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How to change the way you see fitness forever

February 1st 2016 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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Whether you’re sporty or non-sporty, turn short-term resolutions into long-term reality with these must-read fitness tips for feeling #BetterForIt and fitter than ever

If fitness motivation levels are starting to flag and the good intentions you made at the beginning of the year are reaching breaking point, don’t give up - help is at hand.

We’ve all been there, so to help you stay on the right track, we’ve teamed up with Nike to help inspire women - sporty and non-sporty alike - to get out there and feel Better For It as part of their new campaign. Whether you’re a fitness phobic, a fitness fanatic or somewhere in-between, we could all do with a dose of much-needed fitness motivation to pick ourselves out of a rut or just find the simple solution to getting started to make last month’s resolutions turn into long-term reality.

“I’m a huge fan of starting clean slates and new beginnings and with the start of a New Year, it’s the perfect opportunity and incentive to start over,” says Jessica Skye, Nike Training Club (NTC) Elevated Trainer. “We all do it and the real struggle is keeping it going and not slipping back into old patterns by March. Since we are creatures of habit it’s important that we set goals in a way we’ll want to carry them on.”

The secret lies in seeing fitness as a necessity, not as a side-note - a mindset that is extremely hard to change. So how exactly do we go about doing that? We asked the pros to weigh in to provide the ultimate guide for learning to love exercise and changing the way you see fitness for good - your set of must-read mantras so to speak, to motivate, encourage and inspire you no matter your fitness goal. Not only that, but Nike has also created a new original show series to help people on their fitness journeys - Margot vs Lily. Starring two sisters (exercise-allergic Margot and YouTube fitness celebrity, Lily), their sibling rivalry gets out of hand when they challenge each other to get way outside of their fitness comfort zones. Watch the first episode here.

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With these two new additions in your workout artilleries, getting fit just became easier, more fun and more enjoyable than ever.

1. Set realistic goals and reassess them regularly

For many, festive overload and Christmas excess leads us to make a whole host of overly-ambitious New Year’s resolutions come January. While it’s always great to have something to aim for, there’s a fine line between inspiring fitness goals and setting yourself up for failure. A hard balance to find, it seems the answer lies in keeping your hopes realistic. “When speaking to runners and my personal clients, I always advise to make their goals realistic in the first place,” says Nike+ Run Club (NRC) and NTC Trainer Rebecca Gentry. “You’re never going to go from say, never running before to running a marathon by February for example.”

Rather than berate yourself for having not quite stuck to your original resolutions, take it as the perfect opportunity to re-evalute your aims. “It’s a good time to reassess your goals and see if your resolutions were in fact made on a New Year high, thinking that you’d get healthy unrealistically quickly,” says Rebecca. “In order to stick to it, it has to be gradual; and to enjoy it, it has to be realistic. Fitness should fit around your lifestyle and not be about dedicating your whole life to it.”

2. Buddy up

There’s some serious truth to the phrase, “Strength in numbers,” and no situation is that better demonstrated than when it comes to keeping your fitness goals on track. “If you’re new to fitness in particular, exercising with friends is a huge tip of mine as it stops you from feeling isolated or insecure as you’re doing it together,” says Nike Master Trainer, Faisal Abdalla. “It adds an element of fun to it - the more the merrier I say.

“All of our NTC sessions and NRC sessions are designed to be like a community for fitness and health,” says Rebecca Gentry. “Get involved with a friend - the likelihood is you won’t want to let them down when your motivation levels start to flag.”

Friends or Followers? Check out how you can challenge your friends here

3. Make sports social

The battle to balance work, life, family and friends is real. We know it well. So combine them and make sport social by making a morning, afternoon or evening out of it. “Get friends involved on your fitness/wellness mission so it’s social and more fun,” recommends Jessica. “You can make a thing of it - meet for a juice, hit a yoga class, then a healthy brunch after. You will also help to keep each other motivated.” Should you be looking for some additional fitness friends with the same objectives in mind, check out the free Nike Run Club classes that take place every week from their London Nike stores. Find further details about the activity timetable here.

4. Let your friends play PT

Get by with a little (further) help from your friends and create a rota which allows each of you to take on the role of personal trainer every time you meet up. “What’s really good when you’re training with a partner or group of ladies, is where one of you chooses one form of training each time you meet, e.g. spinning, a bootcamp session, track running...I guarantee that each time, one person in the group will hate it, but because it’s been chosen by your friend, there’s more of a feeling that you have to do it,” recommends Faisal. “It’s a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone in a way that is outside of your control as someone else has made the choice for you.”

See who else is going out of their comfort zone – watch the first episode of Margot vs Lily here

5. HIIT it up

Think you don’t have time for exercise? Think again. High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT), could be the perfect way to fit fitness into your lifestyle. With the emphasis based squarely on quality over quantity, it involves short, sharp bursts of exercise done at maximum speed, with short rest periods in-between. “The go-to Mecca for a good HIIT workout is the Nike+ Training Club App which has multiple choices in terms of training time (you can choose from 5 minute, 15 minute and 30 minute workouts),” says Faisal. “It makes it so there is no excuse not to get in a session plus, it suits all levels of fitness from beginner to intermediate to advanced.”

