I have no other way of saying this:
Willpower is just not going to cut it.
Ah, willpower. I feel for him. Over-used and overrated.
Picture this. It’s snowing outside. I feel warm and cosy sitting on my sofa. I dream of swapping my leggings and chunky turtle neck for my PJs. But I also know soon I’ll be braving the weather Gods and taking my lycra out for a spin. And willpower has got nothing to do with it.
For a blog post that promises tips to work out, this doesn’t feel like your typical story opener, right?
And yet, it is exactly where I want to start.
Read this if you’re struggling with getting back into your fitness routine or indeed with starting one altogether. It draws from personal experience – the experience of someone who (OMG!) only started to work out aged 35, with no previous fitness habits whatsoever (PE doesn’t count). Now? Fitness is my daily bread, source of joy and self-confidence and a perkier derriere, if I may say so myself.
So, are you ready to get (back) into it? Follow these 5 tips to endorphin nirvana.
Have a plan. Stick to it
I didn’t say it was going to be easy. But it really is that simple. Take half an hour of your weekend to plan the week ahead. Book them in. Cancellation policy? We love those. Nothing like feeling like you’re wasting your money to get you moving faster to make that class.
Mix cardio with resistance and throw in some restorative yoga for good measure. I’ve recently been told by an expert nutritionist Alice Mackintosh to aim for 4 workouts a week. Are you a weekend warrior? Beware, seriously – you could be doing more harm than good to those cortisol levels. Instead of going all in at the gym Saturday and Sunday, sweat it out throughout the week for better results. Give yourself a chance to Unplug at the weekend.
Picture the telomere effect
I’m a willpower sceptical. But I believe in science. Which is where telomeres come in. The new T word that will be in everyone’s lips. These protective caps at the end of your chromosomes are the best marker for longevity. And you want them loooooong. The longer the telomeres, the greater number of times will your cells renew themselves – preventing ageing in the process. Exercise has been proven to lengthen telomeres, especially cardio. So next time you’re on that bike imagine the awesome things happening inside your body at the most cellular level. You may actually be turning back the clock, people.
Get the fuel right
You can’t out-train a bad diet. I’m not talking about calories here (I find calorie counting a waste of time and one of the best shortcuts to stop enjoying your food). I’m talking about nourishing your body for, well… life. Make sure you’re adding protein post-workout to support muscle recovery. Your body can’t synthesise protein, so it must come from the foods you eat.
Choose wisely, preferably organic. I love adding a scoop of Motion Nutrition Vegan Peanut Protein to my smoothies for that school-gate-snickers-bar feel. If I‘m in a hurry I’ll just add it to some almond milk (shake it, shake it, shake it) but when I’m feeling like something more comforting I’ll blend in half a banana and a pinch of cinnamon, hummmm.
Stuck in a rut? Feeling bored? Might as well stay home kind of feeling. Changing it up will add some extra pizzazz that will make you want to get out and work out. Try a new class, new instructor, create a new playlist or (my personal favourite) buy some new piece of kit.
Be kind to yourself
Think of health and fitness like a marathon, not a sprint. There will be those awesome days when you’ll land a new PB. Most days will be about showing up and going with flow. But sometimes you’ll just feel like s*it, stay in and have a tub of Ben & Jerrys (that was before I tried Comte with quince jam). That’s called life. Move on, guilt-free – tomorrow is another day. And remember to enjoy the ice-cream.
The other piece of good news? The more you work out, the more you’ll enjoy working out. It’s not willpower, it’s chemistry. Your body releases feel-good endorphins when you exercise. Result: you’ll be happily hooked for life – this ability to synthesise happiness is a pretty awesome thought.
Go on. Less moaning more moving. Unless (exceptionally) you’d like to join in with me for a full on night in of binge TV and carbohydrates. I’ll be the one wearing thermal leggings.
That Fitster is an award winning Healthy Food and Fitness Blogger and mum of 3 living in London. After baby #3 was born, she was a big, fat, energy depleted mess (her words not ours!) and had a serious wake-up call –it was time to get her act together! Healthy food and fitness changed her life. Now on the other side of 35 she feels stronger and healthier than ever! Check out her fun packed, balanced take on a healthy lifestyle including fitness tips, healthy food, awesome activewear and travels!