So I’m almost two weeks into this fitness odyssey and I’m truly feeling like Odysseus. The journey back to fit is going to probably be longer than I originally anticipated and I’m sure it’s going to be riddled with obstacles. One thing we tend to forget when we try to get fit is that we didn’t get out of shape overnight so why should we expect that one week’s worth of workouts is going to make an impact right away? It’s a start, but we’re at mile one…well mile one if the marathon was run in reverse.
I think most people give up on the workout regime that they commit to because when you start it’s really hard. Maybe you’ve never really worked out before so you have no idea what you’re doing. Or maybe you used to workout all the time but you’ve lost all the strength you used to have. It can be discouraging to want to lift certain weights or run certain distances and not be able to. At times, you may even feel like you’ll never be able to do it. Or perhaps you feel like you’re working really hard every day but you’re not seeing your body change.
I’ve found myself in this place the last few days. I’ve been doing all the right things. Eating a balanced, reasonably portioned diet. I’ve been working out hard every day but it doesn’t look like my body is really responding yet. I was particularly bummed out when over the weekend I went shopping because I’ve very few things that fit me quite right and was relegated to having to purchase pants two sizes bigger than what I was previously wearing. It can make you stop and wonder if everything you’re doing is even worth it.
Just when I thought I was getting ready to go into a death spiral, I remembered some amazing facts about the human body that I think will help those of you out there on the same long trip be a little less hard on yourself.
- It can take between 4 to 8 weeks before you start to see any real muscle definition. Even if you’re lifting all the things! ( How Long Should It Take to See Muscle Definition? Women’s Health Mag )
- You can expect to gain about a 1/2 lb of muscle every two weeks. Blame estrogen but thank God we’re tinier than dudes so our muscles potentially could shine through first! (How Much Muscle Can You Gain?)
- You need protein to build those muscles so start eating all the protein heavy things, steak, chicken, spirulina, beans, quinoa, whatever floats your boat, so long as it’s gonna help reach your grams intake for the day. Which according to most experts these days is about 1 gram of protein per pound on you. (Really wishing I weighed less right now!)
- You’re going to be weak in the beginning. Your body is not used to what you’re asking it to do but because it’s not used to it you’re set to make amazing gains without a whole lot of weight or effort just yet.
- Your body will tell you it’s changing in other ways. For example, I was chronically in need of decongestants throughout the day to keep my nose clear and since starting to work out every day I haven’t needed anything in about 5 days. You may find that you have more energy (when you’re muscles aren’t sore) or that you can focus better. These victories are just as great as losing another pound on the scale.
- And as for that scale, forget it! It’s a liar! You may notice that the number is not changing but your body is. This means you’re gaining muscle! Muscle is good because it’s going to supercharge your metabolism. So break out the measuring tape!
The point is keep going. There’s a morning that’s closer than you think where you’re going to wake up looking like…YOU WORKOUT! And it’s going to feel so damn good and all the sore days are going to be worth it. Let me know in the comments how your fitness journey is going and the changes you’re noticing thus far. We’re in this together ladies!