Everybody knows when January 1st rolls around, it’s time to hustle to start that new fitness challenge or get in the gym at all costs because everyone has this idea of #bodygoals for whatever occasion, carnival, event that they’re preparing for…
Let’s face it. Fitness is something that takes time, discipline, money and often the willingness to sacrifice and say NO to a lot of things (fun and yummy things) but also saying YES to health -both physically and mentally (well in my opinion).
Confession time… (aka time to get super personal)
I recently took off 4 whole months because… I just wasn’t motivated. Not one bit. I was tired of working out and did not want to drag my “you know what” to the gym. But my body definitely suffered – I lost a lot of muscle mass, endurance/stamina and strength. My eating habits became “whatever I put in my mouth” and that wreaked it’s havoc too.
This just goes to say none of us are perfect or absolute #bodygoals because, guess what – we’re human. And because we’re human I just wanted to share some carnival fitness tips or tips in general that make getting ready for carnival or getting back to a fitness routine a little easier.
1. Do Your Research
Before you start any type of exercise you should consider your body type for exercise. Are you an ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph and what types of exercises will compliment your fitness goals. Take a simple quiz provided by Bodybuilding.com here. There’s also an article that will tell you how to train your body type but I honestly know that speaking to a professional 1 on 1 is definitely necessary if you don’t know what you’re doing.
2. Take Before Pics
Document, document, document! This is probably one of the most important things you can do for your #fitnessjourney or implement as a carnival fitness tip. Take photos of your body facing front, back, and both sides as well as how much you weigh, take pictures in a piece of clothing (try an old carnival costume) that can help document your progress, take body measurements by following this guide I found online, get your body mass index calculated, measuring your body fat %, keeping a food diary. I found what works for me the best is staying away from the scale and taking before and after photos as well as measuring my progress by clothing.
3. Write Goals
What’s your why? Sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself about why you want to pursue your fitness journey. For example, I will gain muscle mass by February 3rd to look hot AF in my carnival costume, in clothes and overall just be healthy for myself and my family. Then get a piece of paper and fill in the blanks:
I will _____(desired action)_______ by _____(specific date)_______ in order to have ______(desired outcome)____.
Place that goal somewhere you can see it daily (phone screen, office wall, computer display) and confide in someone you can trust to keep you accountable. I often use social media to keep me accountable.
4. Warming Up, Stretch & Cool Down
AKA taking care of your body. In everything we do theres a preparatory process to get it started. Before you start any workout, you should be warming up, stretching and afterwards cooling down. Taking 5 – 10 minutes to get that done will prepare your body for workouts and reduce injury. Here’s a routine I came with:
5. Consistent Work Outs
I know you hear it everywhere but consistency is King and without it you won’t be able to achieve your fitness goals. But before you go crazy working out 7 days a week, decide what’s feasible and works well for you. Realistically look at your weekly schedule and figure out 3 days (minimum) that you can get a 15-30 minute workout in.
6. Take It Slow
If you’re jumping into working out for the first time, take it easy. Don’t be looking all crazy like some of the gym memes I’ve seen since we started 2019. Remember its ok to start from the beginning. Even if you feel anxiety from looking like a newbie in the gym, everyone in that gym had to start from the beginning.
7. Practice Good Form
If you do not know what you’re doing, consult a professional. Gyms usually have trainers wandering around just so you can ask them how to do something. Before you start any exercise, learn how to properly do it and that’s just to make sure you’re training your body appropriately, using good body mechanics and preventing any possible injury. Also, know that no one is perfect. The other day someone helped me to correct my body mechanics for an exercise I thought I was doing correctly for years so that goes to show we are all still learning.
“No days off” – every time someone used this phrase I used to widen my eyes in astonishment or fear. You need days off to recover and recuperate because you are human and not a machine. Rest is an optimal part of seeing progress because the body needs to regenerate in order to keep up with the “stress” that you’re putting it through to change. Don’t get me wrong, some people can go hard in the gym and others cannot; it just simply depends on you what you can handle. But your body definitely needs downtime in order to be at it’s best.
9. Take Care of Your Body
If you’re just starting out your fitness journey, your body will go through some changes and that’s absolutely normal but 10 times out of 10 you will feel those “growing pains”. Soreness, aches, cramps especially if you’re body isn’t quite used to the workouts yet. My go to’s for management of soreness are icing, ice baths, contrast baths, Epsom salts, balms, stretching, foam rolling on off days and massages (the best).
10. Staying Motivated
Let’s talk staying motivated. In fact, this is damn near impossible. Don’t get me wrong you will get jolts of motivation here and there from a fitness IG account, a motivational speaker, even a friend or yourself. But staying motivated is something that has to be constantly worked at. My advice is to work through the days and train your mind and body to do the work even when you’re not motivated. Have faith in your abilities over listening to your feelings.
11. Play Music
The right track or mix can get you through any workout. Music is a Godsend and if I’m not listening to something while I’m working out that’s because I left my headphones home. Try to incorporate a musical element in your workouts if possible- it definitely eases the “stress” of working out in my opinion.
