25 June 2012

Exercise: Always Look On The Bright Side

I know it's not always easy to get up, get out and get exercising.

I feel it too.  Today my alarm went off at 0530 and I really had to drag myself out of bed.  I thought I'd struggle to get to the front door let alone have a productive exercise session.

But when I got to the park I was greeted by today's picture.  And suddenly I felt motivated.  I knew right away it had been the right thing to get up and I was ready to get going.  Unbelievable as it had seemed when I woke up, I actually ran faster, further and up more hills than I had in my training schedule for today.

It reminded me of something I used to do when I was training very early more regularly, particularly in the winter.  A fail-safe strategy for getting out of bed, even in the depths of winter.

It's a 4-step plan:

1. Once you've scheduled an early morning workout, it should become non-negotiable.  Do not give yourself room to talk yourself out of it at any stage.  Once it's in the diary, you will complete it.

2. Lay out all your kit the night before so that in the morning all you need to do is get up, get dressed, get going.

3. Plan your finish time and plan a desirable but healthy breakfast.  My first choice is water, coffee, toast, nut butter and a banana.  Make sure you have what you need in the house or office for when your exercise is done.

4. Create a catalogue of images in your mind like the one above.  Even if this doesn't match the weather outside, it's what's in your head that matters.  And if you keep exercising when the weather isn't great, you'll be in fantastic shape to enjoy days like this when they come around.


22 June 2012

Making Fitness Fun

As the weather finally decided to cheer up a bit the other day I took a group of people I was working with outdoors for a fitness session.  It had been a long day for them and they were feeling quite lethargic and not really in the mood for circuits or running in the park.

So we decided to play a game instead.  With Euro 2012 in full swing, football (soccer) was the obvious choice.

30-minutes later, they'd all had a great workout and a whole heap of fun.  No one asked about how many calories they'd burnt or if they could now justify a large evening meal.  They all simply went about the rest of their evening with a big smile on their face.

So, if you're ever struggling to find the energy to work out:

1) Find ways to get active that are fun and don't seem like exercise
Team sports, dancing, cycling to visit someone, even tasks around the house are simple options

2) Find fun people to get active with 
Many forms of exercise are simply more exciting when you're with someone else so look to include some workouts with friends or teams each week

Get sociable and get fast results!

18 June 2012

Kick Start Your Treadmill Training

If you need help getting started on the treadmill or you're looking to push yourself from 5k to 10k, look no further than these two training plans I wrote for Women's Running Magazine.

12 June 2012

Exercise Motivation: Whatever the Weather

It's June but in London it hasn't stopped raining for about 3 days.  It's been really hard to get out to exercise - it's just not what you want to do when the weather is like this.

So I've been finding new ways to try and make exercise more appealing.  Today's trick was the 'challenge of the 5s'.  I decided that the only way to get my exercise done today was to get it over with quickly.  So here's what I did:

  • Cycle to the Park as fast as I could = 5 miles
  • Run around the Park as fast as I could = 5 miles
  • Cycle home as fast as I could (or as fast as traffic would allow me to by this time) = 5 miles

Result = 90 minutes of exercise focusing on the clock and not the rain.

Job done - time to stay dry for the rest of the day.

Moral of the story.  If there's something putting you off exercising today, find an easy way to distract yourself and then just get on with it.

7 June 2012

6 June 2012

Swim Yourself Slim

Last Sunday I went swimming.  Not just any old kind of swimming though.  I went to one of London's oldest outdoor pools.  And one of the biggest at 91m or 100 yards long. 

What a great experience.  The weather was terrible and I had to go early to beat the traffic so I ended up dragging myself out of bed at 6am on a cold, rainy morning of a holiday weekend to go swimming outdoors.  

Amazingly, I was really excited and had no problem getting up and out the house.  

Which made me think.

With the weather as bad as it was, I wouldn't have gone cycling and probably wouldn't have got up for a run.  I also wouldn't have gone for a swim if it had been in my regular indoor pool.  But by looking for a new dimension to my training it was easy to make sure I kept my schedule in place.  

So if ever you're finding it hard to motivate yourself, give a little thought to how you can approach your exercise routine from a slightly different angle.  It may be that you don't need to do much that's different, but just a little bit of something new could make the difference between sticking with the programme or letting things slide.

Some ideas of how you can shake things up:

  • Run, bike, row, ride a little further or faster
  • Choose some new routes
  • Vary the intensity of your workouts
  • Change the order of your exercise routine
  • Join a club or team
  • Change the music of your workout
  • Exercise with a friend
  • Buy some new kit or technology
  • Set yourself some specific targets
The more creative you are with how you exericse, the greater your chances of quick results.