(plus my personal workout plan)
Terrible stomach pains woke me in the morning minutes before the alarm was due. I looked in the mirror and knew something in my life was off.
I wanted to write. I wanted to be creative. But I was too tired. My stomach had rebelled for weeks, I haven’t slept enough and did not have much energy, and I was unhappy about myself.
I wanted my life to change. But where would I start if EVERYTHING seemed off somehow? I was overwhelmed, frustrated.
This was about one year ago. My life had changed in many ways back then. I finished my studies, was recently married and found myself at an impasse, lost and without any goals.
Up until December 2016, I was rethinking my priorities, and the end of the year moved me to new decisions – my life would change through my daily routines.
Those were my two top priorities: establishing a writing routine, and a fitness routine including healthy eating habits.
Now, reevaluating my decision as half of the year is over (which is scary!), I see how much had changed since. This is what a fitness routine and change in eating habits did for me:
1. I feel great about myself
Since I can remember, I was unhappy with my looks and body shape. I guess it’s every girl’s curse, and nowadays even men are victims. It’s not that I wanted to be skinny, it was just a general feeling of dissatisfaction with my body.
A gym routine changed this completely. Visually, the difference is not particularly visible (yet), which is fine. But I FEEL great, every single time I overcome my inner lazy slacker and leave the gym after a workout, I feel amazing. And I know that – as this is my lifestyle now – the changes will come slowly over time, which is much more healthy for the body.
2. I am less stressed
It’s true. I am happier than before, and I can process stress much easier now.
3. My day has a consistency
My typical day starts with a writing session followed by a gym session. I suddenly feel an incredible consistency and am empowered by it.
4. I have more energy and health
My stomach pains have stopped since I changed my eating and workout habits, and I feel much more energized throughout the day.
5. I am confident about life changes and my own strength
In other words: I know I can do it! This spreads throughout all my areas of life. I know I can workout regularly, change my health, and thus I know I can also write regularly and be successful in my job, day in day out.
6. I know that success comes in smaller portions
We all want INSTANT change. But this is not how life works, at least not if we want it to last.
Instant changes never last – we might hunger ourselves to lose weight, but as we start eating normally again, it will be back up. We might get a one hit wonder and get rich fast, but this won’t last long and will never happen again.
This is not what I want. I want my body to change over time, and I want to maintain my body shape. This requires a lifestyle of working out. That’s why I urge everybody to find a workout they love, and they can imagine doing for at least the next five or ten years.
The same goes with our dreams and careers. If we put in daily work over time, the things will change for good. It’s the universal law of sowing and harvest – it always works.
7. I have more ideas
Lastly, for the creatives out there:
Because I am so preoccupied with the workout, my unconscious has time to process and come up with ideas!
My personal workout plan
Just for practical advice, I wanted to share my workout plan with you. You’ll have to adjust it to your own life, habits, and possibilities, but this can serve as a blueprint.
For the first three months, when I was an absolute beginner, I subscribed to the program: Pamstrong.
For all the beginners, it’s an excellent program which is also affordable – this is rare when it comes to fitness programs on the internet.
It has a 12-week training section that leads you into all the necessary basics one after another. The program requires to go to the gym four times a week, and divides the days as follows:
LEGS I – a leg workout
PUSH – chest and triceps workout
LEGS II – another leg workout
PULL – back and biceps workout
This is a structure I kept up until this day because I think it’s amazing!
Other than that, there are useful sections on nutrition, discussing the basics such as calories and macros. Those are basics everybody working out should know.
Also, there are amazing recipes for all times of the day. Everything is beautifully and professionally packaged.
This program makes it easy to kickstart the fitness journey!
I work out four times a week, whatever will come. This is a perfect number for me as I can fit it into my everyday life.
As mentioned above, I stick to two days of leg workout, and a push and a pull day. Additionally, I work out shoulders with push and pull, and abs after the legs. Plus, I always try to incorporate HIT into my workouts, especially with the legs.
My eating habits
I’ll be honest with you. I am a snacker. Especially if I sit at my desk and write – I need my snacks. So before I go any further, I’ll tell you this: I frequently fall and eat an ice-cream, chocolate or other treats here and there. Don’t even get me started on popcorn. But that’s life! The next day, I get up and swear I’ll never do this again.
I always record my food with the Lifesum App.
I adjusted my macros to 34% Carbs, 25% Protein, and 41% Fat because I want to lose fat and gain muscles. You have no idea how many carbs I was eating before I started tracking (and still sometimes do, on my bad days)!
I record everything, literally everything, because there is no point cheating on myself. First, it was difficult, but now this is an integrated part of my life, and it comes easily to me. Sometimes on Sundays, I allow myself not to record, but I still try to get my protein for the day and avoid too many carbs.
I recently started doing intermitted fasting on a 16/8 hours period, which means I eat from 12 pm to 8 pm only – which I think is amazing!
For breakfast, I eat greek yogurt with “Good Berries and Oats” from the GoodGuru, some fresh berries or fruit and granola cereals from MyMuesli.
For lunch, I meal prep and get a salad or a smoothie for dinner.
When it comes to food: make it simple! Don’t overcook or overthink. Try to get some routines in – like breakfast or dinner, and also some variation.
I hope it was helpful in any way, and I just want to encourage you: If you are stuck in your life or creativity, try to start a healthy and athletic lifestyle, because this will do so much more for your creative life than you imagine.
Fitness has become a trend online, but I think what we should strive for most importantly is a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. For us creatives, it’s not about the sexy pictures on Instagram, but rather about building a body of work that is impactful. But we can only build if we are healthy and strong. So let’s use the trend to our advantage!