How Fitness Helped My Self-Confidence

Good Morning my lovelies. Happy hump day! I hope you’re all having a good week so far. Today, on Simply AJ, I’m talking all things fitness and how it has helped my self-confidence.

As you know from my last post, a lot of things changed for me in January. When I look back, I actually realise it’s for the better. Especially when I look at the me I am today. Anyway, with lots of sudden free time on my hands, I decided to put my energy and focus into going to the gym.

At first, I wondered whether my body would cope with the exercise regime. As you know, I didn’t have the best of times with my health between August and December last year. This meant that I worried if my health would decline with the sudden exertion it would experience.

Of course, I never pushed my body past what I thought it could handle… The first day I went to the gym, I think I was only there about 30 minutes max, 5 of which would have been getting changed. However, in making sure I’ve listened to my body, it has led to me being able to go to the gym 2-3 times a week AND beat personal best’s every time. The difference in my fitness levels, my energy levels and my strength is immense. It’s this progress that keeps me going, motivates me and, ultimately, pushes me to keep improving.

Today, I'm talking all things fitness, including training for the Great North Run, how it helped my self-confidence & tips on how you can get into fitness.

The Great North Run

It’s this progress and determination that must have led to the (very silly) idea to do the Great North Run in September. Actually, in three and a half weeks to be precise – argh! It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for the last few years, but I was never in the position to be able to.

As this decision wasn’t made until April, my only way to enter was through a charity. I was always going to run for a charity, so this wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately though, there were no more places at my preferred charity (hence why I’d rather have entered as an individual). It is one that holds great importance to my family. However, with that one out of the equation, I struggled to decide on another one. Obviously, I still wanted the charity to mean something to me.

Back in November/December, I was put back through the diagnosis process once again. I was having major problems with my lower back, but it needed to be investigated to see if it was part of my JHS or something different. This meant doctors and hospitals; blood tests, x-rays and MRI’s; GP’s and consultants; the whole shebang. After all of that, they discovered that, in addition to my JHS, I have two mild forms of arthritis.

It, therefore, seemed fitting to run for Versus Arthritis. Besides myself, it is something that many of my family suffer with. From my brother and parents through to aunties, uncles and my Nan. In fact, there are over 10 million people living with arthritis (not in my family, of course!). That’s why Versus Arthritis exist to

“develop breakthrough treatments, campaign relentlessly for arthritis to be seen as a priority, challenge how people see arthritis and ensure that everyone has access to the best information, advice and support”.

So, if you have any money to spare, please consider donating to my JustGiving page, here.

Self-Confidence

I’m not ashamed to admit that my self-confidence has never been the best. Those that know me well will tell you I’m that person that couldn’t take compliments, didn’t fully believe in myself and tried to divert any and all attention away from me.

So, how has my fitness journey helped my self-confidence?

  • Endorphins = happiness. Exercising causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins. These help relieve pain and stress and improve happiness.
  • Sense of achievement. The constant progress and beating of PB’s gives me something to be proud of.
  • Strength and muscle development. My body is changing physically with every session and self-confidence is coming naturally with a more defined figure.
  • Better physical health. Better physical health has meant that I’ve had fewer flare-ups in recent months. This helps my confidence, because I know there is less chance of me having to cancel on plans at the last minute, have days off work and, obviously, feeling very unproductive.
  • Routine. Because I’ve gotten into a bit of a routine, both with fitness and at home, it means that I’m less stressed about things I’ve, perhaps, forgotten to do. Nothing like memory problems to contribute to low self-confidence.

All of this, and knowing my own self-worth (in my last post), has led to a much more confident me. Yes, I still have periods where it’s low – doesn’t everybody? – but, for the most part, it’s so much better.

5 Tips On Getting Into Fitness

Of course, I’m no pro at this whole exercise thing. But here’s five of my best tips that helped me start my fitness journey, especially as someone with a chronic illness:

  1. Start small and work up. If you push yourself too hard too early, you may well end up injuring yourself, losing your enjoyment or even just exhausting yourself before you’ve even begun. Take it slow and find your rhythm.
  2. Find something you enjoy. If you enjoy something, it generally means that you’ll stick at it. Therefore, finding something you enjoy will help you get into it. Once you’ve developed a routine, then you can branch out.
  3. Try classes. If you’re a social butterfly and enjoy meeting new people, try some of the classes at your local gym. It’s not something I’ve tried myself (I like putting my headphones in and ignoring the world), but I have seen lots of people at my gym who met through these classes and have made a buddy because of them.
  4. Remind yourself why you’re doing it. This is always something that will keep you going. I started at the gym because I wanted to be fitter and actually be able to run for more than 2 minutes before feeling like my heart would beat right out my chest. Finding your reason will be a great motivator.
  5. Create a routine. Creating a routine at the gym, or wherever you work out, will really help you stick to it. Having a routine means it’s much easier to track your progress. Example: if you start out at 5 minutes on 3 different machines , when you get to 10 minutes on each machine you can see the instant progress.

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So, with all of that, if you’re looking to get into exercising, or improve your fitness, I really hope today’s post has helped. Don’t forget, I’m always here if you want to ask any questions!

Also, if you wish to donate, or even share, my JustGiving page you can do so here. Any and all help is very much appreciated!

In the meantime, you’ll find me rigorously training in the gym to prepare for 3 weeks time! Follow along on my socials (here) to see how I get on on the day!

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Until next week AJ’ers,

Abbie @ simplyaj.co.uk

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