Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
Summer is on its way and it’s safe to say that for some of us lockdown has been a bit of a challenge on our bodies. A lot of people tell me the hardest part has been finding the motivation to work towards reaching their fitness goals, so this month I thought I would share my motivational tips.
Whatever your fitness levels, inevitably at some point you may reach a plateau, or just find the whole thing overwhelming. However, getting your mind and body on your side will soon make it all feel much more achievable.
Make a Plan
Whether it’s for those long-term or short-term goals, have a plan for what you want to achieve and how often you feel you can realistically keep to it. Schedule your exercises at the beginning of the week by putting the time and date in your diary or phone – designating the time makes you more likely to stick to it and work other things around it. Also, keep a record of your achievements, so you can follow your progress.
Do Something You Enjoy
Motivation is so much harder when you see exercise as a chore, and there are other ways to meet your goals besides running or going to the gym. Perhaps explore jump rope routines, badminton in the garden or dancing. This doesn’t have to be an online dance class, it could just be putting on your favourite music and giving yourself a 20-minute energetic dance session every day, to really get that blood pumping. Remember why you’ve started doing this great thing for yourself and let yourself go!
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
We wouldn’t want to watch the same TV programmes on repeat, would we? It’s the same with exercise, so if you enjoy power walking or jogging, vary your routes or the parks that you visit. If you’re doing online programmes, perhaps switch your pilates to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for a change instead.
Get a Fitness Tracker
This is a great way to be competitive against yourself, monitoring how many steps you’ve done that day or how many calories you’ve used, together with setting yourself personal challenges as you go.
Have an Amazing Playlist
This is not everyone’s cup of tea. You might prefer to hear the birds singing when outside, but if music motivates you, get the right playlist to suit your workout. It’s no good having high energy music if you’re doing yoga in the front room; likewise if you’re running, a high energy track can use all your reserves up ahead of time (my partner had to drop ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner from his playlist, as he couldn’t help running faster when it was on, but it left him exhausted!). You may prefer having something tranquil on whilst you try to up your personal best for a cardio workout.
Focus on Yourself
Don’t compare yourself to others or feel the pressure to be at a certain fitness level. Putting too much pressure on ourselves can have an adverse effect and leave us feeling demotivated or that we’ve failed. Know what is a good challenge for you and celebrate when you achieve it, regardless of what others can do.
Visualise that Feeling of Accomplishment
Learn to imagine how you will feel when you have achieved your goal, rather than the feeling beforehand. It’s so easy to dread exercise, especially after a hard or stressful day at work, or after a bad night’s sleep. Instead, don’t overthink it; focus on finishing and just get on with it. You’ll feel invigorated and proud that you’ve achieved something that will benefit you physically and mentally. Also, as soon as you’ve finished, record a little message to your future self, capturing that feeling of accomplishment, so that next time you’re contemplating your next round of exercise, you can reconnect to that great feeling!
Make it Convenient
When you’re busy, you don’t need the added pressure of driving to the gym on the other side of town, or classes which don’t fit in with your schedule, which can add to your lack of motivation. It’s your workout, so make it work for you. There are plenty of online classes which you can do in the comfort of your own home or out in the garden – or better still, have a mobile PT come to you!
Rewarding yourself is very important, which brings us onto our recipe this month, and happily, this one is sin-free!
Happy ‘motivApril’ everyone – have a great month!
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer private online one-to-one sessions, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. Ian can also offer individual training sessions in your own garden or public space, subject to and in adherence with the latest lockdown/tier system guidance and with social distancing in place. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! For the latest information visit www.ianeassom.co.uk