Top tips for motivating yourself to exercise

fitness motivation

Despite being fitness professionals, we do know how hard it can be to motivate yourself both to do a workout and to do it properly! We have struggled to put our trainers on and get down to the gym, often snowed under by a pile of work that seems more imortant than our health and wellbeing. Here are our top tips for keeping yourself motivated to exercise:

Have a goal: without a goal, it can seem like there isn't any point. Whether it's to beat your personal best at running 5km, lifting a heavier weight or running a marathon, from long term goals to short term ones, keeping your eye on the prize definitely helps to get you in the training zone. 

Have a routine: Although it is important to mix up your workouts so that your body doesn't plateau, it's also beneficial to have some structure to the days you workout - what you do during those workouts is a different matter. Whether you go to the gym every Tuesday evening, head out for a jog every Thursday lunchtime or go to a yoga class every Saturday, sticking to a routine can help to keep you on track, especially when you feel like curling up under the duvet. 

Remember that exercise releases endorphins: Those wonderful hormones that get us buzzing are easy to produce. All you need to do is move your body! Sometimes we avoid exercise because we feel tired, and there are times when it is really important to listen to our bodies and respect this. However  often at the end of a long day, especially if we have a sedentary job, we feel tired because our bodies have gone into a mini-hibernation. Waking ourselves up with a bit of exercise can give us a new lease of life at 6pm. Rememeber this when you feel like avoiding the gym! 

Know your bodyclock and your priorities: Some people are wide awake first thing in the moring (me) and others and sloth-like until lunchtime (Ross)!! Know yourself and when is the best time for you to workout. Personally, whilst I find that I am alert in the mornings this is the best time for me to do admin, answer emails and get myself sorted for the day ahead. If I have time once I've done this I will do some exercise, but I find it easier to dedicate the time at the end of the day when I have tied up work and can relax. We are all different - work out what works for you, and try to stick to it. 

Have a training buddy: Whether a best friend or a personal trainer, having someone there to keep you motivated when you are exercising can be crucial to helping you stay motivated. Plus they tend to make things more fun! 

Join a class: Exercise classes can be a great way to keep you motivated. If you have commited to a course it will make it a little harder for you to skip sessions, which in the end is what you want. Having some flexibility is great, but we see all too often people making a start and then letting life get in the way before the habit of exercise has taken hold. When we exercise in groups we are also spurred on by the others, encouraged to push ourselves that tiny bit further... and it's these moments that make all the difference. 

If you feel like you need some extra motivation to get you started or keep you on the fitness wagon why not join one of our group fitness classes, or get a proper kick-start with personal training?! 

How do I take up running safely?

running

Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise and, when done correctly, a great way to keep fit. Without gym fees and the need for fancy kit, it's a great activity for anyone to take up. But how do you start running and ensure you don't hurt yourself? 

Injuries from running are common! As a yoga teacher as well as a personal trainer, I hear A LOT of people tell me "I used to run, but I hurt my knees". However, I also see veteran runners going well into their 60's, injury free. So what is the trick? 

Know your injury threshold. This will be different for everyone, but we all have a limit. Studies have identified thresholds at 11, 25 and 40 miles a week, and exceeding the limit that is right for your body will result in injury.

Don't try to run before you can walk! A lot of people take up running with a specific goal in mind, such as a long distance race. However, going from 0 to 41 miles in a few months does not give your body enough time to build up the correct strength and adapt. Running experts have recognised this and suggest the 10% rule, building up an additional 10% each week. For example, if you run 10km on week, run 11km the next week. For some, this may still be too fast. It's better to start slowly and make running a regular habit before trying to take on big challenges like marathons!

Know your injuries. If you have old injuries these could be aggravated by lots of running, or indeed any new exercise. Do some research and be aware of what you need to do to protect the injuries you have recovered from. And when you do have an injury, or even just a niggle, rest! 

Stretch. Releasing tight muscles after a run will help them to recover. Save the longer, deeper stretches for post-run recovery and stick to dynamic stretches as a warm up. 

Strength train. This will build all-round, balanced muscle, helping to improve your running performance and posture. It also gives your body a rest from running, which is needed as too much of anything is not good.

Listen to your body. Each body is different, we have our own thresholds and limitations. Nothing can tell you what is best for you other than your own body, and when it says 'ouch' it's time to stop. 

If you are interested in grabbing your trainers and heading outside, why not join our next Beginner Jogging & Fitness group, starting in March. Our 6 week course will get you outside and running confidently and safely. Contact us for more information

The hidden benefits of exercise

This week I have done consultations with 2 new clients and when it came to asking them WHY they wanted to take up personal training my face lit up at their answers

"for my mind", "to de-stress from work" and "for fun"

The health and fitness industry bombards us with images and slogans that cement an idea of fitness being a way to get your summer body, get stronger, get slimmer, all whilst pushing/punishing your body. Perhaps because it's easier to sell something visual, the 'other' outcomes are often ignored. However, in light of Mental Health Awareness week I thought I would highlight these hidden benefits of exercise.

