Fitness: Beginner mode

Doing any exercise requires a lot of commitment and motivation. What I’ve seen is that these two are easy to deal with in the beginning and then quickly forgotten. I can’t count the times in which I’ve started playing a sport or doing exercises at home, and then I give up with the excuse of „having no time.“ But if you really want something such as improving your health and physical strength, there is always a way.

Lately, I have succeeded in going to the gym about four times a week. Unlike almost everything else I tried doing, this type of training became very enjoyable for me. I like it because I can feel how much work I put in after every session. During this journey, I found out a couple of things that help me stay on track, and I wanted to share it with anyone that struggles to continue after the first week.

  1. Set realistic goals. You won’t be able to lose all of the weight you want or build the body you see on Instagram with two weeks of going to the gym every day. Instead, spend the first two weeks on training every part of your body so that it gets used to the machines and routine. After that, start trying to do workouts dedicated to different parts of the body, and you will see how your strength gradually develops.
  2. Work out with a trainer (at least for the first two months). There is nothing worse for your body than going to the gym without knowing how each machine works. You will not only waste a lot of time, but you can potentially hurt many parts of your body. With a trainer, you can be sure that you perform the exercises correctly and for the right amount of time. You can discuss what effect you want to accomplish and he/her will be able to show you what exercises are right for your goal. Later, you can go alone and follow the same routine that you feel is giving the best results.
  3. Know that everybody is different. I know that there are many videos out there that promise you quick results if you follow their exercises. They often feel useful, but they usually are not effective for every body type. Just because someone sees results with a particular routine does not mean that you will too. Instead of relying on them, talk to your trainer and figure out what will work for your measurements and goals.
  4. Start slow. If you go to the gym five times in your first week and use weights that target way more experienced people, I guarantee you will be in so much pain that you won’t find motivation for the next week. I am familiar with that overflow of motivation during the first week, but I believe you can use it to schedule your workouts properly. Start with one or two times a week and then see how you feel. When you build up more strength, start going more if you feel the need to or better do a sport that is more oriented toward cardio such as Kangoo jumps, boxing, etc.
  5. Healthy meals. Even if you work out every day of the week, eating will still have a more significant influence on your progress. No one is saying that you have to follow a strict diet – you need energy for the gym after all. The best thing is to eat smaller portions and avoid foods with a lot of sugar and fats as much as you can. Focusing on healthy foods and drinking lots of water will help you see results faster and feel better overall.

Overall, take small steps each day toward improving yourself and do it in a way that suits your body. That way, your motivation won’t go away and will become even stronger. I would love to know more tips, so feel free to give me some at any time!

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Second stop: Granada and the magnificent city of Alhambra

After a couple of hours on the road, we arrived in a much smaller unique city called Granada. It was the last city that the Christians had to take over from the Muslims at the end of the 15th century, so we had to get familiar with its significance.

As we were walking around, there were many places where the two cultures intertwined. We visited the old city, and we saw many mosques that were later turned into Catholic churches. Compared to Madrid, the town was much quieter, and there were not many places for the regular tourists. This is what I thought until it was time for us to visit La Alhambra.

Many statistics show that Alhambra is one of the most popular places in Spain. Tickets are sold out many months before the visit, and there are enormous crowds each step of the way. We managed to sign up for the early morning tour from 8:30 with a group and a guide that would give us all of the stories connected to the city. The tour was supposed to last around 3 hours, which I later found out was not enough if you want to pay attention to every aspect of this place.

I am sure that if you are genuinely interested, there are many articles online about the history of Alhambra, so I will tell you a couple of details that impressed me:

  • It consists of a couple of palaces for the Sultans that lived here before the 15th century, many beautiful gardens, and places for the army and for the common people;
  • It was built on a specific hill that allowed the Sultan to watch over the whole city without being in it;
  • This is the last place the Christians took over in Spain and let the Muslim ruler return if he surrendered the city;
  • Most of the Muslim ornaments and details remain the same but there are places where the Christian influence can be seen;
  • The palaces are huge and built with amazing precision for the comfort of the Sultan and his wives;
  • Some very important GoT scenes were filmed inside!!

If you ever get a chance to visit, I 100% recommend getting a guide or an audio tape, because you cannot appreciate the remains without even a bit of historical background.

