After weeks over indulging over Christmas time, come January we’re ready for a new fitness routine and a healthier diet – or so we tell ourselves we are anyway.
But the cold weather, dark mornings and Christmas comedown can make it harder than ever to motivate ourselves – not to mention being in a national lockdown and a global pandemic. Throw in gym closures and the banning of team sports and fitness classes, and it can seem increasingly tempting to settle into the sofa with a packet of crisps and say, “I’ll start in February”.
But studies have long shown the mental benefits of exercise, as well as the physical – so getting active this month could be more beneficial than ever to combatting the January Blues and get you through lockdown.
There are more fitness apps and online workout videos than ever available - but if it's hard to get started without the motivation. Here fitness influencer Lisa Fiit – who keeps her 2.3m followers fit with daily workouts and nutrition advice via her fitness platform Strong and Sxy – tells Closer her tips for getting your slippers off and trainers on this January.
1. Start today - you won’t regret it!
Don’t keep putting it off until next Monday! There is no time like the present. The hardest part is just getting started and I promise - once you start working out and those wonderful endorphins start kicking in, it will only get easier. It takes the average human 3 weeks to form a habit, so although it might seem hard at first, soon, it will be second nature.
2. Set short-term goals
Your overall goal this year might be to ‘get fit’, ‘build muscle’, ‘strip fat’ - but these are so general and could feel intimidating. Instead, think of things that are achievable in the immediate future - things you are in control of and can achieve right now. For example, working out 3 times a week, drinking 2 litres of water a day, getting 7 hours of sleep a night. As you build these small goals into your life and they become habits and routine, you can move onto the next one!
3. Keep switching up your workout - and make sure you enjoy it
With another lockdown here to kick off 2021, we all have to adapt to working out at home again and it can feel a little monotonous. So, it’s more important than ever to find a workout routine that you enjoy - if you make exercise a highlight of your day rather than a chore and you’ll keep doing it! Switch your workouts up and think of things you can do outside, like cycling, walking, running alongside things like HIIT and weight training at home. Try adding in some new challenges to keep it interesting!
4. Listen to your body - take a rest when you need it
One of the most common mistakes I see people make on their fitness journey is forgetting to rest and recover. Recovery days should be part of your workout plan! Listen to your body and give yourself 1 or 2 days off whenever you need it. Your muscles need time to rest, rebuild and grow, and your mind needs a rest too. Recovery days don’t have to mean sitting on the sofa doing nothing - you could go for a walk, do some stretching or light activity like yoga.
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5. Celebrate your milestones and journey
Photos and measurements are a great way to keep track of your progress and keep you motivated. It’s hard to realise how far you’ve come unless you look back at where you started! I never recommend weighing yourself - all kinds of factors skew those scales and it’s not a meaningful measurement of your health or fitness. Progress also includes how you feel and your mental health - so you might like to keep a short diary of how you’re feeling when you start and keep it updated as you go. You can keep looking back at old entries and see just how far you’ve come mentally. I have a Facebook private group called ‘LISAFIITT’s Strong & Sxy community’ with over 15,000 women in there who encourage, motivate and support each other. Being a part of a community group where you can share your progress and journey helps keep you accountable too!
6. Find balance and don’t restrict yourself
You want any fitness goal you make to be a sustainable one. Make sure you’re keeping the balance in your diet and not being too restrictive. If you deny yourself any food groups and rule them out as ‘bad’, you’ll just crave them more and drain your mental energy. Nutrition is essential to how you feel inside so looking at food as a healthy fuel for your body is a must!