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Five Steps I Took To Get Fit... Maybe It'll Work For You

Five Steps I Took To Get Fit... Maybe It'll Work For You

Plan a vacation, crash diet for three weeks. Want to wear a tight fitting dress? Crash diet and wrap your body in plastic wrap for two days before. Summer coming? Eat nothing but salads the entire month of May. You can get where this is going.

I had to come to the realization that I would never reach my ultimate fitness goal by crash dieting and treating my body like crap. I would literally starve myself for weeks at a time limiting myself to about 1,000 calories a day. I’m not gonna lie, I would lose a few pounds per week making it extremely simple to lose 10 pounds in a month. Wait--

I guess I should take a break to describe my body type so you can have a better picture of what’s going on. I’m 5’6-ish and currently about 150-155 (depends on how much water and carbs I’ve taken in). My build is somewhat muscular and that’s what helps me “hide my weight well”. Here’s a picture… be nice.

First picture is just me up in the gym working on my fitness. The second is an idea of what I look like in regular clothes.

First picture is just me up in the gym working on my fitness. The second is an idea of what I look like in regular clothes.

 

Anyway-- for the most part, I am content with my body. However, I know that I could be a stronger, healthier person. I’m all about loving your body and self-love, but if you want to change something… change it! So that’s what I did. I got fed up with sucking in my food baby and worrying about my thighs jiggling in the summer. I made a change.

I changed my diet and I went to the gym. Not only that, I went to the gym with a plan and I ate meals that complimented my regimen. I finally began to understand the science behind building muscle, shedding fat, and being overall healthy.

I’ve mentioned before that when you have a true interest in something, you will take the time and the effort needed to properly research and understand the topic. Plain, before I didn’t care about truly being healthy, I just wanted to be skinny. In October of 2014, I decided that I wanted to be more than skinny. I wanted to be fit. I haven’t gotten to the point that I want to be, but I take pride in where I am because I’m enjoying the journey.

These are the steps that I took to get to the point that I’m at in my fitness journey:

 

  1. Woke up and realized that magazines aren’t reality.

Most of those skinny women that you see in magazines don’t look like that in real life. It’s called photoshop. That being said, it’s not fair to compare your real life body with a digitally retouched photograph. Stop being unfair to yourself! If you’re striving for the “perfect” beach body, give up, it’s not going to happen because it doesn’t exist. However, if you desire to be the best version of yourself… go for it! The takeaway points from all of this, put away your Cosmopolitan magazine, stop comparing yourself to others, and be the best that you can be.

 

2.        Wanted It

This is the easy-hard part. I say that because everyone “wants” to be fit, but no one really wants it. We want it until we see a slice of cake in front of us. I found that once I truly wanted to be in the best shape of my life, I made those sacrifices to order the bunless burger and skip the fries while I was out with my friends. I stopped talking about how badly I needed to “get back into the gym” and I just did it. If I had a dollar of every time I or someone around me said “yea, I really need to get back in the gym…” I would be rich enough to run for president. Those things are easy to say, but dragging yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning to go lift weights or run is the true test. No one can do this for you. This is all you. You have to decide when you really want to begin to make that change.

 

3.        Developed a Plan and goals… realistic goals

Okay, now that you have decided that you want to go to the gym, you buy a membership, put on your running shoes, and you go to the gym. Now what? I see this happen all the time. As a “regular” at the gym, I know the other “regulars” and I also notice when there is someone new. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not the asshole that just stares at people like a creep in the gym or chuckles when someone is having a difficult time using the equipment. I simply take notice and say to myself “hmm… I’ve never seen him/her before.” Usually these people are new to the gym-- like everyone once was-- and they have what Martin Berkhan of leangains.com would like to call “fuck-around-itis”. This is basically when you get to the gym and you’re just doing some bullshit. You might do two sets of 4 dumbbell curls, get on the treadmill, leg press 45 pounds two times, and end the session with some cycling. All of this is done while they scroll on instagram, walk around talking to people, multiple trips to the bathroom for a selfie, and fake logging of their exercises. This is because they feel like they should be in the gym for an hour so they make up the time simply fucking around. This is no good. You not only waste your time and energy, but you also might get discouraged easily because you’re not seeing the “gainz” or shedding that you would like to see even though you’ve been “going to the gym for weeks”. Again, figure out what it is that you would like to do. Do you want to build muscle, maintain, or shed fat? All of these things would mean tailoring your diet and exercise to be most beneficial to your overall goals. Speaking of goals, make your goals realistic. Don’t go to the gym expecting to lose 50 pounds in 2 weeks. Set a goal that a human being could attain without removing a limb and sucking all the fat out of their body. I say about 1-3 pounds a week is a reasonable goal if you’re going to the gym and following your diet correctly. No worries, some weeks you might even gain a pound or two-- that’s why I don’t own a scale-- but don’t stop! It’s probably water weight or it may be muscle. Either way, we all have those “what the fuck” weeks, but don’t let those weeks deter you from your goal.

