I’ve never been a huge fan of sports but, for the first time, I’m beginning to see the benefits. Finding an exercise routine that works for me has not only helped whip my body into shape but it’s also worked wonders on my mental health.
I know, I know, fitness chat is boring – discussions about how many reps you can do, or what your daily macros are, is dull, and comparing yourself to others is unhelpful. Nevertheless, I wanted to write about it just this one time, to encourage others who have shunned the sweat, to go for it.
There were a lot of things putting me off working out: the cost, the effort, the painful DOMS and looking stupid in front of others who knew what they were doing (and were far more fit and capable).
I still get those thoughts, that negative voice saying I’d be much better off going to the pub, I need that extra hour of sleep or I could be working instead. But now, I focus on how good it feels after a session. The reason I exercise is completely for self-care. It makes me calm, productive, more patient with others and just a freer, happier person.
The days I squeeze in a morning run or gym trip, I perform better at work and feel like I am 100x more fun to be around. I plan my exercise in the morning because I want to roll out of bed, get it over and done with, then move on with my day. With a little glow and endorphin buzz to show for it.
And it is so nice to see progress. When I start beating my personal bests or can extend my run by another 20 minutes, I feel great. The key is not comparing yourself to others, there will always be fitter (and I mean in all senses of the word) people, so you need to work on improving your body and your mind, for yourself only. It’s care, not competition.
So here are my top tips, apps and kit for getting into fitness:
PICK REALISTIC GOALS
Only you know how much your body can take, so don’t force it. Thinking you’ll have a six-pack in a month when you can barely manage 10 sit-ups, is not going to happen.
Making exercise a routine is important too, but again, you have to set specific targets which work for you. If you’re new to exercise, working out five times a week is impossible – try starting at two or three times, then when you’ve caught the bug you can start increasing your sessions.
The Nike Training App is perfect for creating a set schedule, on dates you can manage, according to your goals and ability.
LOOK AFTER YOUR BODY POST WORKOUT
Don’t overdo it and be sure to treat yourself when you do make it through a tough workout and it becomes an incentive. I love to relax in a warm bath with bubbles, candles and some salts to help relax the muscles and prevent achey DOMS
My favourite products… For a bath:
- Olverum bath oil contains pure essential oils, helping to ease muscles, relieve stress and help you achieve a great nights’ sleep. A few drops in a bath, makes it smell like heaven. You can buy a bottle here for £29
- Better You Magnesium Flakes are perfect for a long soak. The magnesium absorbs into your skin, helping your joints and muscles recover. You can buy them here for £3.49
- Aromatic Foaming Bath by Neal’s Yard is a blend of lavender, Spanish marjoram and geranium essential oils – because it’s not a bath without bubbles! You can buy it here for £15.50
- Better You Recovery Oil spray is perfect for soothing trouble areas. As well as magnesium, camphor, black pepper and lemon oils have been added to help stimulate blood circulation to the area and encourage muscle detoxing. Get it here for £12.20
- Finish that off with some Better You Magnesium body butter, and you’re all set! Get it here for £9.95
It doesn’t matter if you workout every day, if you don’t eat well, your body won’t improve and you won’t feel at the top of your game. Meal prep is a huge help for this, make sure you aren’t buying food on the go, and have things waiting at home so you cannot be a slave to your cravings
Smart Recipes meal planning app is made by the NHS and has loads of healthy recipes to help you plan your food for the week.
LOAD UP ON VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS
I find taking vitamins and supplements improves my performance and ensures I get the nutrients I need to keep fit and healthy.
My favourite products:
- For hydration: Because I like to go first thing in the morning when I wake up, I don’t have breakfast. Instead, I drink electrolytes which helps to keep me hydrated and keep my blood sugars up too. Try Coco minerals powder (£16.95) or Herbalife 24 electrolyte sachets (£30)
- For protein: I always make a shake around half an hour after my workout. Getting the right amount of protein is crucial to recovering from exercise and staying healthy. During the recovery period, your body uses protein to repair the muscles.
Try Proto Col pro gold whey & collagen protein (£39.95) or The Slender Blend (£31.99)
- For Smoothies: I also love to make smoothies with my protein powder, fruit, chia seeds and a spoonful of Green Magic – a blend of 16 superfoods that can be mixed with any cold drink/foods to help fill in the nutrient gaps you wouldn’t usually get from foods. I’ve usually knocked off at least three of my five a day, just in that one drink! Get it here for £8.95
FIND YOURSELF A COACH
Not sure what you’re doing at the gym? Ask somebody.
Whether that’s paying for a personal trainer, getting your gym-bunny-bestie to join you or using a training app. I used to put off the gym purely because I was embarrassed that I didn’t know which exercises to do but now I’ve found some amazing free and paid-for apps which give demonstrations, a training programme and help you focus on the areas you want – strength, toning or weight loss.
- Results with Lucy. Subscriptions start from £ 7.99 per month. Find out more here
- Nike Training App. Download it for free on the App Store or Google Play
FIND YOUR FEET
I know I’ll never be into weightlifting, or football or Zumba – I’ve tried it, and I didn’t enjoy it. But it’s so important to try as many different sports and exercises as you can until you find something that sticks. For me, it’s yoga, horse-riding, running and (on occasion) boxing. When you enjoy the sport, the workout doesn’t seem so much hard work.
GET ENOUGH REST
Guilty as charged. Last week, I only managed three or four hours of sleep each night.
When you’re tired, you can’t push your body to it’s optimum, and your mental capacity to make yourself exercise is gone. Getting a good sleep, and making sure to give yourself some rest days off from exercise, is so important for maintaining a positive attitude about exercise and not burning the candle at both ends.
I hope you found these points helpful, please do let me know how you get on with your own exercise goals and if you have any tips for me! CC x
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