How to Start your fitness Journey-Getting comfortable in your Skin

Oooof this may turn into a biggun but I will try to keep this as precise as I can. (If you follow me on IG then you know that won't be possible... go get a cuppa and put your feet up) 

There's a few things to factor in when we talk about fitness/health/dieting journeys. And I talk about it here in my you tube post "Getting comfortable in your skin" I may repeat a few things over between the two posts, but I've figured now, that you can never say this stuff too much. I can never tell you to 'love your body' too many times. It's the no1 factor in this journey that will be the most important part and of course the most difficult. (Not for everyone but I'm guessing if something has led you to my IG/blog/youtube, learning to start loving your bod and getting comfy in your skin, that ethos, has somehow bought you here) 

I know, through training my own clients and through being my own coach, that loving my body is something I wanted as a prerequisite.  It was the aftermath. It's the bit that can wait till I've gotten the body of my dreams. It's the bit that will be a bonus. Loving myself will be a treat at the end of the journey, once I look like (INSERT NAME OF HUMAN WITH WHAT YOU THINK IS THE IDEAL BODY) 

When I ask clients what they really want during a consultation. I get a few answers...

No'1) I just wanna get a bit healthy, stronger and fitter.

No'2) Lose weight and tone up. It's what we all seem to want. The reason we schlog down the gym after work when we are tired, the reason we start diet after diet every Monday, the reason we follow soooo many fitness Instagrams or snapchats, why we read fitness blogs, why we watch Nikki Blacketter whilst doing our cardio for long lengths of time. 
We want to lose weight and get toned.

No'3) Motivation. They want someone to kick their butt, make sure they are doing the right things in the right form. Push them harder than they push themselves. This answer is sort of true. I have discovered in some scenarios, sub consciously sometimes it allows them, if they don't see results, to say "See, I even tried with a trainer, I am destined to not get the bod (I think) I want"

The first answer is true. People do want to get fitter and healthier. Especially stronger more now than ever before. But it's the answer people think us trainers want to hear the most. I do want to hear this, because of course, that's mega important. But if it's not the real focus or your real goal, taking this angle will not keep you motivated. If this isn't what drives you, me saying "you can do 10 press ups more than when you started, but you still look the same" may not be enough to keep you going. People may argue this, and even be annoyed at me for saying it, but loosing a dress size keeps people coming back far more than the ability to do 10 press ups (at the beginning) At some point it does change, but right there at the very beginning most of us seeking help from a trainer, want physical, obvious results. 

Answer no' 2 And is a more honest answer (as a generalisation), this is the answer that often we are even ashamed of admitting. Wanting to look better. Wanting to wear a smaller dress size, wanting to look leaner, tighter, weigh less, or more, have a bigger bum, a smaller waist, longer legs... (Because somewhere down the line some one told us what 'better' is and we believed them)

And these answers are great to know. Technically it's all I need to know. I can then get them in, give them a nutrition guide to read and follow and give them workouts that include progressive overload, strength, cardio, to hit all those goals. I can push them to do 2 more burpees, make sure they lift that heavier barbell, keep their form in check, ask them what they ate that week and advise them to *eat more protein, drink more water *eat less sweets

And it may work. Sometimes. When the client goes all in, gives there all. Actually reads the guide (cos who am I kidding, we often just scroll through these guides looking for the magic formula, the detailed food diary of things to eat exactly and be told what to buy, exactly. And when that's not there in black and white we shove it to the side and carry on eating, kind of, exactly how we do already, but maybe with a bit more protein because we got excited and bought the salted caramel Quest powder and it is basically dessert.

We can "start this journey" with guided help as many times as we like. We can say all the right things, we can go through a lot of the right motions. 

Of course we want to love our body...

but only if it looks 'better' first.

What is really going to make us read a guide and take on board the tips we are being told. What is really gonna get us to start it, and be consistent? What is going to stop us, stop starting and back and forthing? What is going to get us to actually eat more protein, eat less junk, do more exercise, day in day out (and not just for 12 weeks)

We want it right? Like reallllly badly. I wanted lean legs, an iddy biddy waist and to be compact, lean, petite, like so so so badly it hurt my soul. Enough that I cried about it more than I should. Enough that it made me grumpy, more than it should. It made me frustrated. It made me ashamed and embarrassed. It made me sad, way more than I ever thought it could or would. 

I wanted it, but I didn't quite have the umph to change it.

Of course I wanted to love my body...

but only if it looked 'better' first.

The 1st thing that should be asked when we are about to start setting out to reach our goals is! WHY?

