It’s a bit hypocritical of me to sit here and talk about nutrition, health, and fitness when I’ve been the biggest slacker over the past couple of months. I don’t have the leverage to start talking greens and shakes and HIIT training when a) I’m nowhere near a stable expert and b) I’ve been feasting like there’s no tomorrow (truthfully it’s just a serious case of holiday blues and no more bikini outings) but I suppose that’s the whole point of this post – for my desire to get back on track and feel as invigorated and wholesome as I did when I managed to keep my head in the game – and of course, for anyone else who’s having a similar problem.
I tend to have block patterns of slipping and sliding when it comes to keeping on board with staying in shape. I’ll be the first to admit I find it difficult to hold that motivation and I can easily fall off track. Being an impatient person plays a huge part, the long process doesn’t do me any favours. Having a sweet tooth doesn’t help, either, and neither does the fact I live with chronic pain so suffering during and after exercise is inevitable and sometimes it just ain’t worth it. I do, however, always feel my best mentally and physically when I’ve worked my ass off and I do always try to strive for the appropriate approach. It’s definitely not for everyone but it’s a learning curve and it’s a routine you can continue to build and improve to achieve those well earned results.
Fuel Your Routine – diet is 100% the most important factor in making changes with your body. Food is your source of energy and without it you wouldn’t even be functioning well enough to perform. I know when I’ve lacked in calories for the day I certainly don’t have the vitality to intensely work out for an hour or so which is why the first step into stimulating and powering your exercise routine is getting it right for you, personally. If weight loss is your aim, it’s about eating the right foods (think fruit, veg, lean meats, fish and so on) if toning up and/or gaining muscle is your primary focus, then it’s still about eating the right foods but in bigger doses and higher protein sustenance.
It can be tough to ensure you’re gracing your body with every vitamin, mineral, macro, and nutrient you need to kickstart your practice so you may feel as though you need to add in supplements to accelerate your objectives. For me, this is a holy grail. As I still live at home the cupboards aren’t always stocked with my preferred healthy snacks and I can be caught off guard with a packet of digestives or share bag of crisps so stocking up on the protein bars is a must. My current favourite are from USN and are the Chocolate Brownie flavour meaning I get my sugary fix but without the ridiculous amounts of sugar. These are the tastiest bars I’ve had (seriously, there’s even a hint of caramel texture in there) and satisfy my cravings for the entire duration of my working out period. Them being low carb is an even bigger bonus because for me, my target is to increase my protein and decrease my carbs in sync with my sculpting and shedding exercise plans. Another option is a pre workout, either to start the day on or to consume to give you that boost and make the most of your training sessions. At the moment I’m testing out and loving the B4 Burn in Pink Lemonade flavour which means not only is the packaging a pink paradise but the outcome of the two scoops of powder is also a pretty explosion – all washed down in my paired Shaker of course. It really does give me the push I need, hits my alerted senses, prepares me for a potent burn (hence the name), and allows me to stay at that high without crashing down and feeling as shattered as I usually feel. It encourages me to push myself that little bit more, especially as often enough I can be extremely sensitive to caffeine but thankfully this doesn’t give me an intolerable jittery feeling. Another benefit is that it helps with metabolism and for someone who can put on weight just by sniffing a tub of Nutella, I greatly appreciate this factor!
Don’t Deprive Yourself – I’m a strong believer in not taking the whole ‘diet’ thing too seriously. You don’t have to restrict yourself or count your calories with guilt to eat well. Make sure you meal prep with the fulfilling foods that keep your hunger levels at bay, include a variety of healthy foods and then treat yourself when you feel like it. The 80/20 rule is talked about a lot and I am so pro balance. It’s easy to become so caught up in quick fixes and wellness and super clean eating, so much so that it can tempt over binging and then leads to eventually piling the weight back on. It’s not a sin to enjoy junk food at the weekend, it won’t undo all the hard work in one bite, and you don’t have to cut out every indulgent treat. It’s all about moderation and that’s a key point to remember when stabilising your food choices!
