2017 is YOUR year. High five girl…
It’s been exactly a year since I joined the gym. And you know what? I’ve actually gone, regularly, and *whispers* I quite like it. I’ve only missed sessions when I’ve been away and have pretty much stuck to three sessions a week where I do a bit of everything from lifting to cardio and HIIT to bodyweight stuff. I feel like after 12 months it’s all starting to click. I’m slowly making changes in my diet too (goodbye Coco Pops – we’ve had a good ride) and I’m starting to see a real difference in my strength and body composition. I’m one happy chappy.
If you’re ready to jump on the fitness train for 2017 I thought I’d share with you some advice that has helped me turn from a couch potato into a couch potato who just lounges slightly less these days. Only slightly. If you’re interested in how I actually plan my workouts, then you can find all my tips in this post, but when you actually want to stick to the plan – here’s what I’d suggest…
Sweating can be fun. I think this is my biggest and most important piece of advice. If you crack this, then you’re in. The key is to find something that you both enjoy (perhaps with hindsight) and find challenging. For me, that’s been resistance training with my Personal Trainer – Paul. I wouldn’t say it’s enjoyable in the moment when I’m sweating so much that I have a ring of clingy, damp fabric sticking to my belly and I’m struggling to breathe; but the feeling of lifting heavier weights than the session before, or being able to do 10 jump squats without collapsing into a heap is extremely rewarding and is what keeps me coming back for more. Test out classes and research online, until you find something that you actually like doing – that way it won’t suck balls when you do it three times a week.
Accountability. In the beginning at least, I found that there had to be something of value that I was putting in to training or order to make myself go. In my case, it was money. Having a personal trainer isn’t the cheapest of things, but it’s an investment. The fact that I had booked a session with Paul and had paid him, made it something that I just kinda had to do. Whether it’s paying for sessions or booking yourself into a class that has a cancelation fee, or assigning your friend as a mini-coach to make sure you’re sticking to your schedule – some kind of accountability definitely helps in those first few months.
Plan it in. I didn’t workout for years because I pulled out the classic ‘I just don’t have any time‘ excuse. I mean, I work from home and don’t have kids – I have time. Sure, it eats into my day and means that I have to fit in filming a video or answering emails into another slot, but it’s just a case of doing a bit of re-jig. On days where I have to be in London for 9am, I just go to the gym really, really early – at 5am. Yes it’s gross, but it gets it done and you can bet your bottom dollar that if I saved my workout till the evening then they’d be no way in hell that I’d actually go. I sit down a some point on a Saturday or Sunday and schedule in my week’s worth of workouts as though they are meetings. That way they seem important, they’re in my diary and I’m less likely to bail.
Get a crew. Since I joined the gym, I’ve managed to rope in Mark and my sister into becoming members as well. Working out with other people is seriously where it’s at. Although I find that we do tend to take it a little easier on ourselves than when Paul’s eagle-eye is glaring down us, we still break a sweat and it’s nice to mix in a less intense workout from time to time. This year quite a few of my other mates have got PT’s or started going to classes too and it’s nice to share tips or feel in the same boat when everyone is struggling to sit down because they did squats the day before. Plus you’re less likely to give up or sleep-in and miss session if you’re heading there with a mate. I’m sure Mark really appreciates my ‘Gotta get up! Gotta get up! Gotta get up!’ yells at 5.30am in the morning before 6am leg day. I’m so sure.
Photos by Lauren Shipley