I realised the other day, when someone asked me my secrets to keeping fit, that I don’t post much about fitness. And it was such an eye-opener because I live and breath fitness. It’s my job after all! Full time I’m the deputy editor of a national health and fitness glossy. Plus, my fiancee and sister are personal trainers and yet I never blog about it.
As a bit of background, I wasn’t always so enthusiastic about keeping fit. I’ve always had a fast metabolism and that was my saving grace until I went to uni. Like most students, my diet was horrendous, I wasn’t particularly active and I’d never stepped foot in a gym. It wasn’t until I started working in a gym between jobs that I became immersed in the industry. I didn’t know where to start but I knew I always enjoyed running at school so that’s what I began to do, outside, after work. It wasn’t long before I absolutely fell in love with how I felt after exercising – that runners high everyone talks about is real!
Over the years, like most people, my love for fitness has had its up’s and downs. I’ve been obsessive and also put my trainers in hibernation, but I feel like I’ve finally found a balance. Ultimately, exercising makes me feel good. It de-stresses me, gives me more energy, makes me stronger and gives me a lean figure. But, I do need to be kinder to myself – I’m learning to listen to my body more and not push myself to the extreme to the point of getting ill. I’m no expert by any means, but I have gathered a few bits of info over the years from those who are and this is what I find works for me.
FIND YOUR CARDIO
The word ‘cardio’ used to send shivers down my spine but there’s something about sweat dripping down your forehead that makes you feel a little bit smug! There’s not one size fits all to keeping fit and you could go through sports, classes and methods until you find a cardio you enjoy. For me, it was running which I’ve now developed into HIIT (high intensity interval training) which burns more during and after exercise and takes less time. The clincher? It’s harder, you’ll go redder and feel sicker but it works!
GET THE GEAR
Admittedly, I’d always opt for a new handbag or pair of sandals over activewear but that was until fitness wear got cool! I love snapping up a new pair of mesh panel leggings or cut-out sports bra and I genuinely can’t wait to try them out at the gym. Working out can be daunting at the best of times so make sure you feel and look your best beforehand. It’ll give you more confidence which could take you to trying out a new piece of kit or smashing your PB. If you can’t afford to splash out, start with a great pair of trainers. This will make all the difference – my Adidas Boost trainers are my go-to when I’m tired. I don’t know if it’s some sporting wizardry but I spring through my workout when I put them on! My favourite brands are Adidas, Nike, Fabletics, Bodyism and H&M.
BUY, BUY, BUY!
CREATE A KICK ASS SOUNDTRACK
I’m always getting told off by Toff for listening to music whilst running out and about but I just can’t not. House, hip hop or rap are an absolute must-have to get me through a workout. I even do reps or heel strikes to the beat! Whether it’s Justin Bieber or Kings of Leon, find a mix of sounds that can take you from warm-up to cool down. Spotify is my saving grace for this!
CHANGE IT UP
The one thing that has changed my shape over the last few weeks is lifting weights. I know, us ladies take a sharp intake of breath at the thought of it but hear me out. I’ve run for years and it keeps my legs lean and my belly flat BUT, nothing has given me more definition than a weights circuit. If you don’t know where to start I’d suggest dragging a girlfriend to a class! I started doing Body Pump and that’s where I learnt how to do everything that I can now apply on my own in the gym without feeling like a totally novice. Anything that’s going to take you out of your comfort zone is going to change how you look and also how you feel.
MAKE A PLAN
What do you want? A loaded question I know but, ask yourself if you want to slim down, tone up or just feel a bit healthier. What do you want from keeping fit? From here, realistically look at how much time you have to exercise. You don’t have to set aside an hour. If you only have 10 minutes a day, focus each day on something different. This could be 10 minutes of ab work on Monday, a 10 minute sprint on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday etc. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
FIND A BALANCE
I will never be an early exerciser and I can’t cut out dark chocolate. These are non negotiable. But I will only drink on weekends, have Sunday as a food cheat day and stay away from white carbs. Finding a balance is crucial to keeping your sanity and staying motivated. If you’re working out, drinking lots of water and eating healthily 80% of the time, you can afford the odd treat. Plus, let’s not forget how much our hormones can take over any craving!
I know holidays often mean being horizontal for large portions of the day but keeping fit while you’re away can make all the difference when you come home. There’s nothing like a holiday that will throw you off keeping fit. One of my favourite things to do is explore a new place by going for a run or renting bike and cycling around. It’s something you can do with a friend or other half and you’re still exercising. Failing that, I pack a resistance band and do a little floor workout for half an our in the morning. Which means I’m free to lay around all day!
I think I’m going to start doing more fitness-focus blog posts, what do you think? Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to know or read about below!
You don’t have to be in the gym or sweating it out to be fit. Just move more – go for a walk, stretch whilst watching Netflix or cycle to the local shops instead of drive. It’s all relative and it’s all fitness.
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