Changes to my diet and workout regime
It was crucial that I had to build up my upper-body strength. I stopped running and changed my diet completely. Here are some of the alterations I made:
Less cardio, more strength
I started doing Pilates at home after a quick cardio warm-up under 10 minutes. My inadequate upper-body strength was evident when I could not even do a single push-up. To add salt to the wound, I could only hold a plank pose for a minute.
However, with much resilience and encouragement from my peers, I pressed on, and slowly became stronger and built more muscles. While there is still room for improvement, I feel a lot stronger and fitter.
If you want to start on some strength-building exercises, you can check out Cassey Ho’s PopPilates workouts on YouTube. Cassey, also known for her YouTube Channel Blogilates, has both beginner-friendly and intermediate workouts on her channel. Some of them are even under 30 minutes! Check out Cassey’s channel here.
Refuel Energy after a Workout
After an hour of Pilates or other workouts, I always make an effort to consume protein-rich foods such as boiled eggs. Compensating for the energy that went into a workout is what keeps you stronger and fitter than before.
Some other post-workout meals I have tried include: steamed chicken, Banana and Peanut Butter protein smoothie, and almonds.
Sleep for at least 8 hours a day
Did you know that insufficient sleep can have adverse effects on our appetite? I got very little sleep in 2016 because I was up all night finishing essays or worrying about deadlines. This led to poor appetite the next day.
Ensuring you attain ample or sufficient sleep is key in improving your productivity in fitness, work, or even in managing errands the following day. Furthermore, sleeping enough improves your skin and mood!
Eat more carbs and healthy fats
Repeat after me – CARBS ARE GOOD FOR YOU. While over-indulging in carbs may give you a food coma, eating a sufficient amount of carbohydrates is believed to stabilise moods and give you energy! Be sure to eat wholesome and hearty carbohydrates like brown rice, oatmeal, and wholemeal bread.
Eating healthy fats such as almonds, avocado and salmon helped me suppress cravings for unhealthy snacks that are rich in sugar and salt. Do not be deterred by the “fat” terminology! Our body needs some fat in order to keep our immune and cardiovascular system stable.
Try Different Workouts
I experimented with different fitness activities. These would challenge your body in different ways. Finding a sport you enjoy is essential in ensuring you stick to a routine in the long-run. For me, some of my favourite activities include Pilates, Yoga and Pole dance. Regardless, just remember to have fun!
My weight has since stabilised at 49 kg and I stand at 1.63 m in height today. I feel stronger and more at home with my body. I’m still working on getting stronger physically, while making sure I have fun with the sport and lifestyle changes I’ve decided to pick up.
Overweight or underweight – both have their share of health-related issues to deal with. If you find that your BMI is lower than healthy range, and are experiencing problems in your health or fitness, don’t brush the issues off like I did previously. With some determination and discipline, you can build a stronger body.