Monday, 3 October 2016

How to Re-Kick Your Fitness Routine

Have you slipped out of your fitness routine? Do you feel like, despite running every day for three months at the beginning of the year, you can no longer bring yourself to tie up your shoelaces, or get out the door? Don't worry! It happens to the best of us. As someone who has been active my entire life, I can relate to the feelings of frustration when, for one reason or another, you can no longer get yourself going.

A few months ago, whilst training for the New York Marathon, I managed to injure myself and put myself not only out of the marathon (still heartbroken), but also out of exercise altogether.

Injury isn't the only reason people slip off their routine, so to speak - sometimes life just happens. Sometimes you take a break day, and then three, and then it's been a week, and all of a sudden you find yourself feeling as though you're back at square one, learning how to run (or swim, or spin, or skip, or lift) all over again.

The important thing to remember when you're feeling like this is that you can make a change! You weren't born exercising, you learnt and practiced and worked hard until it became a habit - and you can do it again!

That said, there are a few smaller steps required to make that 'giant' leap into your health and fitness routine again:

  1. Take progress and progress: You've all heard the saying "strive for progress, not for perfection," and that's exactly what you should do. Say for example that you used to be able to run ten miles straight without taking a break or feeling like you're going to implode. Great - use that as a goal, not as an expectation. Start running, today or tomorrow, and just run. Don't set yourself a distance to hit - just run as far as you can/feel comfortable running. If you only manage three miles, that's fine! Run three miles a day for a week, and then the next, increase it to four Be proud of yourself each time your runs increase and each time you get out the door, and be realistic about where your fitness level sits now.
  2. Listen to your body: Just as you need to accept your fitness levels as they stand, you also really need to listen to your body and how it responds to certain workouts. When your muscles pull up sore after a workout, don't be afraid to take the next day off and as an active rest (walking, stretching, yoga, etc.) instead of an intense workout. Rest is just as important as your high intensity workouts in terms of getting your body back on track in the safest way possible
  3. Your diet really does matter: Of course your diet and its contribution to your weight is important, but even if you are returning to exercise for reasons other than your own weight (such as health, enjoyment, habit or mental clarity), you need to embrace a clean diet, also. Through consuming good, whole, plant-based foods, you not only fuel your body correctly, enabling you to actually feel energized enough to go and workout, but you also consume foods that will aid in muscle repair and the building of lean muscle for increased strength. (I personally promote a HCLF Vegan diet, but so long as it's clean and suits your personal tastes and decisions, that's what matters most).
  4. Make your health and fitness a priority. For most of us, with the exception of chronic injury, we slip out of fitness routines at times when we are overwhelmed, stressed, busy or even simply on vacation and relaxing instead. It's important to understand and accept that there will never be the 'perfect' time to workout, and that you will have stresses and work coming and going consistently throughout the rest of your life. That being said, you need to make the conscious decision to prioritize your own health and wellbeing, sometimes above things that may seem to demand more attention, such as your school work or social life. Balance is key, and working out what matters most to you is the first step. 
  5. Enlist the help of others. You don't have to do everything alone! By getting yourself a workout buddy - someone who understands that you're just getting started, but will motivate you and help you get back into the swing of things can be the best thing for you! If you don't have anyone there to be your training buddy, that's fine - there's so many apps out there to help keep you on track. I personally love the Nike Training Club app, where you can set up your own goals and personalized workout schedules, and you'll receive some workouts on your phone to follow over a period of 4-10 weeks.
At the end of the day, your health is super important - but what's more important is not beating yourself up over your lapse. You took a break, it's done, it's perfectly fine and you need to move on - give yourself the chance to start again and work harder, get better and feel amazing! It's all a mind game, and whilst it can be difficult, it's both as easy and complicated as deciding that you're going to focus on you!

Do you have any other tips for people? Let us know below and share the love & motivation!



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