 

Speaking of a “what the fuck week”

4.        Not giving up after a “what the fuck week”

If you read number 3, you know what a “what the fuck” week is, but for my skimmers here’s a breakdown. Basically, when you’ve followed your diet, worked out like crazy in the gym, got your rest, and even walked up the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator. Then you step on the scale expecting to see a drastic drop in weight, but… what the fuck!? You ask yourself “how in the hell did I GAIN weight?” or “How didn’t I lose ANY weight at all?” These are rough weeks because it’s easy to feel defeated. Your workout partner will try to comfort you by saying “hey, it’s probably the water weight from your cheat day two days ago… don’t worry.” This is nice of them, but you don’t give a damn about water weight. You just know that you practiced self-restraint at the office holiday party by not eating a single cooking or indulging in any of the eggnog and you still didn’t lose any weight-- might as well have eaten the damn cookie!

These weeks will come and they will be extremely annoying. But it’s all about what you do after these weeks. Do you allow yourself to be overcome with defeat or do you continue to fight the fight? If you really want it, you’ll continue fighting.

 

5.        I have fun

If you’re going through this journey and you think that you’ll be able to do and eat the same things every day and manage to have fun… maybe you will, but I’m willing to bet that you won’t. Spice it up, literally. Our dear ole friend Google has some good stuff on low carb recipes, chia puddings, and all kinds of good stuff out there. Don’t feel like you have to eat nothing but chicken breasts with salads every day. The same goes for the gym. Find different ways to work out. Just last week I went on a 16 mile bike ride across town to get a Chicago style hot dog. Not only did I get my cardio in, but I was able to have a cheat meal at the same time. Speaking of cheat meals… don’t feel bad for having a cheat day. Reward yourself! After sticking to the diet all week and busting your ass in the gym, it feels good to have cookies and ice cream on a Friday night. Just be sure to enjoy the cheat meal then get your ass back in the gym the next day to burn it off. Just have fun and keep it balanced. Work hard and play hard!

UGH! Can we change it up?!

UGH! Can we change it up?!

 

This post doesn’t really dive into the science behind working out and meal planning because that would take way too much. Honestly, I don’t feel comfortable trying explain fats, carbs, proteins, carb cycling, refeeding, blah, blah. I’m just coming to understand these things fully and I’m not that person that loses two pounds and feels the liberty to add “personal trainer” to my resume. In all honesty, it will be quite some time before I go into full detail about the science behind my workouts and meal plans. I would suggest really researching some theories surrounding the topic of weight training, dieting, and overall health. There are so many options out there to fit your needs. If you just have no clue as to where you should start, google search engine is a great place to type “how to lose fat/gain muscle”. Try to stay away from “bro-science” as much as possible. Those people are jacked, yes, but they don’t always have the best advice on fitness. If someone tells you anything about “tricking your muscles to grow…” RUN! That’s pure bro-science and it’s probably gonna cause you to strain something. If you can’t seem to get enough information, find a support group or maybe hire a trainer to help you get started.

 

I really hope this helps someone. The gym life can be very intimidating at first, but don’t let the douchebag with the back muscles ripping out of his shirt or the girl running full speed at maximum incline on the treadmill deter you. We all have to start somewhere. Good luck!

 

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