I will admit that my fitness routine has not always been on point. I go through phases where I think ‘I’m just going to stay in and eat pizza’. I really struggled finding my fitness mojo, and doing a routine that I loved. Looking back I just focused on doing as much cardio as I could, sweating away on the treadmill hating gym life, and not even seeing the result I desired. I would describe myself as skinny fat, I had a podge of stomach fat which was not shifting and I couldn’t understand why. This resulted in more cardio and less calorie intake, which was a viscous cycle ending in me feeling lethargic and lacking in energy, if I am honest I was bordering on having an eating disorder. It was all down to a lack of knowledge and what my body needed to function properly.
However, in the last 2 years I have been officially BACK ON IT. Mad for it, some would say. When things have popped up last minute and I’ve have to reschedule I have been adamant at finding a slot to get the blood pumping; which has meant that I’ve been forced to try new classes and workout at home when the thought of slogging my butt to the gym at 5am made me want to vom. I have found a love of lifting weights and combining 20 minute HIIT workouts as my cardio. Here’s how I’ve kept my motivation up…
Write it down. I used to write down what muscle group I would train on what day, so when my 5am alarm goes off and I arrive at the gym half asleep, at least I know what I am training that morning. I am all about routine, without it I am lost and then I get demotivated and fall off the bandwagon. I find having a set routine allows me to plan ahead to what exercises I am training on that day. To mix things up I also like to research new exercises on YouTube (Whitney Simmons is my fav), then I can whip my phone out at the gym to check if I am doing it correctly. For me personally I find the five day split routine works best for me, which consists of the following. Not only does it allow for proper recovery in each muscle group, it allows the trainee to work at a much higher intensity since each muscle group is only trained once a week.
Day 1: Rest
Day 2: Shoulders/Cardio
Day 3: Arms
Day 4: Rest/Cardio
Day 5: Back/Cardio
Day 6: Chest
Day 7: Legs
The reasons for prescribing those muscle groups in that order are as follow: For most trainees, training the lower body is probably the most taxing for their bodies. Therefore it is crucial to train it first in the beginning of each week to ensure that the workout is done while the body is still fresh. Instead of training five days in a row, it is also beneficial to rest in between training days to allow the CNS to get proper recovery. This is especially important for new trainees because their bodies are not primed to be able to work at a high intensity five days in a row yet
Be realistic. Find a time that suits you. I used to go the gym in the evenings, not daring to sit down when I come home from work otherwise I would not move. I would get caught in the rush hour traffic and arrive at the gym stressed thinking I’ve missed my class. Then when I had a chance to get onto the gym equipment everything was taken. I now go in the morning before work and before the majority of the Essex population is awake! The 5am alarm is AWFUL, but when I get to the gym it’s empty, full of equipment waiting for me to use and it’s the best feeling! Free reign on the gym. So this means when I come home from work in the evening, I can put my comfy lounge wear on and relax while watching ‘Animal Kingdom’(my new TV series obsession).
Try something new. I think I have been to every class my gym offers, this way you can meet new people and learn new ways to exercise while having fun. I found classes very inspiring as you are able to watch other people’s technics and also share their love and energy for working out (plus eyeing up all those new gym outfits). I had a love/hate relationship with Spin, your legs will pay the price for that calorie burning, and I just loved the fact we workout in a dark room because no one wants to see the sweaty state there in. Body pump is what started my passion of weight training, seeing results each week in your body and strength was just very satisfying and I soon got the bug for it. If you’re a beginner or not a gym person, I would highly recommend the classic fitness DVD, workout in your PJs I if you want, I do!
Find what you love. I know, real groundbreaking stuff here. But at the end of the day if you don’t love it, then you aren’t going to prioritise it. I’ve realised that right now I really bloomin’ love weight lifting combined with HIIT training. I have tried being a cardio bunny which left me looking and feeling ill, classes I absolutely loved and I was a huge fan of Metafit, but now my new gym doesn’t do this class (boo hoo). However because I went regularly I soon picked up different explosive exercises that I can incorporate in my own HIIT workout at home. I also found as my fitness levels went up the classes were not challenging me, I love to feel the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) the next day and classes were just not delivering. Weight training is not only beneficial physically but also mentally. I now have a toned physic, not skinny but strong and athletical. I have a thirst for improving my strength each session, it’s like a competition with myself. I feel more confident in clothes and genuinely healthier in myself with lots more energy and drive. HIIT training is a great way of burning fat in a short amount of time, I do 20 minutes 3 times a week. Who has time to spend hours on a treadmill (bore off). It is short bursts of energy with lots of different exercises so you will never get bored.