If my words are not enough, here are some pictures that show what truly impressed me:

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Madrid Food Tour

Even though the visits of numerous monuments and interesting buildings were pleasant, there was something that we had not yet explored in Spain – the food. The restaurants and markets are a must for anyone that really wants to understand the culture and the preferences of the locals. Here I will explain in more detail my attempt in that area:

During the first day in Madrid, our priority was to find a place in the centre, so we chose one that was obviously aimed at tourists. This place was called Madrid Grill and it had a very elegant design with expensive champagne staring at us from multiple shelves. By the title of the place, we expected to eat quality meat and that is what we got. The waiters wanted to make sure that every detail was perfect and we ate until we could not anymore. They also knew English, which is not so typical around many places in the city. The thing that surprised us was how big each portion was and how much we would have to take at home for a late dinner.

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Two words can describe my order:  delicious and plenty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day was the time that we felt like trying many different places that were typical for the local citizens. We were part of a food tour, in which a local woman took us around the places that she would go to with her friends and where to avoid tourists. Here are some of the things we tried (the others were too delicious and I forgot to take pictures):

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If you did not know, Spain is famous for serving „tapas“ with each meal, which are like a start course for free. Those that we encountered where types of chips and potatoes, olives or warm bread. During this tour, we tried different variations.

Almost all of the dishes we tried had fish in them – fish with breadsticks, olives or fried. In this first place, we tried the fried fish and we ate from this small table in the corner of the small restaurant. Apparently, it was very common to eat either at the bar or standing up, especially in these trendy little restaurants. We ate a similar fish dish in the market later, which was paired with different types of olives and it was once again delicious.  This meal was a bit much for me (maybe because I was full from the ham and tomato sandwich before) but overall it was was very tasty and I liked the atmosphere of the place itself, as it was very different from the typical tourist spots.

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The second thing I want to share with you was not food but a special type of cider. We were in a cafe that was specifically serving bottles of it for groups of people to share. It has a little bit of alcohol but it mostly tastes like beer combined with apple juice. You have to try this one for yourselves to decide whether you like it –  I would definitely try it again.

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And last but not least is of course, the desert. I am sure that during this trip, this is the part I feel most excited and most guilty about. There are so many amazing bakeries that resisting for me became impossible. I tried LAZO, which had lots of chocolate, but you could literally find anything in every little shop.

As a whole, I liked both the tourist and the local meals I tried over the two days in Madrid. I believe that a healthy mix of both will make your visit very enjoyable.

 

 

 

First stop: Madrid (Atmosphere and history)

The first impression I got of Madrid was actually quite disappointing. We arrived late at night, we were not able to find our apartment and it was so cold that I felt a bit sad for leaving. However, in the morning everything changed.

After a shower and a delicious breakfast, we walked to one of the centre squares in the city. There, we met with a tour guide and introduced ourselves to people from England, Canada, Australia and many more. This immediate mix of cultures was very pleasant to me. The guide looked Swedish, with a sort of a goofy smile, but he was kind and sweet throughout the whole journey and promised us that he was actually Spanish. We started our trip from Puerta Del Sol (Gate to the Sun) square and walked all the way to the famous royal palace. We visited the oldest restaurants, hotels, streets and along the way many shops with traditional sweets.

He told us numerous amazing stories about the significance of each place and how Spain developed as a country over the centuries. You can really mix the history of the country with the beautiful places all at once.The only problem was that the wind was really strong and it made us want to go to the apartment more than anything. However, the guide made it as interesting as possible and I would definitely recommend to use one to understand where you are going.

The city itself is really crowded but not in a way that makes you feel trapped. There are a lot of ways to avoid most of the people but we decided to walk mostly around the tourist spots for the first day. The people are loud and noisy but always friendly. Here are some pictures of the first day!

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How I improve

First of all, thanks to anyone reading this. This is me in the picture above, enjoying a beautiful sunset on the Canary Islands. This is one of the trips that inspired me to draw down memories and exciting events with more detail so that I never forget the amazing experience.

For a couple of years, I have kept a journal with numerous stories, tips and daily updates about my life. I find writing it down as a way to see not only my progress over time but also to learn from my mistakes and my most significant achievements. Lately, I realized that many of my diary entries could be helpful to other people as well (also let’s be honest – writing in a diary is not considered cool when you’re almost 18). So I decided to create this blog as a part two of my journal, and here you can find many of the following:

  • my travel experiences and the pros and cons of each one
  • my journey with easybook – a platform that I help to develop (my intership)
  • my recommendations for dealing with school (and personal experience)
  • summer plans (in the upcoming months)
  • reviews of books I’m reading
  • progress and detailed workouts of a beginner in the gym
  • interesting details of my day and my favorite activities
  • random entries or news around the world I find interesting
  • fashion and gossip are also possible!

 

I hope that above anything, I can continue being passionate about writing and using social media as a way to communicate with more people and to share more ideas. My biggest hope for this particular blog is to be able to entertain you and myself as well and for us to help each other grow as individuals (hint to the title of my blog).

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write me a comment 🙂