How can you make exercise a part of your lifestyle? And not just a fair-weather commitment?
It’s been twelve months since I signed up to my new gym, and made exercise a priority in my life.
Making fitness a core part of my lifestyle has completely changed my life, and after a year-long commitment I feel ready to share some of the habits, tips and tricks I’ve adopted for truly making exercise a part of your lifestyle, not just a fair-weather thing.
Today I am sharing Part 1 of this commitment, and on Wednesday I am sharing Part 2 with an expert insight from my personal trainer Rocky Penny. I am so thrilled to have Rocky sharing his go-to tips for getting started with an exercise regime you can stick to later in the week. If anyone knows how to set and achieve fitness goals, it’s Rocky.
Today I am weighing in on how to get started from the very beginning, why we all need to exercise, and how to do so even if your confidence is super low.
I hope that in sharing my exercise commitment I can help you to tackle any health and wellbeing goals you may have yourself. I cannot overstate how much of a positive difference exercising has made to my overall health and happiness.
Settle in and grab a cup of something delicious, you and I are going to talk exercise . . . !
How To Make A Commitment To Exercise (And Yourself) – And Stick To It
Why We Need To Exercise
This time last year I was rock bottom when it came to my confidence, both in myself and with exercise.
As I shared in this post for the two years prior I had a very on/off relationship with exercise. After two dislocated knees I was scared of activity, fearing that I was sure to cause myself more damage.
On the flip-side, by not exercising, I was actually doing my body more harm.
I was suffering with migraines, lower back pain, and the shape of my body was changing in a way I didn’t like.
“working from home and getting about by car, there were fewer reasons for me to be physical day to day than ever before. Whilst I didn’t consciously recognise it, I quickly became inactive and my body and mental wellbeing suffered for it.”
Going from living in London where I walked a lot (I could easily rack up 10,000 steps with no thought), to working from home and getting about by car, there were fewer reasons for me to be physical day to day than ever before. Whilst I didn’t consciously recognise it, I quickly became inactive and my body and mental wellbeing suffered for it.
The problem with not exercising?
Your mind and body deteriorate. Dramatic though that sounds – it’s true.
“Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence.
People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.
Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.“
We all know, whether we act upon it or not, that being active is a vital part of our general wellbeing.
Why I Decided To Start Taking Exercise Seriously
I decided at the beginning of 2016 that I was fed up of feeling tired, suffering with migraines and not feeling confident in my own skin.
I was 26 at the time and I knew that if I didn’t get myself in good shape at this age, that it was only going to get harder as I got older.
Plus, I just wasn’t feeling confident about the way I looked – I looked tired, drawn and my body shape wasn’t how I wanted it to be.
“you suddenly realise that you don’t look like ‘you’. Or worse, you do, but an unhappy and unhealthy version.”
A combination of physical pain, mental lethargy and lack of body confidence led me to decide it was time to make a change . . . !
Here’s The Thing – You Can Commit To Making A Change Only When You Are Ready
I truly believe that people are only ready to do something, when they are ready themselves.
New year feels like the perfect ‘blank page’ to get going with new habits, but if you don’t fully commit to changing your lifestyle, it won’t stick.
As this article by Gretchen Rubin shares, there are many ways you can help yourself to stick to a resolution, or new commitment.
Amongst them I particularly resonate with the below advice, in relation to exercise:
- Review your resolution constantly. I remind myself often that I have committed to feeling good. This helps me to drum up enthusiasm when I’m feeling lazy about working out.
- Hold yourself accountable. I told my boyfriend Oli about my decision to get fit and healthy. By sharing my goal with him I felt accountable, and he became my cheerleader for supporting my wellbeing goals.
- Break your main resolution into smaller, more manageable tasks. ‘Getting Healthy’ or ‘Getting Fit’ can feel like a daunting task, but if you break it down in to smaller undertakings you can rack up a consistent exercise regime easily.
For me I aim to go to yoga 1 – 2 times a week, go to a high intensity class 1 – 2 times a week, and work out in the gym 1 – 2 times a week. Each of those seems like a manageable commitment, but added up that means I’m working out three – six days out of seven.
What small tasks could you put in your diary to help you achieve your fitness goals?
And Now I Am Going To Share The Story Of How I Almost Cried At The Gym
If you don’t exercise already, perhaps one of the things holding you back is a lack of confidence?
For me, it definitely was.
Confidence makes you feel strong, energised and like you can share who you are with others. When you are not feeling confident, the smallest of tasks – like going to a new gym – can feel huge.
I think it’s important to know, that no matter where you are in your exercise journey, you are not alone.
Especially when speaking to a fitness professional, your experience is not going to be unique.
I felt super vulnerable sharing my inactivity and injuries with the staff at New Energy (the gym where I now go), but what I hadn’t appreciated was that I was one of probably hundreds of people signing up to the gym, and saying the same things: “I’m unfit” “I’m injured” “I don’t know where to start”.
I sat there explaining my reasons for joining the gym to the lovely lady signing me up, and I actually began to well-up. Sharing your vulnerabilities can make you feel very exposed, nervous and even upset, but I believe it’s in sharing that we can start a new chapter.
Believe me, if you are feeling unhappy about your wellbeing, the best thing you can do is admit it to yourself, and then share it with someone else. It’s the first step to changing things for the better.
The Get-You-Started Gym Edit
“Sharing your vulnerabilities can make you feel very exposed, nervous and even upset, but I believe it’s in sharing that we can start a new chapter.
Believe me, if you are feeling unhappy about your wellbeing, the best thing you can do is admit it to yourself, and then share it with someone else. It’s the first step to changing things for the better.”
There are no two ways about it – I feel like my life has changed for the better since I committed to exercise.
I feel more alert, happier and focused since beginning my exercise journey.
I see this as a life-long commitment, which strangely enough I’ve found makes it easier to keep up with.
Perhaps today you’ll take the opportunity to think about your own health and wellbeing goals? Remember, it only takes recognising that something isn’t as you’d like it to be, to start a process of change.
Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be sharing more in detail about my exercise regime and commitment to fitness. Rocky will be sharing his take on getting started on Wednesday this week, and later on some of the exact workout programmes we have worked on together.
And in general, I’ll be sharing more lifestyle tips around exercise. In fact this week is going to be all about getting active.
Now that I’ve opened up about this area of my life with you, I am looking forward to discussing it more regularly.
If you have any questions at all about committing to exercise, about my exercise regime or even about the fun stuff – like cute gym clothes – please drop me a comment below, tweet me or get in touch via email.
I’d love to hear from you!
What’s Your Take?
What is your relationship with exercise right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Love, Monica x
A Few Thank Yous!
A huge huge thank you to Rocky for helping me to commit to exercise, and essentially for changing my life! Dramatic I know – but it’s true! Thank you also to the whole staff at New Energy for making me feel so welcome all those months ago, and for maintaining what I believe to be a truly lovely gym which helps many more people than just me. And thank you to my good friend Vic at Fitique for loaning us your beautiful class studio for our shoot!