My Project Lifestyle Fitness workstream is by far my most successful to date. So I thought I would share how I make things work when it comes to fitness. Please not these are my personal ideas and I’m not a doctor or health professional!
So how do I do it?
- This takes the thinking out of it for me. It keeps me consistent and planned. For me writing it in my calendar makes it an appointment, which can only be moved for serious reasons – such as being ill or a social event. Sometimes I have to force myself to go to whatever I have planned, so alongside this I go easy on myself and do what I can in that moment. I think moving and being active is better than not being active by staying on the sofa.
Have a Goal
I like to be working towards something. It keeps me motivated. Whether it’s a triathlon or a 5k running event, have it in your calendar and know how long you’ve got to reach it. Then work towards it – plan it out! Print off a chart and put a sticker against every workout you do. See your progress and reward yourself for it. Picture the medal you’ll get if you complete a race – always a good thing. Does anyone else hate races that don’t give medals?
Start Easy and Build Up
There is nothing worse than throwing yourself into something too hard and not being able to move for a few days. For example I just upped my gym strength routine and rather than heading straight into the weights I built up to in a previous circuit, I took it down a notch to make sure my technique was good and so I could learn the routine. I then built up the weights and the reps gradually. This motivated me to keep coming back. This goes the same for my running, swimming, and cycling – gradual build and enjoy it as you do.
Try Different Things
Take a different class every so often or get out on a nice sunny day and go for a bike ride or hike – something you don’t plan in. I like to go a couple of classes every week and don’t stress if the class changes because the instructor is away. It mixes it for me without me having to think about it. Look out for taster sessions at your gym and pop along to try piliates or boxercise, to give your brain and body a boost!
Get the Right Gear (once you know you like it)
I invest in good gear once I know I enjoy doing something. For example with swimming I have set swimming costumes and equipment I know if worth it. I am saving to get a new wetsuit (a proper swimming one) after a few years of using a surf one because I had it. I’ve only just invested in a new bike, as I had a perfectly good bike I could use to build a base. Running – get the right trainers and spend what you can afford, but definitely get them fitted!
Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good
Get some nice workout gear. It makes me feel good to change into some bright and well-fitting clothes. It makes me feel comfortable and then I’m able to push myself during the session without worrying my trousers keep falling down – this happened last year with running club – bought cheap trousers that didn’t fit me well and all I spent multiple sessions worrying that my arse would be showing! Not fun at all. I also think clothes allow that fake until you make it feeling to happen – if I don’t feel in the mood to run I put on my brightest top and head out the door feeling like a glowstick and come back with a glow from the workout.
Make it Social
My main social activities are through my running and swimming club. I’m an introvert by nature and hate hanging around without something to do. I loathe having people round my house as that is my space – it’s weird I know. So I put the effort in to make it to the club sessions to chat and laugh and push each other. I try to go to all the other social events, such as chilli night with running and curry night with swimming. I like being with people who are there for similar reasons as me. Also I know I can then go home to my own place. I’m not one for the pub or dinner parties and often feel like the third or fifth of seventh wheel with old school friends, but with my clubs it all about having a good time together with everyone who takes part. I need this side of it more than I realised before.
I am in the process of creating something like to this help with my eating. I need to find ways of making it easy for myself to be healthy and lose weight. So far I have some quite specific things I follow:
- Cook chicken and eggs and keep in the fridge
- Don’t buy sweets, cakes or chocolate
- Have fruit and vegetables prepared or ready to eat (i.e. fruit not in the fridge cold!)
- For my sweet tooth have bagels or hot cross buns cut in half or quarters in the freezer, so they are ready for me but I don’t have the excuse of them being frozen whole
- Have protein powder and bars in the house
- Drink plenty of tea, coffee, and water
- Don’t have cash at work
- Batch make meals such as chilli, cassoulet, and fish pie and keep in the freezer for homemade ready meals
- Take a packed lunch to work
- Order my food shop online for collection (usually free to collect from the store and means I don’t have to go in and get tempted)
I suppose these are all rules for living. I struggle with the food ones because of the legacy of my parents and how they behave around food. I’m taking one step at a time and finding out what works for me. I know I like structure and routine fitness, so doing something similar for food helps.