quite expensive but the return is greater. I then invested on another program, this time by Jeff Nippard. I have to say that these programs were one of the best investments I have had in 2020. PS: One thing I love about Jeff Nippard is that he is about my height. He is a small guy, so for short guys like me, he should be your go-to person!
7. Progressive overload. You have to monitor the progression of your workouts. If you can lift 40kg on Bench Press today, try 42kg next time. Or increase your repetitions. The best strategy for this is to create a logbook or bring your notebook. Track your progress every single work out day. It is also a good motivation because you will see and measure your growth.
8. Manage your meals-caloric deficit/surplus. This is a note to self because I swear, I fucked up on my meal planning last year. But when I do get serious about this, I see good changes.
9. Leg motherfucking day is important. Again, DON’T SKIP LEG DAY!
10. Have fun. You dont have to do boring things. You can ditch all my advices here but focus on one important thing: Fitness should spark joy! You should enjoy the process of preparing your gym outfits, commuting or driving to the gym, doing some stretches and cardio, planning meals, etc.
Don’t take fitness seriously.
So here’s one year of going to the gym did to me. It’s a slow progress but hey, slow progress is still progress!