Happy - It's a well-known fact that exercises releases endorphins, those wonderful hormones that make us happy. Just 10 minutes can make a massive difference, especially over time. How often have you dragged yourself to the gym despite feeling a bit flat, only to leave feeling better?

Connected - even if the air isn't that 'fresh', being outside and feeling the elements on your skin is an amazing way to feel connected to where you are. Our lives often revolve around computers, virtual worlds, smart phones. Turning everything off and getting outside brings us back to our reality, in a good way.

Alive - there's nothing quite like the feeling of your heart beating and sweat dripping down your back to remind you that you are alive. Sometimes life can get monotonous, but adding a challenging workout can help break the day to day grind. 

Accomplished - fitness and exercise are a great way to challenge ourselves. Whether it's a 5km run or lifting a weight you never thought you could, that sense of achievement adds to our inner confidence and feeling of self worth. 

De-stressed - it's almost an oxymoron! How can something make you feel more alive, energised and 'pumped' yet also de-stressed? Exercise can be almost meditative - whether you are on bike, lifting weights, doing a HIIT workout - whatever you are doing, you are co-ordinating your mind, body and breathing in order to do it correctly. Your brain doesn't have the time to worry about work or life, it's too busy trying to do the exercise. This time out of your day to day thoughts gives your mind a rest and allows those stresses to melt away. 

The list could go on...! 

It's no secret that we live in a culture that is growing in size (width ways!) and tackling this with exercise is important. However, focusing on the benefits that aren't so visual help to move that motivation to something internal. This is when the changes you make become long term and when you can really become fit for life, for the rest of your life!

Making the most of the great outdoors - the benefits of outdoor exercise

As the sun finally starts to appear it's time to head outdoors again! We love training outside, it makes us feel so much more energised than being inside an air-conditioned room with equipment buzzing.

There are so many benefits to training outside including fresh air and vitamin D, something we don't get that much and really need to make the most of! Outdoor workouts can be far more adventurous and creative than inside a gym. From sprints up the beach to step ups on a bench, using our surroundings to help us get fit can remind us how easy and simple it is. It also helps us to appreciate where we are and actually take the time to enjoy it. 

When the weather isn't so good (because let's be honest, this is the UK) working out in the rain and wind also has it's benefits. Sometimes it feels like a massive challenge just to put your trainers on. The feeling of achievement when you get home from a run or workout, or even a bootcamp, is amazing. Tired, muddy, wet, you know you've put the effort in and that's what will get you the results. It's not always meant to be easy, but these moments remind us how strong we are! 

With the rise in popularity of mud runs and assault courses, outdoor group fitness sessions have also become appealing. Working out in a group has it's own pluses - camaraderie really helps you to work harder, as does a bit of friendly competition. Whilst solo exercising can help you to switch off, group classes are often a lot of fun! 

So what are you waiting for? Get outside and get active! Our Fit Club is starting up again in Horsham in May, with a special option for the youngsters too. Contact us now to book your spot, or to bring a session to a group near you. 

 

 

Finding Your Fitness Flow

Finding Your Fitness Flow

fitness flow

The reasons why we exercise often vary, but the outcomes are the same - increased fitness levels, increased energy levels, lower body fat, better functioning heart, stronger muscles... the list goes on... AND eventually (hopefully) better mood. A lot of the time we start to exercise due to external motivation - we want to look better, or we are told our health will improve. However, slowly this shifts and the motivation becomes internal. We start to enjoy the exercise, it becomes our release, our escape and we look forward to it. We are in our Fitness Flow. This is the ultimate goal and the point that we, as trainers, strive to get our clients to. 

It wasn't until I discovered surfing that I understood the concept of 'flow'. I never saw surfing as exercise, despite the fact that I would sometimes spend 2 hours paddling non-stop (the equivalent to front crawl without the legs) and not even catch a wave. I was completely in the moment, getting enjoyment from the action not the results those actions were giving me... and I became the strongest and fittest I had ever been. 

Fitness Flow is something I think about a lot as a personal trainer. Obviously understanding goals and helping people to reach these is important. But enjoyment is equally as important!! There is no point in pushing yourself and feeling like it's a chore, forcing yourself to do one more squat when actually you hate squats. Finding exercise that you enjoy will ensure that the exercise becomes a part of your life, and therefore that it is something you will be able to continue with because you actually like doing it. It's not just a means to an end.

With this in mind, ask yourself what activities you enjoy. What workouts leave you thinking 'I want to do that again'? What gives you the biggest buzz afterwards? Try to incorporate these exercises into your routine as much as possible, and if you're not sure then try lots of different things. Most importantly, have fun!