How to (effortlessly) uphold your fitness goals
Updated: Jan 28, 2018
'You don't have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.' Marie Forleo
When I've falling off the training wagon, I re-start outside. I'm no runner, but the humble act of of putting one foot in front of the other grounds me; there's something about the simplicity of just moving my body from A to B. Plus, there's no better mental therapy than getting outside with nature and feeling the earth beneath your feet. For me it's a form of meditation often the moment my best ideas come to me. It doesn't have to be running, but whatever exercise floats your boat, if you can't find the motivation, connect with nature and the motivation will come.
STARTING AGAIN? YOU'RE A FIGHTER
The endless cycle of starting, then restarting a fitness plan can be soul crushing. Especially if you've made the same resolution year in year out; your mind will try to sabotage your progress by telling itself you're a quitter. Here's the thing, everybody fails. Truly, they do. Some of the fittest people I know fall out of shape sometimes, even those with glowing instagram accounts that say otherwise. Getting back up time and again is a sign of grit; so tap into that.
Forget the fan fair; you don't need a new fitness gadget or a fancy new outfit to motivate you, in fact such things can be a distraction from the task at hand. When you've got a mission, the less things to think about the better. Take a note from Obama, who when president, took all trivial decisions out off the table so he could concentrate solely on the mammoth job at hand. Working out at the same time each morning, wearing the same colour suit and eating the same lunch helped him stay laser focussed. I have a couple of styles of gym tops and bottoms that suit my frame and I buy doubles of each, so I don't have to think about what to wear. Equipment wise, I have a skipping rope, my phone for music and earphones. The less equipment I have, the more connected to my body I feel.
FOCUS ON CORE STRENGTH
Speak to boxers, dancers and professional athletes and they'll tell you how core exercises are the cornerstone of all real fitness. One former trainer would tell me, 'you can never do enough core,' and that mantra plays in my head whenever I need a boost. Yet, training your core is nothing to do with getting great abs. If you want a six pack, you'll need to reduce your body fat to a point where your muscles are visible. What I love about core work is the internal strength that it brings, both emotionally and physically. By strenghtening the muscles that protect my organs and strengthen my back, the more invincible I feel. I like to focus less on crunches and more on natural ways to improve stomach muscles like russian twists, ball work, planks and compound movements that require your stomach muscles to fire natually for balance and stability.
MOMENTUM TRUMPS EVERYTHING
When you're at a certain point in your fitness journey, you may wish to get deep into the nitty gritty of each workout, but if you're new to fitness, or you haven't worked out in a while, keep it simple so that you don't give up before you see results. I speak from experience when I say, consistency is more important than how many calories burned or minutes spent; It's so easy to give up if you tell yourself you haven't got enough time to get in a 'proper workout'. Perfectionism is the easiest route to sabotaging your success. I keep this quote from life coach Marie Forleo on my phone: You don't have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going. It's helped me remember that showing up is all that matters. The rest just figures itself out.
END ON A HIGH...THEN LEAVE A LITTLE SOMETHING IN THE TANK
At the end of each session, try to incorporate 5-7 minutes of something high intensity. For two reasons: HIIT will blast calories and leave you with a natural endorphin high. I like to do five to ten 30-second sprints on the treadmill, or lamp post to lamp post when running outside. But, if you want to get back up and go again tomorrow, always leave a little something in the tank to keep you wanting more. Working out to failure may make you feel like a warrior, but if you can't move your muscles for the next three days, it can derail your flow.