You can do it.
January is a hard time to start a new fitness regime. It’s cold, it’s rainier than ever, it’s dark when you wake up and when you get home from work, and hardest of all, you have people telling you it won’t work out.
For some reason January has a big red cross through it when it comes to making lifestyle changes. It’s seen as a cliche, it’s seen as something that can’t happen because everyone is doing it.
But I’m here to tell you that, actually, it is possible. I did it in 2014, and look at me now – I’ve run a marathon, started weight training, and I’m currently hovering over the ‘Apply Now’ button for a triathlon. It can happen, and it can start in January.
I have a few tips that will hopefully help, and a few home truths that I think need to be heard before you can really start changing your lifestyle. Get ready!
But home truth number one is…it won’t be a quick fix.
Remember that you might not see the results you want right away:
I think one of the main reasons people give up on fitness is because they don’t see the results they want quickly enough. If you want your healthy lifestyle to have a lasting effect, it’s going to take time. Any quick fixes will mean that those results will just as quickly turn back around as soon as you stop said quick fix. Results that take a while will stick around for just as long, too. So don’t fret, you will get there!
One donut isn’t going to wreck your diet:
January is the month of dull weather, of sales on left-over Christmas treats etc., so it’s easy to ‘fall off the bandwagon’ and eat a bag of crisps or a donut. But with a healthy lifestyle there’s no such thing as falling off the bandwagon. ‘Treats’ are a natural part of a balanced diet, so allow them from time to time, and remember that this doesn’t mean that your healthy lifestyle is over. Just eat the one donut or the one pack of crisps, and then move on and eat healthily for the rest of the day, it’s fine!
Do it one step at a time:
Work on one bad habit at a time, and introduce one good habit at a time too. I started with drinking less fizzy drinks, then lessened my muffin intake (I ate a lot of muffins in third year of uni…), and then gradually ate less sugary office treats. I did not decide one day to stop eating absolutely everything ‘bad’ for me, because I knew it wouldn’t be substantial. Also, as you get rid of one bad habit, introduce a new good habit. Make goal one to add more colour to your plates, goal two to run for 20 minutes three times a week, then swap white bread for wholemeal, and so on.
You don’t have to completely eliminate these bad habits (and FYI, don’t give up a food group – carbs, fats etc. – unless you have a specific health problem), just start to lessen them and soon they won’t be a staple in your diet anymore.
Create some physical goals:
From my experience, my motivation with fitness (which has naturally progressed into my diet) is much stronger and much more likely to last if I have a physical goal. Sign up for a 10k run in a few months time, ask a personal trainer or gym instructor to give you a schedule that will help you work towards a pull-up (that’s my personal goal for this year), give yourself a set of weights you want to gradually get up to. These goals will keep you going because there is a definite finish point. And once you’ve got there? Set yourself a new goal!
Treat yo’self to new gym gear:
An age-old tip, but it works. Head to the highstreet and buy some new funky leggings, maybe a few cool tops. Then save a little bit and invest in a few key pieces: trainers that fully support your feet (head to a shop that looks at you run, it’s both fun and they’ll be able to give you trainers specifically good for you), thermal running gear, a good sports bra etc.
Remember that everyone’s bodies are different:
You could do the exact same routine as Jennifer Lawrence for her role as Katniss, but that won’t mean you’ll end up looking exactly like her. But everyone’s bodies are beautiful, so just concentrate on your own. Work towards a fitter, healthier version of yourself, not someone else’s body. Talking from experience, the #fitspo tag can be detrimental to your mental health if you let it consume you. If you can scroll through and see it as motivation then go ahead, but I used to scroll through and then feel absolutely awful about myself. Suddenly the gym became an obession, and not in a good way. Months of full on training and, though I was the smallest I’d ever been, I was even more miserable than at the start because I didn’t look like that #fitspo tag. Now I’m a fair bit bigger yet a lot happier because I’m concentrating only on myself and my own beautiful body and what’s good for it.
Read books/blogs/watch Youtube videos for inspiration:
Whilst I’m personally not a fan of the #fitspo tag (though by all means use it as inspiration if you desire!), I am a fan of reading/watching things regarding healthy living. I recommend heading to Jessie’s personal blog, and her fitness blog, for some really great blog posts that will get you motivated – and she’s super lovely to chat to about it all too! Health magazines have some really great tips, tricks and articles as well, but keep away from any ‘lose 10lbs in 10 days’ nonsense.
As for Youtube, I absolutely love Carly Rowena (and her blog). She’s a personal trainer and it really feels like she’s talking to you as a friend. Her advice is really great, her work-out videos make me want to go to the gym right that second to try them out, and she openly eats chocolate/curries etc. from time to time and still looks ah-mazing.
Get a routine:
It’s dark, cold and wet in January, but things are a lot easier if you stick to a routine. At the start of the week look at your work/life schedule and pencil in a few runs or workouts where you can. Try to aim for a couple of days a week at least, but if you don’t have time to go to the gym five times, don’t fret! It’s all about fitting it into your life and making it work for you.
Remember that you’re amazing and beautiful as you are, and you’re doing this because you want to:
As soon as we see healthy living as a chore, it starts getting hard. So long as it remains a hobby and something you want to do for yourself, it’ll be easy. You’re beautiful, and you can do whatever you set your heart on doing.
So if you are hoping to start a healthy lifestyle in 2016, good luck, and I know you can do it! Do you have any tips too?
Disclaimer: I am not a professional, these tips are just from my own experience