Coronavirus. Covid-19. Global pandemic. Social distancing. Self-isolation. Before January, I'd never heard any of these terms. However, the past few months will be known as one of the most turbulent times in modern history.
As we slowly emerge from global lockdown, I keep reading upbeat articles about how this is the chance to start our lives afresh, how now is the time to be reborn! I feel like I'm going to emerge like a triumphant Emperor butterfly from its cocoon! Except …
… it's not as easy as that, is it? Lockdown was hard. While plenty of people seem to have used the past few months as an opportunity to become an elite runner, a wannabe Tour de France entrant, or a gourmet vegan chef. Myself? I just carried on.
Carried on working, home-schooling and exercising when I could. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it's been overwhelming. And the thought of getting back to eating cleanly and exercising enough is also challenging. I'm not sure where to start?
So, I wrote a list to remind myself of what works for me and I would like to share it with you!
Ready? Here we go!
Rediscovering my motivation
Last week, in the middle of brushing his teeth, my son said: "Mummy, is Daddy going to be with us a long time? I don't want him to die yet."
Gut-wrenching. Now whenever it's hard dragging myself out of bed early to train, or I'm 'too busy', that sentence spurs me on.
It previously took around four months to reach my 'happy shape.' It doesn't happen instantly, but that's ok. I know if I trust the process and apply healthy principles throughout my life, I will get back there in time.
If I THINK I can achieve my goals, then I CAN achieve my goals. If I start blaming others or use excuses for my situation, I know it's not going to work. Staying accountable is essential.
Focusing in 'me'
Comparing myself to others doesn't work. This is about me and how I want to improve myself, at the pace that works for me. Nobody else matters.
Packing my gym bag the night before a session helps me get out of the door. Prepping my food helps me avoid unhealthy snacks. Being organised might sound boring, but it really helps.
After asking myself exactly what I want to achieve, I then break my goal down even further. How can I measure it? Is it actually attainable? Is it realistic or are there potential barriers? Is the timeframe correct? And what about after that timeframe? Do I have a long-term plan? Choosing Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound goals is the key to long term success.
Keep it simple, stupid.
I know if I try to achieve too many goals at once, I'll succeed at precisely none of them. Taking it one weekly goal at a time helps me get there slowly but surely. Habits are built by consistently repeating meaningful behaviours towards a favourable outcome.
Be the boss of my food
Monitoring what I eat makes a huge difference. When I do it consistently, I know instinctively whether I'm eating the right amounts. Making it a habit is really important.
Making exercise fun is also valuable strategy. I recently bought a bike to go riding with my son and it's been brilliant. I've rediscovered my world-famous mountain biking talents (albeit with tiny muddy hills instead of mountains) but it's something I look forward to doing and now I'm active every day. Tour de France here I come!
Don't overdo it
Knowing my limits keeps me safe; wanting to push them spurs me on. After a period out of the gym, I could only just about lift the weights I used to warm-up with. If I'd lifted more, I could have injured myself and delayed my return to the gym even further. Slow and steady is the way to real progress.
Lastly, we are here to help you. Talk to your trainer. Ask more questions. Attend Seminars. Join our online or studio group sessions. We are here to help you. Follow your M&Ms, macros and minutes and you will greatly increase the chance of achieving your goals!
- Chris*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.