12. Drink Water
I remember as a bikini fitness competitor trying to get in at least 1 gallon a day and between the many pee breaks fighting with myself in my mind …”why am I doing this”??? But I was doing it because I had a specific end goal. Depending on your goals, body weight, level of activity this can vary so much. Rule of thumb for drinking water (sans exercise) is 8x8oz glasses of water per day but if you’re exercising you need to replenish the water you’ve sweated out because the body needs to regenerate after exercise. For some 8×8 may be enough and for others it may be too little so I suggest 64 oz can be a starting point or end goal depending on where you’re at.
13. Eat Well
A carnival fitness tip that goes without saying. In fact nutrition is equally if not more important than consistent exercise. You have to be so careful about what you feed your body because eating poorly can send you on a crash course back to where you started. There are so many types of diets ( I have not tried them all) and some suit others more than they will some other people. But what I’ve found helpful are the following tips:
- Consistent water intake
- No fast food, processed foods
- Read nutrition labels; no trans fats and look for low and minimal sodium levels
- Refined sugars are not your friend (i.e sodas, candy, fruit juices)
- Don’t miss meals (you need to fuel your body for your workouts)
- Eat good carbs (veggies, whole fruits, nuts, tubers) – my favorite sweet potatoes
- Take a daily supplement
- Cook more and make your meals, snacks (so you know what you’re putting into your body)
- Start your day with a glass of water and lemon (at least 10-15 minutes before waking up)
- Cook with healthy oils (extra olive virgin oil, coconut oils etc.)
- Limit alcohol, cheat meals
14. EveryThing In Moderation (Cheat Days)
Of course you don’t have to go crazy and diet yourself into oblivion. I definitely take my cheat days (probably too much) but I enjoy food so much; I didn’t think God put us on this earth to make us crazy. So for structure purposes, designate a day or two that you can enjoy a good meal without feeling guilty or a drink with friends on a night out without feeling that you’ve completely ruined your progress. It’s ok to take a break.
15. AM Workouts
I’ve done all kind of workouts at various times of the day, but honestly getting it done in the AM is just so beneficial in my opinion especially if you’re a busy person. AM workouts can serve as that wake up boost you need to get things done or if you just want it checked off your list for the day (that’s fine too) or maybe that’s your meditation time where you can figure things out, pray and get your day started. I will work out during the PM but it just depends on how my day is going and if I can’t fit the work out in during the earlier hours.
Make yourself accountable. Tell a friend or get a friend to join you in your workouts. Get someone to wake you up in the mornings or if even use social media. One of my ways to keep myself accountable is posting to my IG stories. It helps in the long run because there will be days you can’t motivate yourself and sometimes that extra push will do the trick.
17. Mix It Up
So you don’t have to stick to just one thing, there is no rule that says that unless you are going through a specific set of training. But, honestly I get bored quickly and need a little change in my day to day fitness routines. So mix it up, take a class, go swimming, go running, go to the gym, play a sport- variety is the spice of life and often you’ll find that mixing it up can keep you motivated to being consistent in your journey.
18. Feel Prepared W/ Workout Gear
Whether it’s getting your first set of resistance bands or a bunch of cute sports bras, sneakers. Feeling prepared makes it just that much easier to step foot in the gym. Looking the part can help with that confidence and self-esteem that you can handle the road ahead. Plus I love a cute gym outfit to be honest.
19. Start A Challenge
Another way to get started is starting a challenge. And they are everywhere, on the internet, in gyms so absolutely no excuses. The fun part about it is that you’re not the only one in a challenge so its good to have that comradery in hearing other people’s stories and goals. Shameless plug, join me in the Stay Fit Stay Feting Challenge and use my discount code (BAHAMIANISTA10)– you can win $1000, $500 or $250 dollars just for staying consistent. Challenge begins January 5th, 2019.
20. Pretend You’re On The Road
A specific carnival fitness tip for my carnival goers, I know the majority of us have goals for looking good on the road and for surviving it as well. I often pretend I’m in a costume on a long run or in the gym I’ll start dancing if I complete a difficult set or just cause. But the point is really for anyone reading, visualize yourself at your end goal. See yourself and your results in your desired outcome to help push through workouts and days you don’t feel like it. It makes working out less intimidating and more fun in my opinion.
21. Have Fun
At the end of the day, try to enjoy it. Enjoy the process and whatever you can do to make your workouts fun, do that. Partner with a friend, complete a challenge, listen to music, race each other, make it into a game, whatever makes it enjoyable and purposeful for you- DO THAT!
I’m on a journey to make my fitness journey as enjoyable as possible, so join me in my latest partnership and fitness collaboration with Janaeé of the Last Mermaid in the Stay Fit Stay Feting Challenge. It’s 24 days of at home and gym workouts, meal plans and the chance to win cash for carnival or whatever you want to spend it on! But most importantly its a chance to get consistent again, especially if you have no idea where to start. See you in the challenge!