Here are nine lessons that will save you time and frustration along your fitness journey.
1. You don't have to run yourself into the ground for results.
Will you experience soreness from your workouts? Yes, at the beginning. But soreness for many days isn't needed for validation. Being on the verge of getting sick after your workouts isn't necessary for a great workout. As I like to remind clients, "let's stimulate, not annihilate ourselves".
2. Women won't turn manly by lifting challenging weights.
Due to hormonal factors, women will never "bulk up" like men and lose their feminine qualities. Through lifting challenging weights, women improve their confidence, bone density (decreasing their chances for osteoporosis), strength and rate of fat loss.
3. It's OK to feel like quitting at times.
I've thought about quitting dozens of times. It's normal to feel this way. After all, you're pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Don't feel guilty or weak. Instead, understand they're just thoughts that will soon pass. The most important thing you can do is to keep moving forward, however small it feels.
4. Know there isn't a one size fits all workout plan for everyone.
What works for your friends, co-workers or family members might not be best for you. There is no such a thing as the "best workout plan ever." The best workout plan is the one you'll stick to, enjoy and caters to your fitness goals.
5. Know that quality workouts always trump the quantity of workouts.
You don't have to workout everyday or have marathon sessions in the gym to get results. It's not the time that's important, it's what you do with the time that's key.
6. Know that your fitness journey is for you and only you.
Don't waste your time comparing yourself to others — it doesn't add any value to your life. You're good enough already. This fitness journey isn't about others; it's about you striving to become a stronger version of yourself and grow as an individual.
7. There are no good or evil foods.
You don't have to avoid carbs (or any food for that matter) for weight loss. However, some foods are better for your health and fitness goals than others. The key is to find moderation between quality nutrient-rich foods while indulging in lesser nutrient-rich sources. While chocolate cake isn't an everyday staple in a typical fat loss plan, it doesn't have to disappear from your diet completely.
8. Know that your diet should be satiating and sustainable.
Depriving yourself of all your favorite foods for the sake of fitness isn't necessary. Your diet should be pleasing to your palate and fit flawlessly with your lifestyle. Let fitness fit into your current life; don't change your life for fitness. If you enjoy ice cream, continue to indulge guilt-free occasionally. Life is too short not to indulge in things that bring joy to our lives.
10. Remember to have fun.
This isn't quantum physics — it's only fitness. Make fitness stress releasing, not stress inducing. Have fun, do activities that fit with your goals and make you happy. After all, what's the point of getting in shape if you can't enjoy yourself?