Once you have the motivation to fall back into a health routine after a long time without exercise, here’s a list of fitness and diet tips I have compiled for those trying to do the same:
1. Stretch before and after a workout
I can’t stress this enough. You are not as flexible as you used to be and you will suffer a lot more if you don’t stretch out your muscles. Going to a Pilates or yoga session is an excellent way to end a gym session and you will feel the benefits in the morning.
2. Surround yourself with healthy get-fit people.
It will rub off on you very quickly.
3. Sign up for gym classes in advance, and do not back out
Organise your time around your work and gym routine. By booking classes in advance, social plans you make won’t interfere with your fitness goals. As long as you make sure not to cancel.
4. Go to the gym with a friend; have fun and encourage each other
Going to the gym doesn’t have to be a chore. Join the same gym as your friends and work colleagues and you can make it a social event. You are more likely to have the confidence to try something new without letting embarrassment get in the way if you are with a friend.
5. Try something new
The fitness industry is always developing new ways of making fitness fun. And in a city like London, the sky’s the limit. Variety keeps things fun and interesting.
6. Join a 30-day challenge
When there is an finish line in sight it is easier to keep going. You can choose these according to which areas you want to focus on most; arm, core, leg, strength. The workouts can be done at home and are really quick for the busy bee who doesn’t have time to set aside for the gym.
7. Don’t feel disheartened
When you are aren’t as fit as you expected, or when your friends are doing better than you, don’t let that lower morale. Everyone is at different levels. You shouldn’t be trying to compete with people (unless you are in competitive sport), just try to achieve your own personal goals. Go at your own pace.
8. Do not push your body too hard, too fast
If you go really hard in the first few days, you will ruin yourself for the rest of the week.
9. Cook group meals
This way you can pit your money together and buy more ingredients or make something you’ve never tried before. It’s a great way of spending quality time with your flatmates, saving money and being creative in the kitchen. Also sharing the cooking = less to do. Win all round.
10. Make a meal plan in advance
This will make sure nothing is wasted and you will know exactly what to shop for.
11. Take lunch to work with you
This way you can resist the temptation to buy a muffin at the bakery. It will save you money as well.
12. Don’t cut all treats out
It’s important to treat yourself every now and then. Give yourself a pat on the back when you achieve your weekly goals or personal bests. An occasional chocolate bar won’t hurt you. Stay well clear of fast food though. There are chemicals in fast food that are highly addictive so a treat will quickly turn into a habit.
13. Understand what your craving means
A craving is your body telling you that you are lacking something. What you are craving is not necessarily what you need. For instance, chocolate cravings indicate a magnesium deficiency. The more educated you are about the nutrients and vitamins your body requires, the more in tune with you body you will be. Your body is a temple, treat it well.
14. Don’t eat until you are stuffed
Many of us mistake thirst for hunger. If you drink a pint of water during and after a meal, you’ll find you are much more content than if you just have the meal. Don’t wait until you are feeling light-headed and starving to eat because your body will go into starvation mode and store more fat when you do eat. If you are starving, eat light and slowly otherwise you will feel stuffed very quickly. Eat until you are comfortable but no more. You will soon get used to eating appropriate portion sizes for what your body needs, and no more.
15. Drink loads of water
You already knew this one. Take a 500ml or 1 litre water bottle with you to work and make note of how many litres you drink. Doctors recommended we drink between 2-3 litres a day. It is very important to stay hydrated when working out to replace fluid lost in sweat.