This morning, I got up at 6am to go for a run. When I got back, I did a short HIIT workout. This afternoon, I’ll probably go for a bike ride through the woods near my house.
But if you’d told me a year ago that this would be a standard day for me, I would have laughed you out of the room.
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t exactly a fitness fanatic a year ago. Netflix, pizza, and a glass of wine were more my thing.
But it wasn’t the working out that really put me off. It was my lack of confidence.
My Instagram was replete with gym bunnies with impeccable abs flexing in front of mirrors. How could I compete with that?
But improving my fitness was something that I wanted to do, so I had to get over myself. Here are a few tips I learned that I hope will help you find your confidence and help you along your fitness journey.
Invest in quality kit for a quality workout
When I first started running, I had only the bare minimum of kit. A beaten-up old pair of running shoes from a thrift store, a worn-out pair of shorts, and an old college tee were about as technical as I got.
But nothing boosts your confidence like some high-quality, functional and, yes, stylish activewear. I’m not saying you should go out and buy nothing but branded kit — far from it.
But buying decent kit and equipment makes your fitness journey that little bit easier.
This starts with your shoes. If you are going to splash out on any single piece of attire, make it your trainers. Protecting your feet is crucial, especially if you’re working out outside. Asics is my personal favorite brand of shoe, especially for beginners — comfy, breathable, and stylish, it’s ideal for sidewalk running too.
As you start to get better at working out, treat yourself to a nice t-shirt or sports leggings. As well as being designed to aid your workout, looking good while you’re exercising also boosts your confidence at the same time.
No, it’s not necessary. But just as stylish everyday clothes make you feel more confident, stylish activewear also helps you achieve the same thing.
Eat your way to confidence with nutrients and vitamins
People exercise for all sorts of reasons: weight loss, better overall fitness, improved mental health, even as an extra incentive to quit smoking.
While I wasn’t exercising primarily for weight loss, I started to become more conscious of what I was putting in my body (see the aforementioned pizza and wine).
This started with my meals. I ditched sugary cereal for porridge and a banana, and I started making my own coups and dahls at the start of the week too. Not only was this cheaper, but it also helped me understand exactly what was going into my body too. This cabbage soup recipe from Budget Bytes, for example, is nutritious and surprisingly tasty too.
I also started adding shakes and powders into my diet too. If you’re bulking up, protein powders help you get the most from your workout. And meal replacement shakes make it easy to calculate exactly how many grams of protein, healthy fats, and fiber you’re consuming.
The way I looked at my dietary adjustments was that it made my overall fitness journey easier. It’s a lot easier to work out when your body is full of nutrients instead of carbs and cheese. Consequently, you feel more confident in your body and its capabilities as a result too.
Find your “no-haters” attitude
Working out in the gym is hard enough. With so many physically fit people around you, it’s easy to self super self-aware or your own relative lack of fitness.
But working out in public is even harder. There are certain members of the public who think nothing of making a passing comment as you run past them.
This is especially true for women. There is a certain contingent of men who feel the need to share their two cents about your workout.
From opinions on whether or not you should be wearing a sports bra to unsolicited comments about your appearance, there are plenty of men (and, indeed, some women) who refuse to take a day off.
Obviously, this will knock your confidence. And while at first I found comments like these paralyzing, I gradually learned to use them to my advantage.
I started to wonder who the real losers were. Here I was, pounding the sidewalk on a weekend, working up a sweat and boosting my fitness, while these boring, one-dimensional strangers were passing comments to make their own lives more exciting.
When (not if) you get these comments, just remember: you are a baller. You’re using your spare time to overcome your obstacles and improve yourself. Repeat this to yourself every time you get a comment, and soon you’ll be laughing.
Starting out on your fitness journey is not easy — it never is. But there are things you can do to make it that bit more achievable. I hope my hard-won tips above have inspired you to say “sayonara” to your fitness fear and encourage you to start your fitness journey. What are your tips for overcoming your fitness fear?
Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously – we intend to stand out from the crowd.
Image courtesy of Jonathan Borba.