Why did I want it so badly. Why did I/do I need to have a flat stomach with ab definition, thighs that don't touch, a butt that doesn't jiggle? Why do I want to start something that takes so much will power, motivation, time, effort, just to what? Look like someone on my phone screen as I scroll on by birdeye views of avo on toast and sausage legs on the beach to a girl that I deem to be, what? Is it perfect, beautiful, sexy? Is it "normal" Is it that I see them as normal and myself as abnormal? All the other girls I see, are they normal. Do I want to just fit in and to belong to a group that when I was growing up, I'm sire would have said "You can't sit with is" Is it that I want to wear a certain size dress in Zara (a small would be nice, not an effing large, who are these girls they make clothes for? AHHHHH the normal ones)Is it that I want to see someone in a magazine that represents me, who i can relate to? And if I couldn't find them, then it must be me that's got it wrong right? I needed to change!?! Why wasI chasing a standard that I have been told is "the standard" Who decided that? The social constructs that are forced around us to be (smaller,leaner, tighter, curvier, firmer, stronger, better?)

And unfortunately, instead of asking myself if this was right, acceptable. I asked myself...

Why can't I get what I am chasing so hard for? Why was it always my conundrum. I wanted someone to give me the answer. I wanted someone who had seen results to tell me exactly what I was doing wrong. Why couldn't I stay consistent? Why couldn't I lose the fat? Why couldn't I get toned? Be petite? Why couldn't I not eat 4000 a day if I wanted to? Why couldn't I be one of those people that went to the gym and enjoyed it? Did anyone really enjoy it? I suspected not. And the real gripe wasn't really that. It was more along the lines of...


"Why wasn't I born, blessed with the perfect body... and the ability to eat what I wanted FFS"

Ahhhh... the self pity "I want the perfect body" mmode! The perfect body, an idea, a figment of our imagination, a perspective that changes as much as IG's algorithm.

Dam it!

My mum said to me once... what if you could "either click your fingers and have the body you want but you would still feel like this, or you could click them, have the same body you have now, but be truly happy with it?"

I remember exactly where I was standing when she asked. I had just tried on a bikini for an up and coming trip to Vegas. I had lost some weight (but evidently to me) not enough. I had thrown a tantrum and cried because why did I not look better? Like Jessica Simpson in the 'boots are made for walking' video or like 'Kayla' id done her BBG plan for 6 weeks. SIX. Why did I not look like I'd just come from the Angel's catwalk for goodness sake? And then my mum, frustrated, upset, at a loss of how to address this, asked me that question about what I would choose and I felt tricked. She was tricking me. Because I knew what I was 'meant' to say. But I couldn't.  Because I dint mean it. At that particular time on my journey I would rather the former. Get the body I wanted and be unhappy. I dint want to get happy with my body I had. I hated the body I had.

Would anyone ever effing understand?

This fundamental was the reason I didn't progress for a long time after that exchange with my mum. Every time I lost a bit of weight, or did well with sticking to low calories, I'd get bored, frustrated, inpatient. I wasn't getting the body I was after, even when I did reach the low number on the scale, I still wasn't happy. I would inconsistently work out, I would try a few weeks of Kayla here and there, I would still attempt to only eat 1200 calories most of the time, and then binge all the other times. I didn't want to be happy with what I had already. I was resisting it so so much, which in turn meant that all my energy went on resisting, rather than focusing on what I really needed to do to make a change. Therefore I would be lazy, unstructured. I wouldn't educate myself, I wouldn't put in the actual effort. I wanted a 'better' body (because? I still hadn't got to that yet) and I wanted to get it in the easiest way possible. It's just that the easy way, doesn't last or, actually make us happy!

It was a year, many restarts, relapses and trips to Vegas (boozing), Italy (carbing) and Thailand (Bucketing) later, before I would even begin a journey that saw results physically. And the year leading up to that consisted on a lot of non physical work that is still being done everyday. Mental gains shall we say lol.

This day in Italy I cried because of how I felt in my skin. I sucked in so hard, took this pic and then was a miserable cow for most of the day when i didn't see Jessica Albas body staring right back.

This day in Italy I cried because of how I felt in my skin. I sucked in so hard, took this pic and then was a miserable cow for most of the day when i didn't see Jessica Albas body staring right back.

When we get down to the nitty gritty, of why clients are willing to hand over a massive chunk of their monthly pay cheque to me. It hs nothing to do with them wanting to look like Beyonce or Rosie Huntington Whitley. The truth is, deep down. We just want to be comfortable in our skin. We think we want a thigh gap but, really, we just want to love our bods the way we love Kaylas. The fact that we don't have to look like that in order to love it, never occurred to me. And when my mum pointed that out, it was so absurd and so offensive that the mere mention of loving my narrow hips, square waist, big bottom, thigh chaffing thighs... devastated me. It broke me.

