This month, I thought I’d impart some of my knowledge of exercise and working out that I have learnt over the past 6 years of regularly exercising and creating my own regime. Back when I start out I was overweight and unfit and over the last 6 years I’ve lost over 6 stone and reached much better levels of health and fitness than I’ve had since I was a child. I’m not saying I’m the fittest person in the world and I certainly couldn’t run a marathon but I’ve turned myself around from someone who hates playing sports and the awful PE lessons I endured at school to someone who loves exercising every day if I can and wakes up every morning truly ready to start my day with a decent workout. So here are my tips from my experience for you to help you to get into exercise even if you hate playing sport:
1. Start Off Small and Slow
This is essential advice really and something every single person should adhere to. When I first started regularly exercising 6 years ago now, I started slow and steady and have built up to the five workouts a week I do now. I was very unfit and overweight when I started and I’d not exercised for years through sheer embarassment over my body but when I decided I needed to change instead of throwing myself in there and either causing an injury or putting myself of for life, I started slow. Either one big workout a week or little workouts which involve slightly easier exercises are best to start with and as you feel yourself getting fitter and those exercises becoming easier than start moving up, adding in more workouts and higher intensity levels. I’m no expert on exercise but that is what has worked for me and I know for a fact that it is extremely important to take things at your own pace building up as and when you can. You will feel a whole lot better for it in the long run trust me.
2. Have a Good Playlist
This is a definitely an essential for me, much like when I’m writing I like to have a decent playlist when I am working out. Usually full of upbeat, fast paced tracks that will keep me and my heart rate up throughout whatever exercise I’m doing. If it is yoga though obviously a more chilled out playlist is required. But for me having the music can either be a motivator for the high intensity and cardio heavy workouts which are seriously hard work but it is also something for me to focus on when I feel like there is something I can’t do or I want to quit this horrible ordeal I’m putting myself through. Listening to the beats or the lyrics gives my mind something to focus on other than the sheer pain of a good workout. Definitely a must have for any exerciser whether experienced or novice.
3. Make It Fun
This is definitely a great one for people looking to work out with their friends as it is quite easy to keep each other laughing and motivated throughout the gym session or exercise class. Personally, I prefer to work out on my own at home so I make my own fun by having a good playlist to listen to so I can dance along to the music or make up silly routines when my energy levels are getting low. I know it is a lot harder to make it fun when you are on your own as you have no one to talk to or laugh with but if anything in the comfort of your own home you can act as stupid as you want to keep yourself motivated and no one will be any the wiser.
4. Mix up your Weekly Exercise Routine
The best way for me to keep things fun and fresh every single week is using a variety of workouts to not only make sure I’m getting the best exercise possible but to try new things along to way. Use apps, blogs, YouTube videos, DVD’s or go to the gym, classes and get out for a run. Personally, I use a mix of DVD’s and my Nike Fitness app which is great. I usually try to fit in a cardio and weights workout as well as Zumba, Pilates and Yoga every week but using my app I set myself month long challenges where I focus on a specific goal like getting fit or getting toned etc. I really think the fact that I mix things up gets me a lot more motivated throughout the week and especially on days when I may not feel like exercising at least I know I’m not just repeating yesterday’s workout. It is one of my biggest tips to making exercise good so it is the one I suggest you look into following.
5. Don’t Pressure Yourself
It’s ok to have targets, goals and an idea of how many days a week you’d ideally like to be working out but sometimes that just can’t happen. You might be ill or just simply too tired, you may have pulled a muscle or you may have a busy week ahead; whatever it is it doesn’t mean you have suddenly become lazy and ruined all your hard work. It just means that you need to take a break for a day, week or month before getting back on the bandwagon. I’ve been there myself when I’ve gotten ill and have not been able to do my daily workout. I had to take two weeks off so I could get better and I felt guilty the whole time but you know what, it was better for me to have two weeks off to get better so I could carry on at full strength than try to struggle through making myself worse off in the long run. Whatever happens have fun and enjoy it, by all means have goals, we all do, but don’t put too much pressure and stress on yourself to meet them quickly, you will get there in the end.