I’ve noticed a neat trend on YouTube and in blogs lately, where people write letters to the younger versions of themselves. I think that’s a great idea because it helps us take a look at how far we’ve come and the things we’ve learned or how we’ve changed over time. It can also help us make peace with our past selves in a creative way. Today I’m doing a fitness version of this idea, where I write to my younger self about the things I wish I would have known when I started my fitness journey. Hopefully it helps some of you who are where I was not too long ago 🙂
Dear Younger Me,
It’s okay to not be the best. I know you feel inferior when you see women who are a lot stronger and fitter than you are. But you know what? That’s okay. They all started in the same place as you – at the beginning. Remember that the reason those athletes are so inspiring is because they went through the tough work as a beginner to get to where they are now. They failed, and still fail sometimes, but they pushed through it and improved themselves because of it. So don’t expect yourself to be the best or be perfect right from the beginning. It’s a process, and that’s okay!
Embrace failure. It’s an important part of the process. Don’t just try to move on after you mess up, you should actually be thankful for it. Failure is the perfect opportunity for growth and change, and no athlete improves herself without it. You have to fail to find your weaknesses, and on the physical side, your muscles have to fail in order to get stronger. It’s a good thing, and nothing to be ashamed of. Someday you will look back on your failures with confidence because they help you see how far you’ve come.
Find what moves you. Keep searching until you find a method of training that makes you excited to work out. There are a lot of ideas to choose from, including weightlifting, kickboxing, suspension training, HIIT, and more! Don’t settle for traditional workouts if those bore you. Knowing you, once you get bored, you’ll quit. Find a variety of workouts that you enjoy, and stick to those. Have fun with it! Contrary to what you might think, working out doesn’t have to be miserable.
Quit comparing yourself to others. Don’t expect (or try) to be just like them. Everyone is different. Which means “fit” is going to look different for everyone. What makes a true athlete stand out is when they find their own unique passion – not when they copy someone else. Don’t try to mirror the women you admire. Respect and learn from them, yes, but you don’t need to try to be them. Figure out what you like, what you’re good at, and where you can improve. You are yourself, and that is beautiful enough.
Skinny isn’t the goal. Despite popular belief, fitness is about so much more than reaching a certain weight and eliminating as much fat as possible from your body. It’s about being fit for life – being strong, comfortable in your own skin, at a healthy weight, and capable of performing everyday tasks with ease. Dedicate yourself to becoming the fittest, healthiest version of yourself and your looks will take care of themselves. And by the way, being strong feels a whole lot better than just focusing on being skinny anyways.
Do FitnessBlender for a month or two before you try anything else. They cover many different kinds of exercise in their videos, and provide very helpful narration that reminds you of proper form and keeps you motivated. By the end of a month or two of working out with them, you will be familiar with almost all basic exercises, a wide variety of training styles, and proper form. You will also have developed a good starting level of strength, coordination, and overall fitness and familiarity with healthy ways to exercise. The best part is that they have over 500 free workouts, meaning you can do a different one every day if you want 🙂
It’s OK that you hate running. There are other ways to get just as fit, and just because it seems like most other “fit women” are into running, doesn’t mean you have to be. You’re going to discover that weightlifting, kickboxing, and jumping rope are far more fun and beneficial for you, and that’s great.
The beginning is always the hardest. Be patient with yourself, and don’t give up. It is going to take time to reach your goals, but if you keep at it, you will get there. Sometimes you are going to want to stop altogether because you just can’t seem to get it right. You need to be patient, and keep going. Starting something and pushing though it while it is new to you is always the toughest part. Once you start seeing results and once it becomes a habit, it will be harder to take a rest day than to motivate yourself to work out. I promise.
Are you a beginner in your fitness journey? If so, kudos to you for starting in the first place! If you are farther along in your fitness level, what do you wish you would have known at the start? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!