Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

I never thought I would love fitness this much, but here we are! I joined the gym a month ago and I am honestly so proud of myself for pushing myself to go. I have been wanting to join a gym for a couple years now but the idea of working out in front of other people terrified me. I have experienced a lot of anxiety surrounding the way I view my body and my fitness, and I have felt a lot of shame. However, I knew that could only be beaten if I just joined and started working out and working though the fears!

Pushing myself to join

It's kind of like the 'fuck it' philosophy. I had been thinking about joining the gym for forever, but it took one 'fuck it' moment for me to ask a friend where they go and then sign up for my induction. I think that's the best way to do things. There wasn't a massive lead up on the day of me waking up and saying "I'm going to join the gym today", I just did it without thinking too much about it. It worked, I booked my induction for the next morning and told myself that I had to get up and do it.

I was super nervous going into my induction. I had spent too long thinking about going to the gym and then overthinking about all the things that could go wrong. What if people see how unfit I am? What if I fall on the treadmill? What if I break a machine? What if someone finds it funny how little I can lift? But I went to my induction, at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, because I had it booked in so I had to go! The trainer was lovely and informative and I was actually the only one who had turned up to the induction so I got to have a go on almost everything with the guidance of the trainer. By the end of the induction, I felt so much more confident about my choice to join the gym! I felt like I knew the basics and I knew how to use most of the machines with proper form. That was all it took for me to feel fine about going to the gym and working out around others.

Why am I going to the gym?

I've been fine with my appearance lately, and I have worked on my confidence a great deal, so why have I finally decided to join the gym? Surprisingly, it isn't because I want to lose weight and slim down. I just want to feel healthier and stronger! I start every workout with a session of cardio because I have been so sluggish and I have felt so fed up about feeling tired and out of energy all the time. It feels good to get the blood pumping and work up a bit of a sweat! I then move on to weight machines, my favourite part of the gym! I have already seen such a difference in my ability to lift and I am always building up the weight and trying to lift heavier!

How I feel after a month

I am already stronger and fitter! I still hate cardio (like, a lot) but I have surprised myself with how I still push myself to do it! I can be very inconsistent and unmotivated with these things so I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping it up! I have begun to vary my weight workouts a lot more and I have been trying different machines and weight levels. I can see muscle tone in my legs that wasn't there before and my arms are looking a lot more firm and fit!

How I want to progress

Cardio is something I really want to focus on going forward. I want to learn to love cardio, or just to like it even a little. I think I'm going to mix it up rather than getting on the treadmill and then switching to stair-master. I may incorporate rowing machines or even bikes into the mix and see if I find that more enjoyable! I do want to have a session with a personal trainer to check my form and see if I can do anything differently, and I would also like to maybe try out a few classes. Since weight machines are something I enjoy, I may move on to free weights. That part of the gym isn't somewhere I have explored much (since it's always packed and everyone seems to know what they are doing), but I do think it is something I would enjoy!

Do you have any recommendations of apps or workouts which could help me to enjoy cardio? I am all ears! x

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Note Taking

I always start my studying by making my notes and printing them out. I go through lecture slides to see if I left anything out on my notes and then I lay them out for ease of reading and print them out. I make all my notes on Google Drive so that I can pull them up on my laptop, phone or on a uni computer so I can refer back to them whenever I am studying. I like to print my notes since it makes them really easy to annotate while I am studying, and it's just so easy to work from a paper copy when I am also using them to plan essays or make revision materials. Nice notes are a great bit of groundwork for your studying!


Flashcards, both physical and digital, are excellent study resources! I tend to mix it up and make both paper flashcards and digital flashcards on Quizlet so that I always have as many revision resource options as possible. Creating flashcards means that you always have bitesize notes to hand when you quickly need to refresh your memory on a concept or topic. As a psychology student, I have always found flashcards incredibly helpful when learning different theories or studies. Quizlet makes it fun and easy to test yourself on your flashcards and the app means that you can take this method of studying anywhere! I always use the app on the bus or when I'm waiting for a shift to start, just while I have a free few minutes to kill.

Video Content & Podcasts

I am super lucky due to the fact that all my classes are podcasted, meaning I can revisit everything that my lecturers have said so that I don't miss out on any snippets of information! I go through lecture podcasts with my printed notes to hand, so that I can add anything the lecturer has said but hasn't put up on the slides. I also play the podcasts in the background whilst I'm doing chores and not studying so that I'm constantly reviewing information. I play these podcasts at 1.5x speed so that I can review each of them at least a couple of times before the exams.

Other video content may be available to accompany your classes. Crash Course pretty much got me through my A-Levels, especially my biology modules which were incredibly information heavy! I have also had course textbooks with accompanying videos on YouTube, like THIS cognitive neuroscience textbook. If you are having a hard time grasping a particular concept or topic, search for it on YouTube and see how someone else explains it! Sometimes, you just need a different explanation of a concept in order to understand it!

Mind Maps

A lot of my studying involves finding different ways to go back through my notes and review all the information I need to know. Cutting down the info into bitesize chunks for flashcards and (especially) mind maps pushes me to select the most important information from my notes, making sure I consolidate this info further while also reviewing my notes as a whole. Mindmaps are a good visual resource and I keep mine in their own separate notebooks per module, so I always have them to hand. When working through practice questions, pulling up a mind map means that you are being prompted only by keywords and headings rather than all the information you need to answer the questions, meaning that you need to push yourself harder to remember! They're really useful tools for your revision kit!

Past Paper Questions

I used to shy away from past papers and revision quizzes because they would make me lose confidence in what I had learned. I mean, how can I possibly take practice exams if I don't feel like I've revised enough for the actual exams? However, over time I realised that while past papers would make me feel unprepared for the exams, this was a good thing because it would light a fire in my belly and push me to work even harder. Plus, occasionally in exams, a question comes up which I have already worked on in a practice paper and I end up breezing through it since I remember how I answered and marked it in the past paper.

How do you study for your exams? I am always looking to try new revision methods! x

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