This is not to say it is not possible. It is doable. 

But if you think heading to the gym consistently, or choosing the chicken and veg and not the cheesy pasta 8 times out of 10, is difficult... you haven't even begun to try looking at yourself in the mirror and asking why it's so important to change your body aesthetically, to tell yourself you love YOU no matter what shape you are, and risk, getting so OK with your body that you may never end up looking the way you think it should.

It's so hard, that it is the reason we don't all walk around ecstatic with our lot (even though we should), the lifestyle isn't totally easy otherwise we would all be walking around like The Pussy Cat Dolls or wait... let me think of a currant girl band... errrm, Fith Harmony? (Ugh when did I get this old? lol) And really there is no shoulda/woulda/coulda about this journey. There are a million and twenty one different ways to do it. My way won't be YOUR way, your way might not be the same as the girl in the gym that looks like she doesn't need to be there) We all have a right, and a journey to discover, that will lead you to so many different epiphanies about you and your body.

Are you willing to take the time to discover them? Or are you looking for a 12 week programme that will change your body. If so, this isn't the post that will help you. No quick fixes here I'm afraid!

If you are looking for more than that then continue below xxx

I will do a post on all of the below points if you guys want me to.

1) Ask yourself why you want it so bad?

2) Ask yourself why its so hard to get it?

And if these answers don't come, to physically start making changes to your lifestyle here are some more tips...

3) Pick your fights with your indulgences. Dinner with friends and having pizza seems far more fun than pizza on my own from sainsburys one week night. The goats cheese tart looks way better than any of the desserts on the menu. Unless there is a salted caramel one, then if so, have the dessert and forego the tart. 

4) Take your time. add in activity bit by bit, take out non nutritious food, here and there rather than in one go.

5) Be consistent. Go to the gym/do more, consistently. Not just bouts of 6 times a week and then one week off. 3 times a week over a month is better than 6 times a week for 2 weeks. Even though it is the same amount of  sessions, going 3 times a week is going to keep you coming back week in week out because it is manageable, far more than 6 times when it may all become overwhelming and you may burn yourself out.

6) Find your triggers. If drinking a hot drink, makes you associate with biscuits, either stop the hot drinks, or find healthier versions of the biscuits. If walking into a news agents and buying a choc bar leads you to crisps, and pizza and avoiding the gym, avoid the news agents and make a choc treat at home. If a buffet scenario means you will go lose your shit and eat all the foods, find ways to plan for it, make room for it. It might be avoiding a work buffet for your first few weeks/months of the journey. Or taking some of your own snacks, or giving yourself permission to eat the food, and let it go afterwards. Sometimes we cannot change or avoid our triggers, but accepting them helps. 

7) Find activity you enjoy, healthy food you like. If you do not like chicken and brocoli, don't eat it. If you hate the treadmill, find other LIIS (steady state cardio) If you hate lifting heavy weights, find a programme that involves different versions of resistance work, like BBG. If you don't like BBG, then try getting some PR's on lifting really heavy things. 

8) Find the things you are willing to sacrifice (cos there needs to be some if you want to make changes) Maybe you can sacrifice the wine at dinner and have the pudding instead. Maybe you will eat tuna and egg white omelette (all the protein) for a couple of days because you know you are going out on Friday night. Maybe you will sacrifice watching Greys Anatomy because you have a Boxfit class one night. (Record it don't miss it) 

9) Do some research, educate yourself, learn about the exercise you are starting and the food you are eating and why. Go on Pinterest and find recopies, be creative, try new things. Type into the search engine, healthy banana bread and try the recipe. Search for healthy lunches or healthy toast toppings and create a pin board of things that inspire you to eat better. 

10) Don't let yourself be lazy. Find a structure and a routine. Be it waking up 30 minutes early to do a workout 3 times a week. Or take pictures of your pretty smoothie bowl you found on pinterest because then you can post it and feel like you are being held accountable by sharing your new eating habits. Don't be lazy and just rely on your PT to kick your butt, or the canteen to make healthy food, or your friends to support you when you feel unmotivated. Push yourself. Fight for what it is you want. Don't make excuses, make choices that will enable you to lead a lifestyle that works for you and helps you feel better in your skin. Some pages that help me are... The Glute Guy, Soheefit, Layne Norton, Sigma Nutrition and T nation.

Above all... try not to focus on changing the skin you are in, but getting comfortable in it. Let the look of the body become a prerequisite of loving it first.

Check out my you tube video that talks about steps to make in getting comfy in your skin, and getting the body you think you want (or not) Share it/thumbs up it/comment on it if you relate or have any questions at all. 

Sending lots of good vibes.

Fanni xxx