I always said that when I turned 30, I wanted to be in the best shape of my life. I always had plans for how I would get to that best shape: go to the gym, do a juice cleanse, try intermittent fasting. Always all of these plans but not enough time in the day so I was always making excuses: it is a busy time at work, wedding planning is stressing me out etc. etc. As 2020 started, and my 30th birthday was fast approaching, I still have not made any progress on that dream body and my eating habits were less than favorable. Then, lockdown happened. For the first time in my life, I did not have the luxury of getting a take-out when I did not feel like cooking and I did not have the excuse of “the drive home made me tired” to not work out, so I decided that this was the time to change my habits, and finally start my fitness journey!
Today I wanted to share with you my tips for making exercise a part of your day-to-day lifestyle, and what helped me to achieve my goals. Please note that I am in no way a personal trainer or qualified in the fitness industry, this is just my personal experience on what helped me achieve my fitness goals 🙂
Before I even start, make sure you check out my Instagram right now and win yourself a pair of these amazing Puma Provoke XT sneakers!
- Get cute workout gear!
First thing is first- if you are going to exercise, you are going to need some nice training gear to do it in, right? 😉 Looking ready can make you feel ready, so I started with getting myself physically ready for the workouts with some cute training gear. I am an avid fan of Puma, and own some awesome workout tights, bras and shoes from the brand so I was super excited to collab with them on this post, and show you what I love working out in! Even though I work out alone and no on sees me, I love wearing awesome sporty outfits for myself, because they make me feel motivated.
This outfit is what I typically like to work out in- some stylish training tights and an AMAZING sports bra. As someone who is a rather large cup size, finding a good training bra has always been a struggle, but I can HIGHLY recommend this Puma sports bra(currently sold out online but also try this one). I do a lot of burpees, jump squats and lunge kick-outs in my exercises and this bra really helps me keep the girls nice and tight, without them ever escaping from the bra. Of course, no outfit is complete without some awesome training shoes, and over on my Instagram you can win yourself a pair of these amazing Provoke XT training kicks. Complete your training look with a jersey if you are training outside, and you are all set to exercise!
- Get your head in the game and make exercise a priority.
For me personally (and I think for many other people) getting myself to workout is a mental game. I had to mentally get my head in the game at the beginning of lockdown and prep myself to get into this for the long run. You have to be mentally ready for this challenge, because it is your will power that will get you working out even on the days that you do not feel like it. Be ready to take on a challenge on and make your health a priority. If it is not a priority for you, then there will always be more important things to do (such as watching the latest season of Selling Sunset) rather than exercise. I made a promise to myself and my body that I will do this, and on the hard days when I did not feel like exercising, I had to remind myself of this promise that I made to keep myself motivated and going.
- Find a sport or an exercise that works for you.
I am not a sporty person by nature so finding an exercise that I like doing has always been a struggle for me. I played hockey in high school, but I was never any good at it because my hand/eye co-ordination is shocking. I am not a runner, I hate cycling and the thought of taking a long hike gives me a headache. Finding something that I enjoyed doing was a mission and over the years, I have tried it all- Zumba, kickboxing, Pilates, and I never got into any of it.
When lockdown happened, I came across an Instagram story about the Tone It Up Program, which is a simple app with lots of different at-home workouts on it and so I decided to give it a go. I have absolutely loved it because the workouts are quick (20-25 minutes), you get different workouts for different fitness levels, and you can sign yourself up to different programs depending on your goals. Turns out that I really like HIIT exercises as well as Barre, and I like some light muscle training. This app works for me perfectly, and there are many similar apps available on the market that you can check out. Sometimes you need to try a few out to see which one is for you, for example I found the Kayla Itsines App way too intense for me, and I would always struggle to finish the exercise, and then feel like a failure. Listen to your body and to what it likes!
- Know whether you are a lone ranger or get an accountability buddy.
I love to work out alone. I really like it because I use it as “me-time” to work on my goals without the pressure of anyone watching me. Something that I discovered (but somewhat always knew) is that I do not like working out at the gym! I have never felt comfortable at the gym, whether it was because I felt like I run strangely on the treadmill, feeling intimidated by all of the professionals there, or feeling irritated when people would come and tell me that I am doing my exercises wrong (I kid you not, this has happened to me!). Working out at home and alone has been the best for my fitness journey and it works for me.
However, I also know many friends that love exercising in a group or with each other, because in that way they are held accountable to “show up”. My husband plays soccer for that exact reason, because he knows that he cannot let a team down once he has committed to playing a game. Whether you like doing a kickboxing class in a studio at the gym, or you prefer to do it in the comfort of your own home, you are still exercising and that is what matters the most.
- Set yourself micro-goals and track your progress weekly!
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was anyone’s dream body. What worked for me is that I would do one set of the same exercise every week and see if I have gotten stronger week on week after doing it. How many jump squats can I do in 1 minute? When I first started I could only manage 20, but as weeks went by I could do 2 more every week, and I made sure to track that weekly in my training diary(i.e. how many pushups I can do, side-dips etc.). Besides the strength goal I did also want to lose 5kgs, and it took me 6 months to get there because remember that slow and steady wins the race. Be gentle on yourself and celebrate any victory, big or small, that comes your way.
- Find a time that works for you
Especially during lockdown, my work-from-home schedule was all-over the show. Some days I would finish at 8pm, others at 5pm. Someday I was booked up with meetings, other days the meetings were finished by 12pm. My weekly challenge was to do four sets of 30 minutes exercises, and I played around with the times that I would do it, day-to-day. I often exercise during my lunch hour break, or in the evenings while I am busy roasting something in the oven. In the weeks when I am back in the office, I wake up 30 minutes earlier and get my exercise over and done with for the day. Do not feel pressured to do it at the same time every day, because life happens!
- It is okay to have a break.
Throughout my fitness journey, the one thing that I always did was be gentle on myself. I would tell myself that as long as I showed up and did my best, that was all that I needed to do. If I were feeling sore from my exercises, I would take a break the next day. I’ve gone a couple of weeks without training, and that is okay. As long you get back to it when you are ready, you are good! However, my last piece of advice to you is that do not wait for Monday to start anything- if you are ready today, start today! Tomorrow you will be proud of yourself for taking the step that you did yesterday.
I hope that you have found my tips helpful to kick-start your own fitness journey! 🙂