I have now been fully committed to exercise for 5 months and aside from the obvious weight loss and muscle gain, I have noticed several other side effects that I attribute to working out.
Firstly, I smile more. I know, this sounds ridiculous but it is true.Take this photo for example. I am a hot mess here having just completed a practice. My face is tomato red, there are sweat droplets on my top lip (post about sweating to come soon) and I felt like I needed to collapse. But I just couldn’t help smiling at having nailed my workout. And it is not just after exercising that I find myself smiling. I catch myself in the mirror and have a wee smile at the little differences in my body. I see the muscles in my arms and I am pure delighted with them, causing me to break out in a smile. Even my mum has commented that I just appear happier and it’s because I am smiling more.
Another side effect I have noticed is that I have more energy. I have to confess, I have not nailed the nutrition part of being healthier; I just love food too much. However, even just through working out, I am finding myself rejuvenated and full of beans. I actually feel like I have turned back the years. Traditionally I have been a lazy person. I can lose hours awake in my bed, procrastinating and avoiding all the life admin that I need to do. In the 5 months since joining TFW, I no longer do this. I even find myself getting up on my day off to join the 6:30am practice (who am I) because I know I will come home, have some breakfast and get on with my day. This is a marked difference from my traditional routine of sleeping till 10:30am and then wasting away in bed till 2pm. Exercise has literally given me time in my life. I now have so much time and energy that I don’t know what to do with myself (possibly how this blog started).
Possible the best side effect I have found is gaining confidence. I have always been the person who appears to be the life and soul of the party. I have a big personality to match my big body and definitely come across as confident. However, most of it is a front. I am actually really insecure and am constantly in my own head. I question everything I wear, I question everything I say, I even question why people are my friends. Since I ‘discovered’ exercise, I have gained so much confidence.
I wore this top on a night out having bought it 8 months earlier and not feeling able to wear it. And this was only 1 month into my fitness journey. I gained confidence at work, finally feeling good about my abilities in my role. I even applied for a new position at work (I didn’t get it but not important). It was as if I had just decided that I was good enough and I could do it. In fact, I feel like I could do almost anything I put my mind to. I tried riding a motorbike this week, something I had always wanted to do and I actually did really well.
I know there is loads of science around exercise and endorphins and I probably haven’t really believed in it before now. Even when I have had the worst day, I push myself to go and train and I come out happier. I can be so stressed I am on the verge of tears but after beasting through some squats and sprints I am ready to take on the world again. It is like the best free and legal drug I could have hoped for.
Has anyone else discovered side effects from getting fit? What sort of things have changed in your life that you attribute to working out? I would love to hear any great stories to keep me motivated.