In need of a little get up and go? Charlotte Sinclair brings us her top 10 tips for fitness motivation
Sometimes working out is a joy. We charge outside, all vim and vigour, ready to sweat our hearts out. At other times, we drag and dawdle and lurk under our duvets, inventing any excuse – a sudden headache, no matching socks – to escape having to put on our trainers. Here’s 10 ways to get going when you really, really can’t be bothered.
1. Dress up
Pick a good outfit and put it on. I can’t stress this enough. Dressing for exercise is half the battle. You can’t just sit around, surfing net-a-sporter while wearing Lycra – or, you can, but eventually you’re going to have to either a) admit failure and get changed back into your jeans again, or b) actually do some exercise. Take option b).
Watch Beyonce music videos/gaze at photographs of Elle’s abs /Victoria’s Secret models, anything that inspires you to get out there. Stick pictures on your fridge. Choose a lean and lithe pin-up and sign up to their insta/Twitter/Facebook account. Personally, I would happily do without ever seeing another inspirational quote in my Instagram feed, but the snaps of toned gals in Adidas micro shorts? Bring it on. Photos of toned tummies and pert bottoms are what’s getting girls into gyms these days.
3. Friends United
You are less likely to bail out on a mate than you are on yourself. Team up, share the pain, make sure you both bring a piece of juicy gossip to discuss, anything to get your mind off the task at hand. This also works for attending a regular exercise class. If the teacher knows your name – and mentally notes your absence when you don’t turn up, and reminds you of it the following week – it’s harder to skip out of a session. Basically, this is the application of socially cohesive guilt to get you a hot body.
If possible, don’t join a gym that’s a twenty-minute drive away, or choose a class that involves three separate bus journeys across town (Your will power can’t possibly stand up to the hassle factor). Make life easier for yourself. Go to your nearest park, YMCA, samba class. Whatever involves the least amount of actual effort.
5. Time Management
Avoid becoming overawed by the idea of having to put yourself through an hour’s exercise by breaking up your session into portions. Tell yourself you only have to workout for 10 minutes (usually you’ll want to do more. And if you don’t, at least you’ve done something). Run as hard as you can for the length of a song on your iPod, walk for the next. See how many times you can do this. But, you know, don’t think you’ve failed if you can only do four songs. This is interval training, it’s hardcore, and amazingly effective. Working out short but hard, is actually the point of HIIT . If all else fails, do jumping jacks for two minutes on the hour from 9am – 6pm. By the end of the day you will have totalled 20 minutes of exercise. And an entirely new identity in the eyes of your co-workers...
A bit of self-bribery is essential to getting going. This is the carrot stick method of working out (which makes us the donkey). Make it worth your while. Promise yourself a smoothie, a coffee, a manicure, a lazy Sunday. Do not underestimate the power of knowing you can eat or drink or do something delicious with impunity as soon as the class is over to power you in your efforts.
7. Hit the mat
There’s the pell-mell, red-faced, heart-thumping, sweaty kind of exercise. And then there’s Pilates. If you can’t be bothered to do the former, get yourself to the latter. It’s mostly lying down! Yes, it challenges the core, and some classes feel like one long plank hold, not to mention the tricky lunges and weights involved in Reformer sessions. But I can guarantee there will certainly be a section where you’ll be lying on your back, having a little rest. Frankly, who doesn’t like lying down?
8. Video games
So, it’s raining outside, it’s cold, and damp, you’re pre-menstrual, none of your workout clothes fit, you have spots, can’t be bothered to wash your hair and your trainers have a funny smell that no amount of washing will get rid of. This is what you do – fire up the internet and download one of the expert-led online classes now available for you do in the privacy of your own home (want to work out in your pyjamas? Go for it!). Check out barrecore.co.uk , balletbeautiful.com , sleektechnique.com , or Tracy Anderson on YouTube. If even that seems beyond you, try doing sit-ups or bicep curls during the ad breaks while watching TV.
9. Walk the Walk
It’s such an easy and obvious one. Put on your trainers and walk home from work. Get off the bus two stops early. Walk to the supermarket and back. It’s easy! And free! You can talk on the phone, listen to music, commune with nature, meditate, whatever. Borrow a dog to feel even more legitimate.
10. Child’s Play
You know how celebrities always say ‘running around after their kids’ keeps them in shape? Fine. Find some kids. Preferably some you know/are related to. Run around with them. Exhausted (and exhausting) children = calorie annihilation for you.