You were doing so well. Lockdown had you in the best shape of your life. And then came Christmas. To give everybody a break in the year straight out of Shitsville, there was officially no naughty list this festive period. So you could pig out to your heart's content over the holidays, a challenge you stepped up to like the true professional you are. Cheese, chocolate, wine, cheese, pudding, shortbread, more wine, and did we mention cheese?! You smashed it.
But now that it’s time to get back in shape, for everybody’s sake, here’s five top tips to get yourself back on the fitness buzz that had you laughing in the face of lockdown.
Find your motivation
You have to want to get back in shape, this has to come from within, and not because you’ve been shamed into it by adverts/partners/social media/children, delete as appropriate. And it also has to be the right type of motivation, it needs to run deeper than trying to fit into that new shirt Grandma bought you for Christmas. It has to be about real and significant change for the right reasons, and you being the best version of yourself.
Baby steps to begin with
Just a few weeks without exercise, and a tonne of cheese, can make real physical differences to your body, but we guess you know that already! So we understand the desire to get back in shape right away. But the key is to take it slowly to begin with, you want to fix your body, not break it. Remember, never start where you left off. Ever. Your body needs time to build up the fitness levels again, and slow and steady is the name of the game. Trust us, any other approach will only end in pain, and no gain.
Get a plan and stick to it
“I love it when a plan comes together…” so said the A-Team’s Hannibal every Saturday afternoon in the 80s. And here’s the thing, he’s not the only one. You need to plan what your fitness regime will look like, work out what commitment is needed and make it happen. Write the plan down, visualise it, and strive to stick to it. But, and this is important, always listen to your body, really listen, and if your fitness plan is proving too much to begin with then change it. You are the master of your own fitness plan. Now that’s real power.
Set realistic goals
You won’t snap back into shape overnight, so get realistic about what you can do and what you want to achieve. Set goals, push yourself, but don’t set yourself up to fail, motivation doesn’t like failure, they fell out many moons ago. Also look at your goals beyond the physical, what other health benefits do you want and need? What impact does exercise have on your mental wellbeing? Think beyond losing those few pounds, proper goals will see benefits in so many different ways.
Be kind to yourself
Build rest days into your routine. This is not slacking, it’s giving your body time to recover. You can choose between active rest days, with some very light stretching or walking, or a passive rest day, where you binge on Netflix all day long!
Both are entirely acceptable (and needed!), active rest days aid recovery by increasing your blood flow and repairing muscles. Passive rest days, meanwhile, are vitally important for when you need your body to fully rest. And remember, listen to your body to work out what type of rest day you need. And give yourself a treat when you’ve really earned it, because everything works in moderation.