As it’s National Fitness Day, I thought I’d share my tips and tricks on how to quit being a Full Time Lazy Cow and actually do some exercise now and again. Now, I’m not exactly an expert (I did once eat a burrito while walking on the treadmill after all) but I have learnt a few #LifeHacks over the past couple of years that can help you get your arse into gear.
Here’s the 10 Step Lazy Girl’s Guide to Exercise:
1. Join a gym
Yep, step one is literally ‘join a gym’. The first hurdle most people fall at is convincing themselves they’ll save a bit of money and exercise at home. We all know any workout in your house results in lying on the sofa in your gym kit, eating biscuits instead of doing burpees. You might tell yourself you’ll use The Body Coach’s YouTube channel rather than fork out for a fancy gym membership but come on, can you actually listen to his voice for longer than 10 minutes without wanting to saw your ears off with a rusty knife? Really?
Nope, the only thing for it is to see that twenty quid leave your bank account every month to remind yourself that you should be at the gym, getting your money’s worth. Don’t fight it, just get it over with and join.
2. Spend all your cash on gym accessories
Make exercise and fitness your new obsession and spend all your cash on it. Get yourself fancy leggings, ridiculously complicated water bottles that you don’t really know how to work, expensive heart rate monitors you’ll never use – go all out. Once you’ve spent all your money on workout accessories, you’ll have no cash left to do anything else but exercise. Goodbye social life, hello gym.
In all seriousness though, a little investment in your workout kit can make all the difference. When I first started back at the gym, I had threadbare shorts and an old t shirt that should have been resigned to being slept in and nothing else. I felt self conscious as it was and not looking the part didn’t help. You don’t need to break the bank to get kitted out – most of my gym wardrobe is from Matalan and whatever the adidas shop has put in the sale.
One thing I would suggest investing in is some decent trainers. I was lucky enough to be sent some Ride 9 Running shoes from Saucony and oh my, they have really changed the game for me. I never thought that what you wore on your feet made that much of a difference to be honest; I wasn’t exactly jogging in a pair of Converse but I hadn’t upgraded my trainees for a good couple of years. A few runs in these babies and I realised how naive i’d been. Towards the end of my run, my feet are almost as fresh as when i first tied the laces – fewer blisters, better support, comfort and, most important of all, they look cute too.
3. Lash a ‘Before’ picture up on Facebook
You’re going to feel a right divvy if you don’t lash up an ‘After’ picture in a few weeks showing some progress – give yourself the fear. If you’re not trying to get into exercise for weight loss reasons, maybe you’re wanting to improve your fitness levels, use a print screen of the times of one of your runs or something similar.
4. Sign up for something you’re defo not capable of doing
Back towards the end of 2013, I successfully managed to do a decent run on the treadmill every other day for about two weeks. So naturally, I signed up to do a half marathon happening a few months later seeing as I thought I was the new Paula Radcliffe. At the time of setting up my JustGiving page I hadn’t even so much as run a 10k so God knows why i thought I was ready for 13.5 miles. But it worked. Had I not committed to such a big event my running phase would have been over within weeks. I managed to get through Christmas still fitting in a few jogs, or at least feeling guilty when I didn’t do any form of exercise for a few days, and in March 2014 I actually did the Liverpool Half Marathon without doing a Jade Goody and needing an ambulance at any point during the run.
That being said, the day after I ate loads of burgers and pints and pledge to have a few cheat days and rest but it accidentally turned into a year of eating crap and lying in bed rather than getting back to the gym. Oh well.
5. Think about the likes
“Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” – Wrong Kate Moss. Wrong. Nothing feels as good as all those notifications blowing your phone up after you post your latest picture deadlifting your biggest weight yet.
6. Move in with a PT
I really hit the jackpot when my new flatmate turned out to be a personal trainer; nothing is more motivating to get up and do some exercise when you’re living with someone who smashing a 10k before you’ve even woke up and been knocked sick by the smell of your morning breath. Of course, this isn’t the option for everyone but you can surround yourself with like minded people who’ll keep you motivated. If none of your friends are keen to go all #FitFam with you, take part in classes at your gym or join a club that will introduce you to others on the exercise graft too.
7. Have a goal
It might be an appearance related goal, like getting back into those jeans that have been gathering dust at the back of your wardrobe for years. Perhaps it a fitness target you’d like to achieve – making it up a flight of stairs without being covered in sweat is always a good one. Whatever it is, have something in mind to spur you to spend the miserable winter nights you’d rather be in bed watching TV spent down the gym instead.
8. Do it bit by bit
I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. I’m forever pledging to cut out meat, dairy, ciggies and alcohol all at once and it lasts about 4 days before i’m guzzling prosecco, shoving pizza down my gob and chain smoking all my money away.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Start with promising yourself you’ll hit the gym at least one day a week and see where you go from there.
9. Get a personal trainer
Read all about why I love my PT in this piece I did for The Metro.
10. Find something you enjoy
Personally, I like the gym – it works for me. However, loads of people despise it and that’s cool – find another way to exercise. Go climbing, walking, try pole dancing – take up Zumba classes if you’re still stuck in 2013. There’s always something out there that can help you improve your fitness and release those endorphins.
But most importantly, don’t sweat it. Exercise and fitness isn’t the be all and all. I exercise for my mental health and because I feel better when I do. You don’t need to become obsessed with eating clean (Urgh, horrible saying) and your life resolving around exercise. Just swapping one night at the bar for a different kind of bar in the gym is more than enough!
See also: Katie Hopkins: A Weighty Issue