There are times in life that we all give ourselves a kick up the bum to ‘get back on the fitness train’. The New Year (post the Christmas indulgence) is a popular one, a big date looming (milestone birthday, wedding, school reunion ring a bell for anyone?), when you’re pushed by a GP or health scare, or sometimes you just wake up and think ‘Okay, I want to feel better/healthier/less tired/more in control’.
Whatever your reason for stepping back into the studio and onto that fitness train, you want to be sure you’re setting yourself up for a long-term change and success.
Here are our top tips on how to do that:
Be clear about your ‘why’
It’s always so important to recognise and acknowledge the reason you want to make this change in the first place. Not just ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘my doctor told me to go to the gym’. Do you want to stop feeling tired? Keep up with the little ones in your life? Strengthen parts of your body to avoid long-term health problems? Be a role model for your kids? Whatever the reason(s), have them front of mind – write them down and pop them on the fridge, on your phone screen saver, in your wallet – wherever you’ll be reminded constantly. So when your alarm goes off to get up an hour early to get to a class, you’ll think of this and it’ll be easier to throw the covers off.
Find something that makes you happy
Ever walked into a gym that’s smelly and full of people/staff/trainers who you don’t relate to, where everyone is running aimlessly on a treadmill looking cranky or depressed? You want to turn around and walk straight out again, right? Correct! The best way to stick to your fitness plan is to find something you enjoy doing, at a studio or club that brings a smile to your face.
That’s why we love reformer pilates – it’s a challenge and it’s always interesting. We offer different types of classes from classical to HIIT, and we have only small group classes (maximum of 10 students per class) and one-on-one sessions. And with a studio just metres from North Burleigh beach, you can follow up your class with a walk while breathing in some fresh sea air.
Make yourself accountable
Accountability is so important and the best way to stay on track. Ask a friend or family member to join you while working out (no excuses to not make a class when you’re meeting someone there); sign up to some one-on-one sessions with a trainer or instructor who you can check back in with every few weeks or month; join a group fitness challenge (like our 6-week Do More Pilates Challenge); or monitor your fitness and workouts with an app like My Fitness Pal or Fitbit.
Be realistic about your commitment
Don’t go too hard too early and burn out. If you commit to six workouts a week when your lifestyle, family or work schedule, or starting fitness level won’t be able to sustain that then you’re setting yourself up to fall. Start with two or three sessions a week and work up from there.
Be realistic about your goals
Don’t tell yourself you need to lose ‘X’ amount of weight in ‘X’ weeks. In fact, don’t set weight loss as a goal at all (because as you work out and lose fat you’ll gain muscle which actually weighs more but looks leaner… but that’s a whole different blog and not the really the point we’re making here). Make your goals positive, and make small ‘short-term’ and big ‘long-term’ ones.
For small goals think:
- ‘I’m going to drink more water each day’
- ‘I’m going to take healthy lunches to work so I don’t buy junk’
- ‘I’m not going to skip meals’
- ‘I’m going to work on mastering one Pilates move each week’
For big goals think:
- ‘I’m going to tone up my arms’
- ‘I’m going to do a 5k fun run by the end of the year’
- ‘I’m going to fit into that old pair of jeans’
- ‘I’m going to get better sleep and feel more rested’
- ‘I’m not going to get moody and cranky at my kids’ (okay, sorry, back up… we said realistic goals. Scrap that one! We’re all human.)
Keep track of your success
Keeping track of your success is important to remember where you started and how far you’ve come. You need to stop and take time to think about this and keep track of markers that will show you how you have improved since starting. We’ve mentioned it in accountability, but a fitness tracker or diary is a great tool to check in with. You’ll be able to remind yourself you started doing 45 minutes two days a week and now you’re breezing through an hour five days a week. Again, this isn’t about hopping on the scales because we can’t stress enough how much kilograms fluctuate (especially for women).
Think about some of these positive health and fitness successes:
- Sleeping better
- Better moods (and even better mental health)
- More energy
- Less pain
- Being able to do things you couldn’t – strength, endurance or just generally
- You’re craving a workout instead of sugar!
- Your GP check-up was far more positive than last time
- Your skin is glowing
Celebrate the wins
Noticed some of these changes? Celebrate them! You’ve worked hard so give yourself credit for it. We’re not talking about buying yourself a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk, but pat yourself on the back. Perhaps treat yourself to some new activewear, a massage or a new hair cut to complement your glowing skin and body!
Give yourself a break
Most importantly, remember that no-one (not even your Pilates instructor) is perfect. We all have treats or days off. We all have times when we hit the snooze button or cruise through a class without pushing ourselves as much as we should. There is absolutely no point, or nothing to gain from, beating yourself up over these things. Changing your fitness habits and mindset is always a work in progress, and every day it becomes more natural, less forced and a little easier than last week.
Whether you’re setting yourself brand new fitness goals or just want a positive mental refresher to keep on track, it’s always helpful to come back to this. Think of it as a ‘check-up checklist’. When it comes to fitness and health, motivation will get you started but it won’t get you through the periods when you don’t feel like showing up (and, truthfully, everyone has those – even industry professionals like us). Changing your mindset and habits is what will get you living your healthiest life… and there’s nothing better than that!