The last few months have completely changed the daily routine of just about every person in the country, especially those who have been on furlough.
With gyms having been closed for four months, fitness has been a major aspect of this. There are millions of gym-bros and -bunnies desperate to get their post-workout endorphin high.
A few lucky people managed to grab a pair of dumbbells before they all sold out or got price-gouged by cynical online retailers, but most of us haven’t lifted anything heavier than a Magnum icecream since March, having to settle for prison-style walks around the yard or a quick run around the block once a day.
We are now entering a period where routines will be changing again as we creep towards September, with people starting to slowly return to the City. So this is a perfect opportunity to reset your attitude to fitness and focus on new goals.
It will also help those of us who were furloughed to get back into a more rigid structure: a morning run can do wonders for your mood and concentration throughout the day, as well as introducing a positive daily habit.
Getting started is always the hardest part – “a journey starts with a single step” after all. Here are some ideas to get you back off to a flying start.
Come up with a specific goal and give yourself a date to work towards. After months where time felt fluid and there weren’t enough Netflix documentaries to fill the day, it’s important to reintroduce some structure to your life.
Think about what you would like to achieve in the next 90 days. What type of change would you expect to see in that time? Go beyond visuals: how would you feel. Accomplishment, energised, stronger, healthier, happier, sexier, more confident. Attaching an emotion will help make your new stick.
Now it’s time to make a commitment to yourself to stick it through the first 90 days. When you are going through the weeks, understand that you are going to experience doubt and even fear. At times it may seem easier just to give up and pack it in. Focus on the commitment you made to get you through.
This is not your end point, but a checkpoint to see how you’re getting on.
Sometimes I feel like a stuck record, saying the same thing in every column, but measuring your progress is so important I’m going to say it again. When you can see that all the hard work is leading to positive changes, it’s so much easier to keep pushing
Find a number of ways to measure progress. Start with attendance (times at the gym, number of runs), steps, calories eaten and/or burned, and sleep. Document your results and notice how improvements will appear after just a couple of days. The more mindful and present you are for your fitness routine, the easier it will be to change
As you go on, start to take down more measurements, including photos, clothes size, inches (waist, bum), weights lifted, running time and distance. The more the better. Look out for all the successes week after week.
This is important in every aspect of your life. Having a plan to work towards will make life far easier and success will come.
Get out your diary and take a look at the next month. Block out all of the events that you have coming up like birthdays, nights out and holidays.
Next, book in the days you will train. If it’s the diary, you are more likely to get it done. Be specific on the type of training too: book in weights sessions, cardio, personal training, stretching and anything else that will help you reach your goals.
The more of the plan you can see, the more you will be connected to the process. I encourage our clients to use this as a checklist, which is another success that can be measured. Highlighting a finished session in green gives you a little dopamine hit, like getting a like on Instagram. If you miss a session, highlight it in red: people only want to see greens in their calendar, so they go to the gym even if they are not feeling it.
Do you struggle with motivation? Do you have friends who want to kickstart their fitness routine? Do it together. Working with someone who has similar goals will really help Now lockdown if (pretty much) over, it’s also a great way to see those friends you haven’t been able to catch up with while the world was locked down.
If you don’t have a friend to go on this journey with, I recommend investing in a good personal trainer or getting involved with community or group classes. If the last few months have taught us anything it’s the importance of looking out for one another, so why not bring that into the most important aspect of your life: your health.