Getting to the gym can sometimes be a struggle. Fact. We set out with good intentions, we may even put on our fit kit, but before you know it you’ve talked yourself out of your workout and snuggled back down into bed. Well, it’s time to rediscover your motivation. We spoke to the experts about how to turn your exercise enthusiasm around…
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
Are healthies and belfies clogging up your social media platforms? It seems the whole world is on a health kick and they want the rest of us to know it. And while the odd inspirational quote and perfectly styled super smoothie can offer a certain amount of motivation, it’s time we took charge of our own wellbeing without worrying about how many “likes” our lifestyle can clock up.
Personal trainer Chloe Bowler (chloebowler.com) tells us: “Everybody is on a different journey, and watching someone in the gym doesn’t give you insight into their private life or level of happiness, so concentrate on your own workout and what you are trying to achieve.
“The pavement is now a catwalk for people in gym gear, clutching a juice on their way to buy chia seeds to put on their dairy-free, raw-food lunch,” says Chloe. “There’s nothing wrong with this, but there’s also nothing wrong with a roast chicken dinner either, so try not to get too caught up in fads; eat nutritious, wholesome food that you enjoy.”
CHOOSE SOMETHING YOU LOVE
Trying to get your curves in all the right places in time for Christmas? Joining the gym to justify scoffing that extra piece of figgy pudding probably won’t quench your fitness thirst, but by taking up exercise as a hobby, the run-up and slim-down to the 25th will seem far less of a chore. “Finding an activity you like is key to achieving your fitness goals,” explains Jordan Roye, Nuffield Health wellbeing personal trainer. “Forcing yourself to partake in exercise you don’t enjoy will inevitably mean you’ll find excuses to avoid it.”
“You will come across women with amazing bodies who swear by purely running or weightlifting,” adds Chloe. “Exercise is not one size fits all, so do what you enjoy. If you dread going to the gym, you won’t get the most out of it, but if you look forward to your yoga class, you will reap the benefits.”
NAUGHTY VS NUTRITIOUS
Skipping breakfast, carb binging and giving in to your sweet tooth; we all know they aren’t good for us. But opting for healthy alternatives is much easier than you might think. Just a few simple changes can make a huge difference to your performance. “Choosing healthy habits is an easy way to incorporate improvements into your day, without overhauling your lifestyle,” Jordan tells us. “Including daily exercise has invaluable health benefits and can also help to manage stress levels, promote mindfulness and contribute to quality sleep.
However, be sure not to exercise too close to bed time as you might find it difficult to relax and switch off. Quality sleep is integral for us to perform at our optimum in all aspects of life – little or interrupted sleep can lead to mood swings, inability to concentrate and susceptibility to weight gain. Try avoiding caffeine after midday, winding down with a warm bath in the evening and refraining from using electrical equipment before you nod off.”
We sometimes forget that the dietary choices we make can have such a huge impact on our overall health. “One of the main aspects to eating healthily is planning,” says nutritionist Suzie Sawyer (natureswayuk.com). “It sounds simple but planning your meals by making a list at the beginning of each week can really help keep you on track. However, if you do have a ‘bad’ day, don’t dwell on it.
It’s what you eat over a period of a month that makes the difference – it’s the consistency. But, with the party season just around the corner, if you’re planning an evening of indulgence, make sure you have some milk thistle to hand! It can help relieve the ‘morning-after’ symptoms, so that you don’t continue those bad habits into the next day. Equally, artichoke, which you can also take in supplement form, helps to detoxify the liver and relieve any unpleasant bloating.”
It won’t be long until we’re bombarded with the ‘New Year, New You’ mantra that makes us feel a pang of guilt for munching through a whole box of Celebrations. But cutting yourself a bit of slack could be the key to boosting your confidence and fitness levels. “Our thoughts become our actions and if we think something, we’re likely to make that thought a reality; it becomes a ‘self fulfilling prophecy’,” explains life coach and personal trainer Rebecca Fredericks (rebeccafredericks.com). “Thoughts turn into actions because our subconscious mind understands the thought and works to make it a reality.
“This happens across all areas of life, and your fitness is no exception,” Rebecca tells us. “If you think you can’t do it, you’re probably right, you can’t! If you think you’re going to fail, you most likely will. Your subconscious will work to make this happen, not realising that it’s the opposite of what you really want.”