I have always been a very sporty kind of person. When I was 4 years old, I started swimming because my parents are both swimming teachers. At the age of 6 I moved onto skating and I kept that going for roughly 10 years. Training and keeping healthy has always been very important for me. I did actually enjoy the 4 hours training every day, the hard work and of course the satisfaction of taking part in competitions. Growing older I had to prioritise, school became more important and now with uni and work, it is practically impossible to dedicate all that time to something that is not studying.
So in my first year of uni I made what I call, ‘the worst mistake of my life.’ I completely stopped exercising, had the worst sleeping pattern ever, as I was out every night until 4 am and consequently, was waking up in the afternoon the day after, and of course having takeaways too many times a week. I didn’t just put on lots of weight, which of course I wasn’t happy about, but what really bothered me was how lazy and unhealthy my life had become. I did make lots of friends, I did have a lot of fun – I cannot deny that, so I do not regret the whole halls experience at all. I do actually miss it at times, but in a way I am glad I got my life back on track.
It has been really hard to go back from pot noodles to actually cooking real food. From spending the nights after work shifts between the sofa and the bed to finally dragging myself to the gym. So because I know how hard it is, I want to give all the students out there a few tips that have been really helpful for me during my “recovery” from laziness, to active young woman.
If you don’t really want it, don’t do it!
Plenty of times you might see one of your friends starting to work out and eat properly, and you might want to start too. It can be good to have someone to motivate you or push you, but you need to really want to make a change because (I do not want to put you off it, but…) it is a very long and sometimes frustrating process, so you need to be convinced and strong minded to keep the hard work up. There is no point in eating properly and exercising for a week and then going back to the lazy you because you got bored of it.
Not everybody needs to be healthy in the same way
This is because each person has a different body shape, a different metabolism and a different attitude towards exercising, and so on. There isn’t one way to lose weight, tone up, or simply be healthy and you need to find your own way. To do so, I first joined Virgin Gym. I know it’s very expensive, but if you are cutting down the number of drinks you have on a night out, and are not going out that often anymore (remember? You are trying to be healthy again?) you will be able to afford it.
Why Virgin Gym? Well how do you resist the temptation of a Jacuzzi and sauna after a workout? Jokes that is not the only reason. Joining Virgin Gym gave me access to millions of different classes from the easiest once such as: Zumba, to the crazy ones, such as Body Attack (used to love this one but it was so hard), Pilates and yoga for your abs, and finally body pump, spinning to grow your muscles. Of course you have access to the gym facilities and plus, they have a swimming pool. When you have so many options you can try as many as you want and you will definitely find the right one for you. If you find yourself becoming a yoga enthusiast, maybe you could look into taking a yoga teacher training course, become qualified and teach classes within your spare time. Most students work in restaurants, bars and clubs, they tend to be very unsociable hours and worst of all… low wages. The average income for student doing part time work in the UK is £112.20, the average hourly rate for a yoga instructor is £24 an hour, to earn £112.20 (the average student part time weekly salary), depending on where you work and your age, you would have to work anywhere from 12.5 hours a week to 24.2 hours. A yoga instructor would earn that in 4.6 hours, based on the average salary in the UK for a yoga instructor.
When you have sorted the gym out focus on the food!
The way you do food shopping has to change. Forget about Farmfoods and all the frozen ready meals and just do a bigger weekly shop. Fresh vegetables, fresh meat and keep your diet balanced. My mum always says eat a bit of everything – sounds silly, but it works.
Then of course you know your body you know what is good for you and what has to be avoided. As an example, carbs are unfortunately quite bad for me, so instead of eating lots of complex carbs, such as pasta, rice, bread, biscuits and so on, I learned to replace them with quinoa, rye bread and oatcakes.
Finally, remember good fat and good sugars are good for you. Avocado, nuts of all sorts, sugar contained in fruit burn bad fat. (Yes, it is true, I didn’t believe it either, but it works).
Finally, allow yourself a treat once in a while. You deserve it!
Patience, patience, patience…
You have a routine, are all set with pack lunches, have found a gym buddy, are motivated and have kept this up for 3-4 months… but, you still can’t see results? Do not panic, I repeat, DO NOT PANIC and most importantly, do not give up. Your body is getting used to the changes and will appreciate it if you keep the hard work up. Results will come, trust me, but if you want them to stay and not disappear, it takes time, patience and sacrifice, but it is worth it. If it makes you feel better within yourself, that is all that matters. Once you are happy, your body will show you how happy it is about the new you too!