Mischa .
How working out 5 times a week has changed my life

How working out 5 times a week has changed my life

This simple realization changed everything about how I approached workouts. Trust me, it's so easy—you can start doing it today.

We all know it; physical activity should form a critical part of our lives; otherwise, we risk slowly putting ourselves in a position where we risk developing all manner of health problems. However, as you are well aware, the world is increasingly becoming obese, as our ways of life, our jobs, modernization, our desire for convenience, our diet, and our busy schedules make it harder for us to live the kind of life that most of us know we should be living. The effect of that is an unhealthy, unfit, unhappy, depressed society that seems just too busy and too lazy to do anything.

I say this because I have been part of the statistic.

I have always wanted to be healthy and fit, and almost every year, physical fitness has been on my priority list. But just like many people, my intentions never translated to results for a very long time. I lacked consistency (I was erratic)—sometimes I was very active, and then shortly after, I would go for a very long time without working out. It didn't help that I had a hectic work schedule, which often got in the way of my workout programs initially (I felt I could just postpone working out, especially when I had a lot of work).

All that, coupled with the fact that I was drinking more, ate more, and wasn't working out consistently, all resulted in a number of things; I gained weight and became a lot unhappier with my life and overall body image. I would go for occasional runs, trying to push myself when I started noticing I was becoming too unfit, but unfortunately, the running shoes I used to have could not do more than 8-10km without me experiencing shin splints.

I tried everything in a bid to stay physically active, including walking downwards.

I knew I needed to change the strategy I had been following for years because clearly, it seemed I was just not achieving what I intended to achieve. I knew continuing to do the same thing wouldn't bring any different results, so I set out to understand where I was going wrong so that I could fix it once and for all so as to make working out a part of my life.

Why did I feel the need to change, you may wonder?

Well, I felt a strong need to change because I had noticed a pattern; whenever I worked out, I used to experience bursts of energy, was a lot more productive in my work and generally felt good about myself—just the act of working out made me feel good. That, coupled with the fact that I was experiencing a lot of positive motivation from my workout buddy, led me into a journey of self-exploration to make working out a part of my life.

This simple realization changed everything about how I approached workouts

Upon taking a keen look at how I had been doing things, I realized that my focus and resolution every year had always been about my physique; working out was just a means to an end—which in my case had been to lose weight and become stronger. The problem I noticed with that is that everything seemed to be results-oriented. Unfortunately, you can't see or experience any instant results with these type of goals. In fact, it is possible to go for weeks without seeing any movement on the scale—possibly because you may be gaining muscle, even if you are losing fat. As with any goal, if you can't see noticeable progress, it is very easy to get distracted and just give up before the results become visible/noticeable. What's more, after bingeing on something, when I worked out to burn it off, I felt I had successfully burned those calories from the unhealthy foods I had taken. It turns out it wasn't so straightforward.

What I needed was to commit to a goal that I could track every day—something not pegged on something else. So I set hitting the gym the habit without putting focus on my physical goals. This meant I could directly measure my progress on an ongoing, daily basis as opposed to waiting for my body to do its magic to see a desirable movement in the mirror. I knew I couldn't control how and how soon my body responded after workouts so when I made "going to the gym" the goal, I removed the obsession with the mirror and scale.

And the results have been tremendous

Now more than ever:

  • I feel awake and fresh
  • I am happier
  • I feel good about myself
  • I am more productive throughout the day
  • I get stuff done faster (I only take about 6 hours doing what I used to do in 8 hours)
  • I am more focused
  • I am able to control my impulses with greater ease—for example, I don't drink as I often did before and don't just eat everything I can get
  • I have a better mindset and more alert

All that is in addition to being fitter, having better body composition, losing belly fat, and building muscles despite struggling to do that for years.

Workout progress

It is not that complicated

My workout regime has not been a complicated one. I do my best to keep things simple because this makes it a lot easier for me to work out every day. 

My workout regime looks something like this:

  • Mondays: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps)
  • Tuesdays: Pull (back, shoulders, biceps)
  • Wednesdays: Legs (quads, calves, abs)
  • Thursdays: Rest (this is my daddy day though I sometimes do HIIT)
  • Fridays: Upper (chest, back, shoulders, arms)
  • Saturdays: Legs (hamstrings, calves, abs)
  • Sundays: Rest

In addition to working out daily for 5 days a week (at sometimes even 7 days), I am careful with what I eat these days—I follow a strict diet, depending on my goals at a given time. For example—at the time of writin—since I am now trying to bulk up, I was following a 3200kcal meal plan from January to April. Now I started with a cut going from maintenance (2500kcal) to about 2200/2000 kcal for the upcoming months. I use MyFitnessPal to track everything I eat and drink—although I tend to stay away from drinks that contain calories.

It has been a team effort

I would not have done it all alone. I have an experienced friend who holds me accountable in my journey to building a habit of working out. We always meet at 10 am for workouts and go through our workout plans, talk about various everyday things, reflect on our journeys and have lots of fun while working out. I would say this has been one of the biggest reasons why I have been able to build the habit of working out because even when I don't feel like hitting the gym, there is someone to call me out—someone I have committed to—and who will go out of their way to make sure I don't miss my workouts. What's more; the fact that we train together makes things even easier because we can cheer each other on to train harder and just go all in.

Oh, and one more thing. When I finish my workouts, I dress up to go to work—I don't go to work with my gym clothes and I find that very effective, as it makes me feel I have accomplished something already.

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