7 Things I Wish I Known Before Beginning My Fitness Journey

Chamod Shehanka Perera
8 min readFeb 24


When I first started writing this article, I intended to include my backstory as the opening paragraph, but I quickly realized that I just wanted to convey the information I gained through a lot of failure and self-experimentation. So, if you want to know where I learned those facts, read the backstory and the end.

1. Spot reduction is a myth

In simple words,It refers to the effort to reduce fat from a specific area of the body by exercising specific muscles in that area. For instance, we cannot remove belly fat just doing abs workouts. Even in recent days non-gym friends asking from me “your belly fat hasn’t reduced, Don’t you do exercises for abs”. But I always say “no, I don’t”. Because I choose calm than being correct these days.

During a exercise, The free fatty acids and glycerol used as fuel can come from everywhere in the body, not just the exercised area.

2. Lifting weights doesn’t gain too much muscles mass

This one for women, Many of the women I’ve met and know are afraid to lift weights. They believe it will make them muscular like the picture above. (That guy trained for decades and used steroids to get that much muscle). According to Google research, 0.5–2 pounds (0.25–0.9 kg) of muscle growth every month is possible with good workout plan and meal plan. Gaining too many muscles is a challenging task, therefore lift weights without fear and you will be able to build a shelf

I stole this from Brooklyn Hill’s IG

3. Nutrition

This is one of the most crucial aspects of fitness. According to fitness experts, bodybuilding involves 80% nutrition, regardless of your fitness goals, you should take this seriously. To lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit, whereas to gain weight, you must be in a caloric surplus. To put it simply, if you want to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than your body requires; if you want to gain weight, you must consume more calories than your body requires. So here’s the question: “How can I know how much my body requires?”

Based on your information, use this calorie calculator to calculate your need.

Track your calories with food tracking app like “MyFitnessPal” and use a kitchen scaler to measure your meals throughout the day.

According to specialists, a 500 calorie deficit (20% of body weight) is recommended for weight loss to avoid losing muscle mass while shedding fat. For example, if my daily caloric intake is 2500, I can create a deficit by either consuming fewer calories or burning calories. For the weight gain do the opposite. During the process you will have to change the caloric intake multiple times due to the weight change.

But if you still want to eat a lot of food, you can do so by replacing it with low-calorie foods like watermelon, pumpkin, whole grains, and zucchini.

Low caloric foods list

Macros (Macronutrients)

Carbohydrates, protein and fat called macronutrients. These are the nutrients that your body requires in large quantities. Several meal plans vary from those macronutrient balances.

According to experts no healthy meal plan should exclude or restrict any macro nutrients.


Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals which your body needs small amounts. These nutritions are difficult to get from foods, That’s why I take multivitamin, fish oil and Himalayan pink salt.

Reverse dieting and diet breaking

No one shouldn’t be in a caloric deficit more than 4 months because body will adapt and decrease your metabolism. So once you complete 4 months of diet you should gradually increase your caloric intake to maintenance level which prevent you from rapid weight gain. Once you stay in maintainance level over a month, you can go back to a deficit again.

4. Progressive Overload Training

Progressive overload means you should gradually increase strength training intensity by weights, repetition, frequency and rest between sets Because the body adjusts to intensity with time, you should raise the intensity. (Raising the intensity once a week is sufficient, and you should be proficient in the right form of each exercise to do so.)

Don’t ego lift

In my beginner days I used to ego lift, which means I’m lifting more weights which I cannot lift and keep the proper form of the exercise. This was actually taught to me in a rather humorous way. I’ll go into the story in my backstory below.

5. Track the progress

“Be patience, enjoy the process”

This is one of fav fitness quotes from Dr. Mike Diamond

One of biggest mistakes I did was not tracking the progress, To understand the progress we should take progress photos every week, measure weight, neck and waist. If you observe improvements, it will be easier to stay motivated; if there are no improvements, something is wrong with your program. I won’t go into detail about food tracking because I just mentioned it before. Ah! Another thing you should keep note of is your workout weights and rep count. I’m using a spreadsheet because I couldn’t find a good tool to monitor them.

Take full advantage of your smart devices. I know that most of them now have smart watches. Use it to keep track of your workouts. What I believe is that I did not pay $400 only to watch time.

6. Fitness is a Lifestyle

Fitness is more than just exercising and eating healthily; we must improve many of our behaviors. I realize that some people give up drinking for health reasons. In my experience, I am not an early riser and cannot sleep at night. But now I can go to bed about 10 p.m. and wake up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym. I’d never gotten up so early before.

I used to eat what my mother cooked, but because to fitness, I can now prepare my own meals, which is fantastic because I no longer have to rely on my mother for food. Healthy meals are simple to prepare and take little time.

Foods made by me

7. Consistency is the Key

I used to be terrible at this, and I failed to meet my fitness goals last year due to a lack of consistency. Without consistency, programs are disorganized, the body has a more difficult time responding, and building habits may be more difficult.

My former trainer Yohan Seth always said “Consistency is the key”.

During exercises, a number of things happen in the body biologically. These reactions cause the body to become stronger, develop, or run more efficiently over time. Because different circumstances influence adaptations in different people, it is impossible to anticipate when these changes will occur. Yet, consistency in training increases the likelihood of noticing adaptations sooner. There for be patience and enjoy the process.


My journey began in 2015, shortly after I completed my A/L exams(High school). I used to eat a lot of unhealthy meals, such as fried rice and Kottu with my friends. I was 18 years old and weighed 90kg at the time. Even though I used to swim and practice karate, I had almost zero knowledge of diet, weight training, and cardio. Those were the days when I was getting weaker and weaker, but I could drop weight by dieting aggressively. For instance, 3 green apples for dinner. I realize this sounds ridiculous. If I had current understanding, I would reduce the calorie deficit and regain strength. But, the gym instructor (who was unprofessional) recommended a pre-workout, which I carried with me at the time. Then he suggested that I buy a cheap grade whey protein, but I did some research and discovered that it is not a quality product, so I ended up getting a good one. I succeeded to lose 75kg by an intensive diet and endless cardio sessions while also reading various articles from bodybuilding.com and watching fitness videos to learn more about fitness. With the new knowledge, I knew that most of what the gym instructor taught me to do was incorrect, and he was misleading people. For example, I was instructed that we should lift as much weight as possible to grow muscle, so I tried to leave very heavy weight with the help of other gym peers. Yet one day, one of your gym buddies (who has a diploma in fitness and nutrition) will ask you whether you can even lift one rep of this weight. This is too much for you, and don’t let your ego soar. (I didn’t know about progressive overloading that time)

Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t go to the gym on a regular basis when I started university, but I didn’t stop learning about fitness, which is how I learned about counting macro and all the other stuff listed. I resumed my gym visits after finishing my studies (2022). I even hired Yohan Seth for online coaching. Even though he was a fantastic coach, I couldn’t remain focused long enough to obtain the results I want, but I did learn a lot of things that I’m now applying in my own way.

Let’s see if I succeed or fail this year…

Feel free to watch my latest fitness reel 🤭




Chamod Shehanka Perera

Software Engineer | GitHub Field Expert | Golang Sri Lanka Lead | GDG Organizer | KCD Sri Lanka Organizer| Beginner Surfer