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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started the Gym

REST IS KEY

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement especially around January, and you might want to work out every single chance you get. Unfortunately, this will likely result in slowed progress, burnout, illness or injury. Learn to listen to your body. 

ALWAYS GO IN WITH A PLAN 

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re wasting time. Having a plan will give you the structure so you aren’t wondering what to do next, hanging around for equipment or just reverting back to the treadmill. 

COMPARISONS WILL NEVER HELP

One of the worst things that you can do as you go about this journey is to compare yourself to others. There will always be someone out there who is fitter than you, leaner than you, stronger than you, and so forth.

Don’t pay attention to them. This is your journey so the only person you need to worry about is yourself.

PROGRESS WON’T ALWAYS BE LINEAR

It would be great if your results were just a straight line that went up, up and up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Understand that you’ll progress much faster at certain times than others. Again, this is natural. Just as things seem to slow, you need to trust that they’ll pick up again.

Learn the difference between slow progress and stagnation. If it’s been six weeks or longer without any results, it’s time for re-evaluation. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result. 

THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES

Detox teas don’t work. Fad diets don’t work. Name a quick fix, none of them work.  Getting fit, getting healthy, losing weight, gaining weight. None of it happens overnight and extreme measures are always going to do you more harm than good. How many people do you know who lost 5kgs after drinking a detox tea for a week, who then kept that 5kg off? Crash diets teach you nothing about fuelling, nourishing, and strengthening your body. Longevity should always be the goal. Play the long game. Not only is this a healthier place to be in mentally but, by taking it slow, any changes or progression you make is going to stick around for longer. 

NUTRITION IS QUEEN AND FOOD IS NOT THE ENEMY

You can not. I repeat. CAN NOT. Out train a bad diet. Food is not the enemy and you should never deny yourself food as punishment. Learn to view food as fuel that’s going to help you reach your goals – whether they’re performance and physique focused. If you have an unhealthy relationship with food then this must be addressed first and foremost as this could be the difference between seeing your results or not. 

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY EVERY SINGLE TIME

Proper form with lower weight is always 10 times better than high weight with mediocre form. Performing the full range of motion of a lift, or properly engaging the muscle area you’re trying to target is going to produce the best results. 

LEARN HOW MUCH PROTEIN YOU NEED TO BE EATING TO SEE RESULTS 

It’s particularly important in growth, development, and tissue repair. Protein is one of the three major “macronutrients” so, consuming enough protein is essential. Since protein is the building block of your muscles, eating adequate amounts of protein helps maintain your muscle mass and prevents muscle wasting. Not only does eating protein help prevent muscle breakdown, but it can also help build and strengthen muscles. Combining regular activity and exercise with high protein intake promotes muscle growth. 

BE FLEXIBLE 

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. 

Some days you won’t be able to make that gym class, or even go to the gym, this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your goals, take a walk, complete a home workout. 

NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP 

Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help, they’re there for a reason. Benefit from the experience of others, whether this is a personal trainer, an app or someone you know who is an expert in the area you’re trying to improve. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about it, reach out!

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