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We’ve all been there. You’ve started a new exercise program, or you finally signed up for that new gym down the street.
The first few weeks are great! You’re waking up early for your 6 am workout and you’re eating balanced meals round the clock.
Then, you miss one workout. Then two, then three. You tell yourself that you’re tired today, you’ll go tomorrow, or maybe you just don’t simply have time anymore.
If you haven’t been there, let me tell ya, I certainly have. I always start strong, only to fall off and wonder what happened to the gung ho girl from a few weeks ago.
This doesn’t mean that you have some fatal flaw, or you simply aren’t cut for working out. It just means that you’re human! We all struggle to start and keep up good habits.
So what’s the fix?
I interviewed Estelle from ECFitness to provide you guys with some tips and tricks from someone who’s been through it. Estelle is a personal trainer and nutrition specialist with years of experience under her belt.
She kindly answered eleven commonly asked questions about fitness and working out. Her bio and links to a few freebies will be down below, so keep reading to the end to check those out.
All about Estelle!
Hi! My name is Estelle Christine and I’m the founder of ECFitness (EC stands for my name). I’m your California girl turned world traveler when I decided to move to Shanghai.
I specialize in helping women gain confidence through functional strength training and food education.
Why? I do this because I believe that every woman should feel confident and comfortable in her skin. That is what I am here to help with!
I haven’t always been confident and comfortable either – it’s been a looong road. That is why I wake up so passionate every day and work so hard to help you. My aim is to help you get your goals in clear focus and give you the tools and guidance to make the changes you want. I want yo to love your body, and all that it can do.
As your coach, I am your cheerleader and I give you that tough love. But I’ll also be dancing from afar when you get those non-scale victories.
Check out my website to learn more about what I do!
Book a FREE Discovery Call with me here. I’d LOVE to meet you!
Or jump in and start your 1 Week FREE Trial with me! (Use the code 7DAYTRIAL)
1. How do you stay motivated to exercise?
To be honest, I’m not always motivated.
Motivation and willpower are like a fully charged battery. If you only use and never charge, then you will eventually run out. This is why you are most motivated on Monday and just want to let loose on the weekends.
In the beginning, motivation and eliminating barriers was the most important thing. Then, as time went on, my self-discipline became stronger, exercise became a habit, and motivation was not needed so often.
2. Have you always been into fitness?
I wouldn’t say I’ve always been into fitness. I have always been interested in the human body. It’s functional, beautiful, and quite frankly a miracle all at the same time.
Since high school my career pursuits have gone from nurse to paramedic, to midwife, and now to personal training.
I decided to get into personal training because I experienced how exercise and understanding the human body more deeply had improved my quality of life physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.
3. How often/how long should I work out?
It’s totally up to you!! The best workout is the one you are going to do. I recommend looking at your schedule and seeing what time you WANT to dedicate to it.
Ask yourself how much time you WANT to dedicate and what is going to be REALISTIC and SUSTAINABLE. If you can’t see yourself doing the same thing in 6 months, then it’s not for you.
4. Do you track what you eat?
Sometimes. I don’t like to track to judge or restrict myself but to become more aware of what I’m eating.
Once I feel like I have that down, I will stop tracking. For some people tracking is awesome! For me, it can become an unhealthy obsession, so I can’t do it long-term.
It’s all about what works for you.
5. What’s the best workout I can do on a time crunch?
It depends on what your goals are, but for the general population, I would recommend an upper/lower body circuit.
Choose three upper body exercises, three lower body exercises, and two core exercises. Make sure they are all compound movements (multi-joint) and turn them into a circuit.
1st Circuit: Upper Body Exercise 1 into Lower Body Exercise 1
2nd Circuit: Upper Body Exercise 2 into Lower Body Exercise 2
3rd Circuit: Upper Body Exercise 3 into Lower Body Exercise 3
4th Circuit: Alternate Core Exercises
Keep the rest in between exercises minimal and do each circuit 2-4 times.
It’ll look something like this:
Do all exercises 2-4 sets 8-15 reps.
Keep the rest time in between exercises minimal:
Squat into Push-Up
Deadlift into Dumbbell Row
Hip Thrust into Shoulder Press
Do core exercises 30-60 seconds each
5. Side Plank (each side)
6. With so much of the workout world focused on losing weight, do you have any advice for those trying to gain weight healthily?
Absolutely!!! You just apply the opposite concept for if someone wanted to lose weight. To lose weight, one must burn more calories than are consumed.
So if someone wanted to gain weight, you just need to eat more calories than are burned. I recommend beginning in a very slim calorie excess and gradually increasing intake.
Make sure you’re still exercising to a reasonable degree – your body still needs movement! Try to get your extra calories from healthy high-cal foods like avocado, quinoa, chia, dates, nuts, and seeds.
Smoothies are another great thing if you want to gain weight! There is nothing easier than drinking your calories.
7. How can I get over my fear of going to the weights section of the gym?
Many people will just tell you to get over it. I would never say that! Your fears are valid and deserve to be addressed.
If you don’t want to go over there right now, you don’t have to. Try getting some weights and experimenting (with direction) at home.
If you have a friend who is more confident in that area of the gym, ask if you can go with them! You can make it a goal to try one new machine or type of equipment in that area each time you go.
You don’t need to do anything heavy or crazy, Just get used to that one machine, how to operate it, and the movement that it helps you perform.
Side Note: Part of my passion is helping women who are intimidated by this area of the gym. Before asking them to work in that area, I make sure they are confident with those movements and how to use the equipment.
If you are intimidated by this area but want to gain confidence over there, I am your girl! I am here to walk you through every step. I used to be the same way.
8. I can’t afford a gym membership right now. Do I need weights to workout?
Not at all! There are TONS of things you can do at home without weights or any equipment at all. Before getting regular at the gym, I worked out at home for years without even one little weight.
9. What should I eat before/after a workout? Do I always need to eat before a workout?
If you don’t want to eat, don’t. I tell people to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re content. It’s that simple.
However, if you want to optimize exercise performance, there are things you could eat within/as you snack or meal before you workout.
Physical exertion requires a lot of energy and the easiest thing for your body to get energy from are fast carbs and sugars like root vegetables, fruit, dairy (if your gut can handle it), and raw honey!
As for post-workout, it depends on the type of exercise you did, but in general, a combination of protein and complex carbs is the best way to go. But again, if you’re not hungry, you don’t need to eat.
10. What should I do on days where I have zero motivation to workout?
This one is tough because it’s where self-discipline and having a plan comes into play. Even the most elite athletes lack motivation from time to time.
If you’re just starting, I highly recommend having a support group and a method to hold yourself accountable. Make sure you have a solid and detailed workout plan (not just what your workout is, but the time and place as well).
11. What tips do you have for a person who struggles to meal prep? Or meal prepping in general?
If you want to meal prep, don’t try to get all fancy in the beginning. Invest in Tupperware that is the proper size for your meals and is easy to store.
Keep your meals simple and as you gain confidence and speed, you can fancy it up if you want.
There you have it!
Eleven sure-fire ways to help you make exercise part of your daily life. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the info, why not try one thing at a time?
I’ve found that trying to implement too many things in my life at the same time causes me to fail at all of them.
For example, try choosing one new thing to do each week. Perhaps this week you’ll try to start a simple meal prep plan. Maybe next week you can connect with a friend who’s more confident in the gym than you are.
In other words, don’t make it feel like a chore, make it fun! We all love fun things, and we’re more likely to continue a good habit if we enjoy it.
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