I want to share a secret with you, I’m going to let you in on a little behind the scenes look into how I’ve gone from a sort-of fit / can manage a family bike ride / walk to the shops pushing a buggy mum, to one who’s embracing a holistic healthy lifestyle and reaping the benefits.
You see, after several stop-start attempts to get fit, usually on a sunny morning, feeling inspired to start running or waking up on New Years Day and deciding THIS was the year I’d complete that 10K challenged, in 2016 I finally took fitness by the horns and stuck to my plans.
No more excuses.
Spurned on by the realisation that as a single mum, my health was more important than ever and that there was a possibility, at some point some lucky fella would see me naked! So I let out my battle cry to sort mum-tum – the pressure was on, I needed to tone up, and fast.
I’d not had the courage to wear a bikini in years, although I’ve stayed a consistent size 8 – 10 between pregnancies, there was still the telltale signs of 3 babies and it was time to change that. I didn’t want to just accept that at 40 I should hang up my 2-piece forever, toning up and fitness became my priority and above all, it made me FEEL good.
and here’s how I did it;
Never underestimate the power of planking
Starting small, I began planking for 2 minutes every morning building up to a 5 minute morning-kick starter workout – 1 minute full plank (pushed up on your hands), a 30 second elbow plank, 30 second right side and a left side one, same again for leg planks, one left one right another 30 second elbow plank and a final 1 minute one. The results kicked in pretty quick luckily.
Next was to set 10,000 steps per day goal. My job can mean I’m sat down for long periods of time, yet it’s amazing how quickly you can notch up those steps in a day without trying, and I could make up for less active days as I knew how much I’d slacked out on. I started just using a step counter on my phone as I always had it on me, then bought a fitness tracker.
Moving on to a FitBit more recently meant I could add friends who also had one and we could challenge each other. My Charge2 also has a gentle nagging approach to getting me off my butt and doing a few extra steps when I’ve been sat still too long! It also makes you consider if a car journey is really necessary when you can walk it and notch up those numbers.
Retrain your brain – Exercise as headspace
I’m a huge believer in balancing your emotions and clearing out your thoughts ready for any unexpected upheaval. A healthy body and healthy mind go hand in hand and no matter how busy your life is, you need some time in the week away from social media, emails, TV, chores and any stresses in your life. Just some time to steady your thoughts, process your week and step away from the norm.
As well as using a guided meditation app (I use Headspace, it’s ace and more recently, my Amazon Echo.) I also find swimming is a perfect escape and I don’t get distracted. Even when I’m running or at the gym, I’m guilty of checking messages and emails. But armed in my Speedo swimsuit and I’m in the zone; right tools for the right job and all that, top tip – it always helps if you’re wearing the right clobber to mentally think you can do it. I now have a very healthy collection of sportswear! Think of it as a double work out for the mind and the body if you need extra motivation.
So there’s my secret, nothing too heinous, these are the bare bones of my fitness routine.
I top off all the above with a few classes at my local gym, but on stupidly busy weeks, where work deadlines take preference over BodyPump. Just doing the few things I mentioned means I don’t get that fit-guilt as I’m still sneaking little goals with minimum effort and still reaping the rewards.
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