The perfect way to get it in quick the morning after a long night out or at the end of a long day, try also adding a circuit into it using the NTC Circuit Breaker workout in the NTC App to keep things interesting. The trick to getting the most out of it? Keep an eye on your watch. “Timing is most important for me on a practical level with HIIT,” says Rebecca. “It’s really easy when you’re on your own to get side-tracked or distracted. A 30 second rest can last 5 minutes if you start chatting, so download a stopwatch or timer that bleats at you to make sure your rest periods are carried out properly. This is why the Nike+ Training Club App workouts are particularly good because they include countdowns, recovery times and bleats too!”

Get the NTC Circuit Breaker workout in the NTC App here.

6. Employ some friendly competition

When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. Whether that’s spurring one another on in your workouts or maybe even making a friendly bet, it could provide an extra dimension to your workout regime and take your fitness to the next level. “Working out with a friend could give you a competitive edge,” says Rebecca. “Circuit training is hard enough but with a friend, I’ve found you push yourself that much further as you don’t want to be the one who stops first!” Find more ideas for getting your friends inspired here.

7. Mix it up

There’s a reason why variety is the spice of life - it stops routine from becoming bland and adds a dose of added flavour when your fitness regime is starting to fall flat. Mixing it up is one of the best ways to keep mind and body engaged and focused. “We are creatures of habit and sometimes are more attracted to our comfort zones,” says Jessica. “Push boundaries and get recommendations for cool fun fitness hotspots. Try new things, shake up your habits, keep it fresh and mix it up. Even if you only want to do yoga – try different studios, teachers and styles. If you only want to run – try run clubs, do different routes, make sure you’ve got music you like (a big thing for me).”

“If you’re stuck in a rut and exercising in the same place and doing the same workout, I would advise changing your surroundings and the way you train,” says Faisal. “For example, if you do bodyweight movements normally, try weight training; if you usually run, try a spinning class. Your body won’t change if you’re doing the same training day in and day out and these 2 simple factors are certain to change the way you look and feel.” For more inspiration, head on over to www.nike.com/betterforit.

8. Create an exercise program that fits your life

Much like a pair of leggings or a new sports bra, fitness shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. If the idea of finding a workout plan that suits your particular needs understandably overwhelms you, worry not, as your perfect match could be just a download away. “The Nike+ Training Club App has a Creative Program section offering get leaned, get focused and get toned 4 week programs with reminders every day that pop up on your phone,” says Rebecca. “It also allows you to be part of a social community online so your friends can see your progress and if you did (of didn’t) complete a workout for an extra incentive.”

9. Try something new

“Big cities in London pretty much offer a new class every week, so grab a friend and try something brand new,” recommends Rebecca. “Whether it’s boxing at KOBOX, classes at Core Collective, spinning at Psycle or circuit training at Barry’s Bootcamp (all of which have Nike Trainers working at them), it’s all about going hard and having a good time. Trying something new also offers a great opportunity to break bad habits and learn something new to take back to your personal sessions.” Find out what’s on in your city here.

10. Sign up for a challenge

Whatever your fitness level, there’s a variety of fun, exciting and motivating challenges to sign up for during the year to keep the sparks of New Year motivation fired up. “In terms of smaller running ones, there’s the Hackney Half on the 8th of May. Not only is it fun to run and set in a cool place, but it’s also a reasonable and achievable goal to set for yourself,” says Rebecca. “It consists of a 14 week training period which we’ll be doing as part of the Nike Run Club, so even someone who hasn’t run before can do it too. It also offers those who can’t get to the training sessions the chance to download the program too so that they can do it wherever they like.

“We also have other great women’s events happening later on in the year, so keep checking Nike Women online and Facebook where you’ll be able to sign up for them.

“Furthermore, there are also regular 5K park runs that are held every month in most major parks around the country. They’re a great starting point and a great way to work on your 5K PB say if you’re hoping to run a marathon, as the best way to get quicker is to practice over shorter distances.”

For exclusive race courses and training experiences, also check out the NikeWomen Victory Tour and inspire your inner athlete at the largest event series for women.

11. Treat your workout wardrobe like you would your work wardrobe

You know how a new pair of heels has the magical ability to boost your confidence? Well, the same applies to your fitness gear. Even if that baggy old T-shirt and pair of 10-year-old joggers are the most comfortable things on earth, they wouldn’t give you a confidence boost in the boardroom and they certainly wouldn’t do so in the gym either. “There’s nothing wrong with having ‘all the gear and no idea,’” says Jessica Skye. “Get some good-looking kit that you feel great in and is appropriate for your workout – the right type of shoe, supportive bra and things you’ll feel proud to be seen in.”

With a wider choice of sportswear available to suit a whole roster of bodies and budgets than ever before, there’s no better time to give your workout wardrobe a subtle but noticeable update than now - start by investing in a handful of key staples, such as a great pair trainers, some statement leggings or the right sports bra.

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Inspired by Margot’s and Lily’s style? Shop Margot’s look here and Lily’s look here.

Want further fitness inspo? Watch episode 2 of Margot vs Lily here. This week, Margot attempts to make her fitness VLOG debut and Lily tries to befriend her assistant Glenn...

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Join the journey by downloading the NTC Beach Ready Workout here.

Are you team #MargotViking or team #LilyNinja? Tune in every Monday to catch the latest episode, see the looks and get inspired on nike.com/betterforit #BetterForIt.

Follow Ayesha on Twitter and Instagram.

Written in partnership with Nike.

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