Tuesday 27 September 2016

5 Tips To Nail Your Fitness Regime

   Between holding down a job, caring for your family and generally having a life, it can be tough to stay on track when it comes to exercising. So that you don’t fall into a fitness rut, here are five simple, handy tips that might help you stick to your regime and obtain the health you deserve.

1. Set small, obtainable goals
   Setting attainable and realistic goals is a great way to keep your fitness plan on course. This doesn't mean 'bikini body in 8 weeks' or 'lose 3 stone', it means small, obtainable goals that you adjust when you reach.
   It's best to start small and focus on activity rather than results. If you go from being sedentary to active, then you will see results whether you focus on them or not. So, for example, you might aim to go for a swim three days a week, or complete a 5k run. These are small and realistic goals that you'll reach in time and will encourage your dedication to fitness. A great way to track these challenges is through use of a FitBit fitness watch. This and products like it can keep track of your progress - steps taken, distance travelled and so on - so you know precisely where you are and how far to go to reach your goal. You'll also have a clearer idea on your personal bests and be in a better position to smash them every single day. FitBits are available in a range of high street stores and online from retailers such as Lloyds Online Pharmacy.

2. Make it fun
   If you’re struggling for motivation, you may benefit from injecting a little fun into your exercise routine. Working out shouldn't be boring, and it's not all running, cycling, swimming and step aerobics. If you love those sports, great, stick with them, but if they don't make you want to move, try looking into sports and activities that you find enjoyable, or the ideas of which appeal to you. While some people might get a kick from lifting weights - I certainly do - you may find that ballroom dancing or martial arts is more your cup of tea. And if heading out to a class or a gym fills you with dread, A Blackbird's Epiphany is full of workout DVD reviews in all kinds of genres: kettlebells, kickboxing, African dance, barre - even Irish step dance! Don't limit your mind! See it as an opportunity to learn something you've always wanted to!

3. Create a workout playlist
   It's been proven that music makes you work out harder, and that's not just because you fancy yourself Rocky, it's because it also takes your mind off of lactic acid, struggles and boredom from over-use. So, the best way to stay focused during your workouts and make them more fun, is to put together a workout playlist, or find music that works for you. These days there are loads of convenient little straps and belts that hold your smartphone, your keys and whatnot, and tangle-free earphones, so listening to music on a run or kickboxing session doesn't have to be the mess it used to be. And use whatever works. For me, that's Two Steps From Hell, game soundtracks (The Witcher is my go-to), and Asian music - it all depends on what I'm doing. But if you prefer more mainstream music, take a look at the countless workout mix albums on Amazon.

4. Get others involved
   Whether you visit the gym with a friend, go for a run with your partner or simply kick a ball about in the backyard with your kids, getting others involved is a great way to stick to your fitness schedule. Recruiting your friends and family not only makes it more fun for you, but also benefits everyone’s health. It also makes it harder to make excuses because it's not just yourself you're ultimately inconveniencing by cancelling, it's the friend who set aside time to train with you.
   But, if you're enlisting a workout buddy for running or high-impact sports, there is one important rule that you would both have to adhere to: don't compare yourself to each other. Some people are more flexible than others by design, others through sports hobbies in their past. As a result, you may not both be starting from square one, but that doesn't mean you have to give up, or push yourself too hard to catch up or hold yourself back for the other. Just remember that everyone is different.

5. Attend a class
   If you're more of a pack animal than a lone hunter, a class may be better for you than going it alone. Melting into a mass of people in a class where you are one of thirty faces means you can get the social vibe without drawing attention to yourself. And classes also mean you can get direct help if your form is off, you'll know right away what you're doing wrong, and you also have access to kit and instruction you won't get from DVDs. I'd love to flip tyres, but I can't do that in my living room.
   And there is a class for everything, and just about every alternative take - yoga? How about hot yoga, prenatal yoga, aqua yoga, suspended yoga, Afrikan yoga? The sky is the limit. Just check out your local gym or sports recreation centre to see what’s on in your area - or, if you're up for a commute for that uniquely epic workout, check out the websites of tribe fitness - Buti yoga, Pound and so on - and see if there's a class near you.


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