Usually, I am not great about posting journals on my own page here at the RT site. Mainly, I go to the RT Store or browse all the cool videos here that make me lol. However, one show in particular has drawn my attention. Most of you can guess from the title, that show is "Buff Buddies" with Zach Anner, Meg Turney and Josh the Murder at the RTX guy.
Without going into too much personal detail on the first date, I will start by saying this: I am currently struggling with confidence in my physical condition. I am 20 years old, in college and trying to piece together what I want to pursue for the rest of my life. Though some might not perceive me as such (and I often try not to expose it), I feel unhealthy. From my eating habits, my lack of exercise and general body-thinking, I have not keep in what I'd consider 'good shape'.
Now, I'm not referring to 'good shape' as in six-pack abs, trap muscles the size of cantaloupes or thighs that could crush a Nokia phone. I mean 'good shape' as in taking care of myself, both mentally and physically.
I wholesomely believe that diet and exercise can be a physical AND mental concept. Which is precisely why, for the rest of this journal, I will keep it low-calorie and fat free. I also hope that my personal journal here can help some of you in the RT community who are looking for answers as to the more psychological side of getting/being healthy.
Of course, these three individuals make me laugh with every appearance they have in RT videos, as well as on their individual YouTube channel content. This show has come at a critical point in my life. I am in my senior year of college, with everything crashing down on me like the world's tallest stack of flapjacks (mmm...). Everything seems to be falling into place...like, right on top of me. Between classes, resume-building, research, homework, work-work, extracurricular activities and keeping a sliver of a social life going (?), these past few months have not been easy-going.
Since my university started courses back up in September, my physical and mental condition had taken a backseat to the workload of a full-time student. I ignored any inclination to go to the gym, ate whatever was in front of me and kept going like there were not enough hours in the day. Because I was living non-stop busy, I would find myself extremely vulnerable to insecurities about the physical state of my body. I would avoid looking in the mirror because I hated the truth about what I had sacrificed about my health to gain time to...essentially be more stressed.
I live right next door to the university's rec center. Like, I could throw a rock and hit a window there...which would cost me something like a $500 university fine, but the point being is that fitness is right there. What killed me about working out was that I used to do it quite frequently. Last semester, I had actually lived farther away from the rec center at another dorm building. But the roommates I had back then were heavy into fitness and staying in shape. I learned a lot from both of them about workout routines, healthy eating and which supplements to trust my body with and which ones to avoid. So, to have this knowledge and not utilize it at all was a harsh realization for me. I knew what I had to do to maintain a physically healthy lifestyle, but I was confused as to why I lacked the motivation to take the first step.
A few years ago, I was officially diagnosed with depression. A case that ran on my mom's side of the family. I took medication to try to balance the neurotransmitters in my brain that affect mood and emotions. With the help of the medication and counseling, I was able to identify parts of my life that were mentally destructive to me. I worked for a long time on readjusting my daily routine to be more beneficial to my mental health. As of August this year, I was permitted to go off the medication and to try to tackle my mental health on my own. It was during this time where I felt most vulnerable about both my physical and mental state. With the support of family and friends, I was able to narrow down a gray fog of thoughts to a central focus: my future.
What eventually became apparent to me was yes, I am in my last year of college. I will soon graduate and head out into the open-world of reality. Not only this, but there is no time like now to introduce this kind of change into my life.
So the journal that you are reading now is the product of this last line of thinking. As a psychology major, I have learned a lot about the mind and various processes that contribute to our everyday interactions and thought processes. Like my previous knowledge of fitness from my roommates, this psychological knowledge does not make me able to automatically switch everything about my thinking to be 100% great. If anything, I had become more critical of myself than ever. But what I had recently learned, from a wise professor whom I have been doing research with for a while now, is that a motivated mind leads to a motivated body.
I know once the pilot of "Buff Buddies" released that now was the best time to put my words into action and start reaching for some goals. Without having a set weight or time-stretch goal, I am committing myself to working on me.
Here is the part where I share some of what I am initially doing to get motivated, as well as what some of my routine consists of:
- Everyday, I make myself a protein shake. As I've learned from my friends and have seen on sites such as bodybuilding.com, "at least 1 protein shake a day (even in the off days) works to repair and restore your muscles. Even rest days are crucial because your muscles are still in a malleable state from your workouts"
**I should note that my measurements are based on a 20 oz. Oster bottle. It's convenient because you can blend the ingredients right in the bottle**
My usual protein shake consists of...
-2% or Fat-Free Milk
-2-3 scoops of organic, unsalted peanut butter (my favorite is 'Teddy's')
-1 whole banana (helps with the texture in my opinion, along with needed potassium for energy)
-2-3 good-sized ice cubes (keeps it cold and regulates thickness of shake)
-2 scoops of protein. In my case, I use a chocolate flavor to make a chocolate/peanut butter combination in the shake
-1 rounded teaspoon of creatine. I personally use unflavored so that I can't taste it in the shake, but there are many brands and flavors to choose from!
That's my basic go-to protein shake. Some optional ingredients I put in are:
-1 raw egg ("moar protein")
-A bit of granola. I know 'NatureValley' sells large bags of different kinds of granola for pretty cheap. I use the peanut butter granola for consistency. Tastes great on yogurt too!
Outside of the protein shake, I try to regulate my diet, but not to the point where I am starving myself of anything my body craves.
One of the more important things I have learned is that it is important to listen to your body every now and then. This is how you avoid serious injuries while working out as well as keep a good, healthy mind about body image in terms of eating.
Think about it. It is very hard to quit anything cold-turkey. To quit multiple foods and drinks cold turkey at the same time must be even more difficult. This is why I emphasize the word 'regulate'. Don't deprive yourself of something forever, but also don't indulge in it as a luxury. I had 2 cookies yesterday when I could have had 7. That is progress to me.
Again, this is a bit subjective to my own situation living on-campus at school and within the boundaries of my schedule.
Starting out in the past couple of weeks, I strive for 2-3 solid workouts a week, spread out as best as possible. So, a good workout week for me would be Tuesday night, Thursday night and Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Some times my schedule throws a wrench in my plans, so I have to improvise. In that case, I use the space in my room to do push-ups, sit-ups, dips (with a stable chair) and planks.
I do a lot of planks because my core is something that I often fail to exercise correctly when I'm at the gym. Instead of a silent count, I will usually listen to music and gauge the length of a plank from there.
So, there you guys have it! This is my first post contributing to #BuffBuddies. I want to note that I am certainly not a professional fitness instructor or psychological master. I am a member of this great community of awesome individuals who all strive to help one another and this is my part for the community.
***I also want to thank Zach, Meg and Josh for starting this series for not only yourselves, but the RT community! I know watching you guys has helped me make the first step.***
If you have any questions about specifics in this post, or just want to know more about me, feel free to message me! :)