Now I am not here to preach or to judge, I totally get that sometimes it’s just really hard to find the motivation to get up and do that run or to get on the mat and do a virtual yoga class. I just wanted to share my experiences about staying fit and healthy during lockdown with you, in case you too sometimes struggle to stay motivated.
Don’t get me wrong, I have also had my fair share of days when I’ve got changed into my leggings, got the yoga mat out and then… Poured a glass of wine instead! And you know what, sometimes that’s ok. Some days you just need to rest and relax. Although try not to pour yourself a glass of wine every day! I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t beat yourself up too much if on some days you decide to go off-piste.
So, from one Burnt Soul to another, here are my five pieces of advice to help keep you motivated during lockdown.
Whether you are working from home, on furlough, still going to work or homeschooling try and set aside some time to plan what you are going to do that week. I have found that writing out a timetable for the week helps me stick to it and provides a goal for each day. It will also give you some structure for the day, especially if you do your exercise at a set time. (This is where live classes at set times can be really helpful).
Some days may simply be a 30-minute walk to the shop, others may include a run or a dance workout, whatever it is make sure it’s something that you enjoy and that you can physically do. But be REALISTIC! Don’t over stretch yourself because you will only end up feeling guilty about not achieving what you set out to do and this can cause you to lose motivation.
I have found that sticking my timetable to my fridge is a good reminder of what I intend to do that day, and then you get a sense of achievement when you tick it off at the end of the day. It is also really important to have rest days as well, allow your body to recover and don’t feel guilty about not training on those days. You will actually feel stronger for it in the long run.
My timetable this week currently looks like this…
Yes, that’s right, you can still work out with your favourite gym buddy! Ok I know it’s not quite the same as going to a class or to the gym in person, but you can still work out together.
This week I discovered the joys of doing a virtual class with a friend, we video called each other and began the class at exactly the same time, allowing a sneaky chat beforehand and the occasional swear word mid work out. I actually found that I worked harder knowing that she was there and there was no chance of pressing stop before the class had finished! (Something I have been guilty of on occasion). So, give it a go, there are loads of free classes on YouTube and Instagram that you can try, or perhaps you are supporting some local instructors whose classes you can both tune into at the same time. Here are a few alternative exercise classes featured on Burnt Soul's IGTV Channel.
Not only is a varied workout routine great for your body but it is also great for your mind! Learning new things will allow you to use your brain in different ways, as well as providing a focus on something completely different for that period time. (Which at the moment is a welcome distraction).
If you just do one type of training all the time your body eventually knows what’s coming and you plateau, which means your body is used to doing the same thing all of the time, so you stop improving fitness. Adding new variations of exercises will allow your body to work different muscles as well as different systems which will increase your overall fitness.
If you do like doing the same type of exercise that is ok! But try and push yourself a little harder from time to time so that you continue to challenge your fitness.
Want to try something a bit different? Check out At Your Beat and learn to dance and get fit with the most dynamic instructors!
Over the years I have seen various different fitness fads, I’ve tried them tested them and you know what at the end of the day the most important bit of advice I can give you is… Consistency is key! If you’re working out and you’re working to a point where you are out of breath and moving your body then it doesn’t matter what you do, but it does matter how often you do it. The benefit of being consistent also means you get better at things. Running becomes easier, cycling becomes easier, heck even spin eventually gets easier if you do it enough (I know right?!). But it’s true, your body adapts, and your lungs become more efficient, your muscles get stronger and before you know it exercise starts to become less of a chore. With any fitness regime, the hardest part is getting started but once you adapt it really does become easier. I promise! Continue to persevere.
A friend of mine ‘Little Dave’ always says... ‘’Never miss a Monday!’’, and it is so true!!
Now let me be clear. In this blog, I am encouraging fitness for health and well-being. I want to help you find a way to incorporate fitness into your life so that you can feel good! Yes, the many health benefits of exercise can indeed include losing weight but rather than that being your main focus why not use exercise to find those amazing endorphins to make you feel good? Or to be able to do a full press up, run further than you have before and feel amazing whilst you are doing it!
One mistake people make when they start exercising is focusing on weight loss instead of everything else. Focus on getting fitter and stronger instead and you will soon start to reap the many benefits that go with that.
There’s already so much going on at the moment so don’t add to the stress by putting yourself under pressure.
My final bit to add here is to be grateful for your body. If you are lucky enough to be heading out for a run, a walk or a hip hop session then be really thankful for that. Not everyone has the luxury to do so, so sometimes just saying thank you to the universe for being able to enjoy the simple pleasures of moving your body can actually give you a bit of motivation!
I hope that helps, I know that exercise is not an easy thing to do for many, but that’s why it’s really important to find things that you enjoy. Whether it’s yoga, running, cycling, dancing, weights, climbing, hiking or circuits. Try and do it regularly. If you hate spin, don’t do it. If you love belly dancing, then do that! But whatever you do don’t put too much pressure on yourself, especially at the moment, we are all finding a way to navigate through this rather odd time and if you can find a distraction in the form of exercise then great.
So, to close whether you are new to exercise and looking to start a new regime, or you’re a gym bunny who misses the squat rack, be kind to yourself. Listen to your body when it tells you it needs rest. Listen to your mind when it tells you it needs rest!
You might find that you are unusually tired at the moment, that is likely to be down to the current situation. Our brains are on overdrive trying to process what’s going on and that takes energy! There is such a thing as psychological fatigue, so don’t underestimate that.
Cook some good stuff. Fresh produce from a good old cookbook. Or your Mum’s lasagne, but try and avoid too many take ways or ready meals. They are ok once in a while but try and find time if you can to cook from scratch where possible. If you are short on time why not try some recipes from the Roasting Tin? All recipes are cooked in one tin so you can get on with other stuff (like yoga) whilst it roasts in the oven.
Anyway, for now, I hope that you are staying well, and your friends and family are safe. We will get through this and one day we will all soon get back to my favourite type of exercise which is dancing in a field!
I look forward to hosting a Burnt Soul style Pilates class for you next week! All levels welcome.
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