Sam Wood’s top tips to kickstarting your health and fitness
Motivation is always fleeting and in this new post lock-down world, a colder climate and for many of us, quite a bit of stress, I understand that it’s a hard time to stay or get motivated. The good news is I’m here to help. Here are my top tips to help you get off the couch and into your new healthy routine.
1. Set goals
Covid has created quite a bit of uncertainty in many areas so I get that setting goals may not be at the top of your priority list. However, goal setting is a really powerful tool for motivation. Goals give you focus and can play a huge role in motivation as the direction they provide keeps you on track and gives you something to work towards. The most common mistake I see people make when it comes to goal setting is looking too far ahead. If your goal is too far away or seems too far -fetched, you’re far less likely to see it through. Working in 28 day blocks is my recommendation. 28 days is the perfect amount of time because it’s long enough for you to see results but short enough to keep your eye on the prize. Your goals don’t always need to be results based either. Many of my goals are process or behaviour based, for example hitting at least 10,000 steps every day or dedicating 20 minutes to yoga, 3 times per week.
2. Establish a routine
When you create a routine, you need to make one that is sustainable. If you suddenly decide to do 5am workouts but know deep down that you can’t stand early mornings, you’re probably not going to stick it out. Create a new routine that works for you and make sure you commit to it. This might take a little bit of dedication (like getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual) but it shouldn’t be completely out of reach. Routines provide structure for your day and help you to create and strengthen healthy habits that take you closer to your goals.
Personally, I find a morning routine the most important. Without fail I start my day with a workout, followed by a walk with Hendrix to go over my calendar and prepare myself for the day ahead. If you are a serial procrastinator, especially when it comes to your workouts, morning workouts are the way to go.
You’re far less likely to put it off when you simply wake up and get it done, plus they give you a big energy boost and have been shown to increase productivity. Not to mention, who doesn’t want some endorphins first thing?
3. Plan your meals and workouts
Have you ever gotten home from work, had no idea what you were going to have for dinner, spent 30 minutes ransacking the fridge and pantry before settling on takeaway pizza instead? We’ve all been there. Use your weekend to plan out your meals for the week, do a shop and do some meal prep. Meal prep doesn’t need to take all day or involve 100 meals- this might simply be cooking two big meals in bulk and storing some in the freezer to grab as needed. Planning your workouts is really important if your workout motivation is non-existent. There are so many options when it comes to exercise, find something that you enjoy and that you will stick to. Whether this be running with a friend, joining an online program, doing in-person or zoom PT sessions or heading back to the gym when it opens.
4. Get an accountability buddy
Teamwork makes the dream work and having someone to keep you on track can make a world of difference. Working out with a buddy can not only make it more fun, they can make sure you don’t hit the snooze button or decide you can’t be bothered. However, if no one wants to join you on your health journey- get someone to keep you accountable. When we haven’t told anyone what we are trying to do or want to achieve, we’re accountable to no-one. This makes it way too easy to give up.
5. Small changes = big results
Don’t try and change everything overnight. Slow progress is better than no progress so start by making small, practical changes that don’t turn your world upside down. This might be ditching the sugar in your morning coffee, parking a bit further away from the destination, adding more vegetables to your meals or increasing your daily steps. The little things add up.
6. Keep it simple
Don’t overcomplicate things. You don’t need to train for hours or eat vegan/keto/gluten-free/sugar-free/dairy free/any other diet you read about online. Move your body every day for 30 minutes, eat a real food diet and remember- progress not perfection.
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