Set Yourself Some Goals – the first stage of reinventing your fitness routine is of course setting yourself some individual goals; whether that be newly challenging or obtainable and within reach to your abilities. It’s best to get specific whatever you decide – dream big but aspire realistically and take a calculated approach to avoid both disappointment and potential injury to muscles that aren’t familiar with the strenuous activity. Be truthfully honest with yourself but don’t be too hard on yourself. Your goal is to lose 5 pounds? Don’t put pressure on yourself to attain that in just a couple of weeks, set a timescale but steady the pace and exert it positively. Your goal is to focus on growing your leg muscle? Don’t expect to achieve that in a month or by working on your legs every single day, take breaks in pinpointed parts of the body and variate the methods. Your goal is to run a marathon? Great stuff, but make sure you begin months before, train specifically and efficiently and compete in shorter endurance events to gain experience and preparation. Catch my drift? You’ll only become exasperated with yourself if you don’t listen to the rational side of your mindset.
Take It Slow – this comes hand in hand with setting goals. Sometimes you need to lower your expectations to allow them to be winnable. Don’t rush into it, accept this will be a long term programme and keep at bay by listening to your own instincts, developments, skills, and ways of managing. Keeping it steady doesn’t mean it has to be dull as you can switch and change up as much as you like and eventually you will adapt as your body attunes to the rhythm. Even if you don’t feel up to your usual one-hour routine, you don’t have to skip working out altogether or give up on everything you had in mind. Even a 20 minute swim or bike ride is better than nothing and at least then you’re keeping your brain registered to the notion of a fitness schedule.
Lay Out Your Plan – often it helps to get your own ideas, your personal trainer’s tips and tricks or the workout programme you’ve downloaded on to paper (or digitally in this day and age let’s be real) so you have it in front of you to break down into individual steps which in turn is the penultimate to your final goal. Designate time to make a list of your weekly schedule so it’s simple to follow but which you can also get great triumph from. If necessary, create a detailed to do list for each day for e.g. Monday – upper body at the gym, three sets of established ab workouts such as crunches, Russian twists, implanted dumbbells, hit calorie goals within limit and so on. Get through without thinking too deeply into the outcome and focus only on getting through your checklist, that way whether you’re lacking strength or not feeling as successful as you wish you will both still remain in the present situation and have your totals completed by the end of the week.
Find A Workout Partner – a gym buddy helps in providing you with the support, the back up and the little voice beside you encouraging you to keep going but I also know it’s hard to find someone who is willing and/or is able to attend workout sessions at the same time as you. I’m happy to be in my own company but I also gain the spurring on and the praise from elsewhere. Whether that be a quick comment from my mum, advice from my professionally qualified coach of a brother or just from those mutuals online who are doing exactly the same as you. Instagram may not be the best place to head if you’re feeling in competition with others but it is also a great place to motivate yourself, as is accepting the optimistic and flattering compliments from the rest of the kind folk and inspiring influencers on other sources of social media. The hardest part is getting off your butt and getting into the swing of things in the first place but once you do that, it will flow so naturally and you’ll even start to get a real kick of enjoyment from it. I promise, a workout is never regretted (until you can’t walk the next day that is, but cooling down properly is another topic that must be covered and followed in depth).
Treat Yourself To New Gym Gear – it’s not just having an actual partnership or inspiration that’s important but it’s the tools and the ministrations that accompany that. Having a shopping spree in preparation is a good idea, there’s nothing like brand new workout clothes and trainers to get you pumped and ready to begin. If you feel good, it will get you in the mood to conduct your journey and there’s plenty of affordable yet still dreamy sets out there to grab hold of! Not just that, however – the products, the kits, the equipment, and the assisted sidekick. Armed with the outfit, the anti antiperspirant, the exercise mat, and the technology that is there to guide you in achieving your goals, there’ll be no stopping you.
Create A Playlist – okay so despite everything I’ve just delved deep into, this is number one on my list before I even begin to think about anything else. There is without a doubt no chance I’d be able to complete a workout without stimulating dance music blasting in my ear. It allows you to drown out your surroundings to get into the engrossed head space and can even boost that excitement by really getting you into the groove and making you automatically move along in speed with the beat. There’s plenty of motivating playlists over on Spotify to get those limbs activated, or if you prefer you can make your own with your favourite tunes on there to give it an even bigger personal touch. Top tip: pedal on an exercise bike to Darude – Sandstorm and you’ll feel like you’ve just climbed a mountain within three minutes.
Reward Yourself – finally, there’s the most crucial element in setting and reaching your fitness goals and that’s rewarding yourself at the end of it no matter how large or how small. Whether that’s pampering yourself at home or a spa, buying yourself a new magazine or a new pair of shoes, going out to eat, or taking some time out for yourself. It should be a time where you not only compliment yourself and revel in your victory but what aspires you to keep going.
Do you have any tips to share?
*some of these items may have been sent for me to review, please see my full disclaimer for more information.