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Monday, 19 January 2015

How To | Keep Motivated And Stay Fit

Untitled January - the month where countless people vow to change their diets, join the gym and overhaul their exercise regimes. Christmas is a mere memory and we can no longer blame the festive period for a second helping of turkey or one too many celebration chocolates. It's times like this that dragging yourself to the gym on a Saturday morning seems like an absolute effort, so I thought I'd share with you how I motivate myself to keep fit and exercise. I am by no means an expert in this field, but over the past year I've dedicated a lot more time to my health and fitness levels, so even if some of this helps - it's worthwhile!

Mix It Up

Exercise can be boring so in order to keep your regime fresh and exciting mix it up. Always on the treadmill? Try a new machine. Work out alone? Take a friend or book yourself into a class. Always indoors? Head outside! Not tried a particular sport before? Try it now. It's like eating the same meal every night - that would get tedious and so does exercise.

Go With Friends

You may prefer to exercise alone, and that's fine. However if you fancy a change or are apprehensive about working out alone, exercise with a friend. You'll feel less self conscious, it's a great opportunity to catch up and you'll have a laugh in the process. They'll also motivate you to keep going - just try not to take it too seriously who burns more calories on the cross trainer!

Put Together A Great Playlist

I'd honestly be lost without my music at the gym or when I go on long country runs. It 100% helps me get in the zone and lets me forget anything that's playing on my mind (no pun intended). Download your favourite new songs or find a great playlist that motivates you to move. I find mashups really inspiring and anything upbeat - because whilst I love Ed Sheeran and Coldplay, they don't push me to feel the burn. Look for remixes and popular playlists on the Internet.

Work It Around Your Life

Sometimes exercising can be offputting when you're trying to fit your life around it. I say do the opposite, otherwise you won't do it. Make it work for you and your lifestyle. Morning person? Work out then. I deliberately joined a gym that not only do my friends go to (thus encouraging me to go) but that's on my way home from work. So I can't use the excuse that I "can't be bothered to go to the gym" when it's actually more effort to avoid going. I'll also look at my schedule for the week and see what days it can slot into my life without disrupting it. I know I go out most Friday and Saturday nights so never go then. Whereas during the week is when I'm most stressed so I enjoy releasing steam after a hard day.

Set Yourself Goals

Goals aren't always essential but I find they do help. This time last year I had 6 months before I was bridesmaid at my best friend's wedding and although the day wasn't about me, being part of the wedding party, I knew I'd be in a lot of photos that were important - so I wanted to ensure that come the day I was happy with my physique. So come hell or high water I religiously worked out 3-4 times a week. Was it worth it? Hell yes. Whether it's a wedding, holiday, party or whatever - goals help you to be realistic and something to look back on.

I set myself a minimum of 20k distance a week - I usually do 30k+ but I don't beat myself up as long as I hit 20. Adjust your goals depending on your situation. I started off running 2-3k a time and then gradually upped this when my body adjusted. I now usually run 8-10k a time and it's not anywhere near as much of a struggle as it used to be, so I know it's working.

Treat Yourself To Nice Gym Wear

Working out doesn't mean you have to look bland. I'm not saying go out and buy the most outrageous gear as after all you're there to sweat and feel the burn, not look pretty - but if you're comfortable in what you're wearing, this makes me feel better.

Keep Track Of Your Progress

I like to keep track of my progress. There's many ways to do this. You can do this visually by snapping shots once a week of your progress or I like to use apps and write down what I've achieved. Don't feel bad about sharing a good workout on social media - every now and then it doesn't hurt to have a quick brag - if you work hard you deserve it! At my work we're currently having a distance competition which we're logging in an excel document which handily does all of the maths for us!

Do It At Home

Not all exercise has to cost or involve a gym. Maybe you're strapped for cash, don't have the time or don't feel comfortable working out outside your own four walls. You could invite your girls round and stick on a free workout video from YouTube or put on some music and devise your own regime. Before I joined the gym and became brave enough to run in public, I used to always exercise in my lounge. In terms of routine, I'd alternate between three exercises: star jumps, squats and side stretches. The star jumps were the most effective. Sit ups, press ups - there's dozens of other exercises you can do at home.

Enjoy What You Do

Your friend may love Pilates but you might be more about spinning. That's fine. What's important is to enjoy your exercise otherwise you simply won't be committed to upkeep it. I tried yoga and felt it didn't benefit me as I couldn't relax, whereas I find high intensity workouts keep me engaged. Find out what you love and keep doing it!

But Most Importantly Remember To Not Be Too Hard On Yourself

Exercise, like everything else in life should be done in moderation. Remember to live and not beat yourself up if you skip a class or are too tired to head out on a run. You only get one life so live it how you want!

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