If fitness only happened on the weeks that life was utterly predictable, nothing much would get done. You'd see very little progress over a year - because there's always something going on; birthdays, anniversaries, giving birth, changes in income - even a global pandemic.
The key for long term success will be to make your fitness fit into your life and to establish healthy habits that feel like a seamless part of your lifestyle. So, you won't be side-tracked when unexpected events crop up from time to time: because they will.
Today, we will dig into the four main areas of life where you can create lasting habits you can maintain with small adjustments when circumstances change. In this article, the habitual behaviours will be talked about in broad terms because there's no one size all prescription that will be right for everyone's specific demands from their lifestyle.
If you can maintain some flexibility about how you exercise, you're far more likely to be able to do something. Being too rigid about your training plan can, for most people, mean that they end up doing nothing instead.
For example, rather than holding yourself to a standard of working out at the gym 5 days a week, it may be more useful to commit to fewer days. Suppose you're not a member of a gym or don't want to make that commitment at the moment. In that case, it could be a smart investment to pick up some small items, like a kettlebell or some resistance bands, that you can keep at home.
If you like that daily "buzz" from exercise, you could consider reducing the time you spend on it. Now, rather than needing an hour for exercise, you could aim for 20 minutes every day. That can seem easier to fit into a demanding schedule. Seeing this change to "movement" rather than your regular gym training can be an opportunity to explore and experiment with new exercise you might enjoy. Virtual classes, jogging, yoga, or a bodyweight circuit - there are so many ways to move that you might even enjoy more than your current gym time.
Food preparation of healthy and nourishing meals is a way to show yourself both respect and self-care. But like anything, at first, it takes practise until it feels like part of your life. Sometimes when your routine gets disrupted, your eating behaviours suffer the most. Usually, because it's a newer behaviour and one that takes conscious effort to get right for most people.
Rather than trying to make every single meal as healthy as possible, trying choosing just one meal. The one that has the most room for improvement (usually this is the evening meal when you're tired and low on mental resources for planning). Aim to make this just a little bit better by including lean protein or one more vegetable.
You can also get stuck in a rut with cooking the same meals all the time, and food becomes boring and repetitive. If this sounds like something you're struggling with, pick one day a week when you have a little more time to try a new recipe.
#3. Mental Health
Reconnecting with old hobbies can be a fantastic way to stay present in the moment. This could be a craft, picking up a musical instrument, or even drawing and painting. These hobbies are immersive and can help to create a "flow state", which has been linked with feelings of reduced anxiety and depression. If they're hobbies you've enjoyed in the past, it can be an excellent way to reconnect with those things you once enjoyed about them.
Taking time to yourself each day to meditate or writing in a journal can help foster feelings of gratitude and well being. There are several apps out there, but merely sitting and counting your breaths for one minute can be a great entry point into feeling more focused and calm.
If you're able to get together with friends, even virtually, make time to do that. Humans are social creatures, and this is particularly important if you live alone. It could be a quick Facetime call to your family, or a virtual pub quiz (complete with a glass of wine!) but neglecting this can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
It's vital when things are stressful to make time to be around other people. It's common to cut yourself off when times get stressful. Just remember, being around other people can provide you with not only an emotional support network but sometimes practical advice and help that's much needed from an outside perspective.
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Busy Pro Fitness offers personal training in Hampstead for clients based in Hampstead, Belsize Park, St John's Wood, West & South Hampstead, Childs Hill, Finchley, Golders Green, Regents Park, Maida Vale, Highgate, Muswell Hill, Hendon, Primrose Hill and surrounding areas. But we also provide a Virtual Training and Online Coaching service for those clients who live elsewhere and Worldwide.