Aside from January, September is the most popular time for new gym starters. If you’re already a regular, you probably know this and fully expect the post summer rush. You’ll also know that within a few weeks numbers will have dropped down to pretty much where they were before! At Elle Courbee, we know that fitness isn’t just about weight loss. You don’t have to be skinny or muscly to be fit – good health comes in all different body shapes. Sustained fitness is a lifestyle, so here are our top tips for a realistic fitness routine.
How to plan
A fitness plan doesn’t have to be an intricate schedule that monitors your heart rate, power and nutrition. We don’t need to be professional athletes here! To keep your routine manageable, do a bit every day, and try to keep it fun. Most importantly, leave wiggle room.
Let’s start with the NHS guidelines for adults. These are to undertake a total of 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity per week. Less if the activity is vigorous. The key here is to work out what you can alter about your existing habits. Change all or part of your commute to be active, for example. Or do some strength work while you watch your latest Netflix obsession.
Official advice is to work out your major muscles on 2 days of every week. These are your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms. Some people like the atmosphere of the gym for this kind of exercise, but others prefer the comfort of home. Resistance bands are a versatile and inexpensive bit of kit for this. Then head to YouTube for more 15 minute workout videos than you can imagine!
Long term vision
Remember that for the long term, your realistic fitness routine must be compatible with your life as it is. Be pragmatic in your fitness choice. Think about your priorities, and predict what you might find a barrier in the future.
Activities don’t have to be an hour. It might work for you to break down your routines into smaller 15 minute chunks. Walk, run or cycle part of your commute if possible. Try to make any local journeys active and you’ll be amazed how soon the minutes add up!
Team sports or clubs will not only get you meeting new people, but also introduce accountability. If you feel like you’re letting the team down by not attending, you’re more likely to show up!
If you know that you’re a bit of a pamper queen, then choose a gym with a spa. Then reward yourself after a workout with a bit of jacuzzi or sauna time!
Outside / Inside
Be honest about what works for you. There’s no point in signing up to an outside bootcamp if you definitely won’t go in the rain. Similarly, if you find all the people in the gym overwhelming, don’t sign up because you feel you should.
You have to fundamentally enjoy an activity for it to stick. If you’ve found that you’ve got bored of past fitness routines, try to set yourself achievable targets. You don’t have to sign up for a marathon! At the beginning, it might be to walk, jog or run to the end of the street. Then increase your distance every time you go out. Even to the next lamp post will mean progress.
Get the kit
There’s basic kit: activewear and shoes. Your body must be supported during any kind of workout as this will help you to avoid back problems or chafing. Get the correct sized sports bra as a must, and compression shorts can sometimes help with comfort. As well as this, though, are other bits of kit that help to be active. A lightweight chain bike lock is super secure and makes cycling more practical. Decent wet weather gear means that you can get out come rain or shine. A well padded exercise mat will make weights or pilates that bit more pleasant.
To make your fitness routine stick, you must see the value in self care. You’re worth spending the time on! Ultimately, your routine should be designed to make you feel confident and energised: not solely to lose weight.