Because it’s about time I mixed it up…
Ahhh fitness. I’m a sucker for #NewYearNewMe content. However this year I have found myself reciting the phrase whilst chowing down on my eighth pig in blanket (we had a belated Christmas Dinner with my family last weekend and my Mum bought 36 sausages wrapped in bacon for seven people and I had more than my fair share). Heading home after a rather indulgent honeymoon has meant that I’ve sort of missed the boat for a clean slate and instead have had to ease myself back into the timezone, let alone a routine that included any kind of vegetables.
In a way I think that this gradual shift has been a good lesson for me. I’m notoriously someone who is all or nothing – I’m either eating a homemade green soup for lunch, or I’m having my second bowl of Coco Pops for the day – so it’s been different to have to slowly tweak and ease into the idea of looking after myself from the inside out again, after eating a diet of lamb and Arnott’s Mint Slices for so long. Over the past week I’ve deep cleaned the flat, which is something that bizarrely happens like clockwork at the beginning of every year. GET EVERYTHING OUT OF THE LOFT! I NEED TO CLEAN THE BACK OF THAT CUPBOARD! I’ve unpacked, even though it took me well over 24 hours to do so. Then I got back on top of emails, blog posts, filmed videos, updated my diary. I shaved! I moisturised! I did face mask after face mask! I slept for 11 hours straight! It was only then that I was truly ready to think about my plans for fitness for 2018.
2016 was the year that I properly got into the gym. I lifted and squatted my way to a level of fitness that I’d never even been close to before. I loved it and would happily trot off to do thrice-weekly sessions with my personal trainer and would prod my new-found arse regularly just to marvel at how much it had grown (for a pancake butt girl, this was very exciting). In 2017, I mixed it up a bit. I realised that although I enjoyed building muscle and increasing my cardio abilities, I was as stiff as a board and I missed the chilled vibes that at-home yoga used to give me (you lot know I’m a Yoga with Adriene fangirl – I even have her merch). I researched Reformer Pilates because I’d done a couple of classes up in London before and really enjoyed them, then found that there’s a studio within walking distance that ticked all my boxes. Didn’t cost the earth? Tick. Clean and friendly? Tick. Chilled out vibes? Tick. I began to alternate my workouts between the two and appreciated how doing Reformer made me feel. Yes it’s always a workout, but after a session I felt taller, my posture improved and it took about eight months for me to comfortably touch the floor when I bent over. As someone who could only previously just about grab at their ankles this was a BIG DEAL.
Over time the scales tipped towards Reformer and right now I’m at a place where I haven’t visited the gym in three months. And I’m alright with that. Previously I would have felt guilty, but my goal fitness-wise for 2018 is to just feel GOOD. I want to feel flexible. I want to feel stretched. I want to feel as un-tense as is physically possible for me. Imagine going for a massage and therapists not wincing at how your shoulder blades have tied together in one big knot? THE DREAM. I just want to gain strength in a way that makes me feel relaxed and more importantly, that I enjoy. Because ultimately that’s the key here; if you enjoy whatever method of exercise you partake in, you’re going to partake in it more frequently. Speaking of which…
Five Tips For Sticking To A Workout Routine In 2018
1) Carve out time. Before you even think about working out, you need to address where it will fit in your schedule. Is it worth waking up an hour early to go before work? Or does it make more sense to pop to the gym on your lunchbreak or after work? Perhaps it’s weekends that work better for you? Take a look at your diary and see what needs to be re-jigged to make time for it.
2) Gather your kit. If you feel banging in your new workout threads then you’re more likely to want to hit the town and show them off. Don’t give yourself the chance to wiggle your way out of a workout because you haven’t got the right gear. Do your research and make sure you feel comfortable in your new purchases.
3) Diary that s**t. Add your workouts into your calendar or to-do list like you would any other item. The chances of you actually going through with it are higher because it looks and feels like more of a priority. Honestly this tip changed my life. Whether it’s classes or you’re working out on your own – make it feel important.
4) Go with a mate. My favourite Reformer classes are the ones that Mark goes to with me (he loves it too and goes twice a week!). Not only do I get to chuckle at his facial expressions as he attempts to stretch out his rather resistant hip flexor, it’s just a good laugh and we’re less likely to cancel because it messes up the other person’s plans.
5) Find something you love. It might take a couple of weeks of trying a gym’s class schedule, or a good chunk of time of Internet research – but when you find something that you really enjoy, working out is no longer a laborious task that you’d rather poke your own eye out than do. Try something new this year – you might bladdy LOVE IT?
So what’s my fitness routine (hopefully) going to look like in 2018? Well I’m back at it with the Reformer. It’s funny how quickly you loose your strength when you’re not using it as the sessions I’ve had recently have made me sweat and shake in a way that feels like I’m going back to the beginning, but it’s still an hour of my day that I look forward to. I try and squeeze in sessions four times a week if possible and hope to continue that. The one area that I’m lacking in though, is cardio. EW CARDIO. It’s the worst because I’m crap at it and it makes me heave and breathe in a way that makes me feel like I’ll never be able to breathe easily again. Panting ain’t a good look on me, but I’ve been checking out local bootcamp-style classes because I feel like over the past year I’ve really enjoyed the motivation and friendships (I’ve made a Pilates friend!), that come with group classes. So I’ll keep you updated on that one. But right now if I could just get back to the point that I could touch the floor again without my hamstrings screaming at me, then that would be fab…
Photos by Lauren Shipley
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