From a very young age (as long as I can remember,) I have always found such enjoyment in exercise and movement. I trained and worked as a professional dancer, which in turn has given me a wealth of knowledge and understanding with regards to movement and my body. However, whereas when I was younger, in my late teens and early twenties, my fitness drive was very much centred around aesthetics (how I looked, how much I weighed, how many calories I consumed etc.) I now connect with fitness on another level, rather than how it makes me look, it is all about how it makes me feel!
I suffer from anxiety and depression, therefore rely heavily upon exercise and mindful practices as a tool to release nervous energy, and generally feel happier and healthier within myself. With that in mind, I live by the following 5 fitness tips...
If you are a morning person and prefer to get up and get your workout ticked off the to do list, then pre set your gym kit the night before. Even if you wake up and the temptation to snooze the alarm is overwhelming, start by gently wakening and getting dressed with no pressure of actually working out. If you still don’t feel up to an early workout once up and prepared, then it's probably more beneficial to go back to bed and get some extra Zzzz. HOWEVER, the chances are that once up and in that pre set gym kit there will be no stopping you!
Every night before bed write out a plan for the day ahead - any tasks that need completing, including your workout plans. Physically writing this down, creating a diary insert for a specific time treats it as a meeting, so you don't find better things to do or talk yourself out of it! That is also why scheduled classes are so good to sign up to - get it booked in advance, you can fit the class around your working timetable and know exactly when it starts and how long it is for.
3.Change It Up
It is super important to change up your fitness regime. This not only stops you getting bored, it also keeps shocking the body with new exercises, in return adapting and progressing your fitness. Many believe that a workout is not effective unless you are dripping in sweat with a mad high heart rate, however this is not necessarily the case. I personally have realised the importance of yoga and pilates style classes - for body and mind alike. It's important not to underestimate the intensity of a power yoga or barre burn class - It's fire!
Rest is fundamental in your fitness and wellness journey. Although, and let’s be honest, there is a fine line between making excuses, being lazy and listening to your body in order to really benefit from rest.
There have been times where I have felt sluggish, sleepy and pretty unmotivated to move and could have easily convinced myself I needed a rest day, but when I eventually force myself to get up and move my body (even just a walk in the fresh air, or slow paced yoga class,) I feel a million times better for it.
However, when you are training hard and the body is fatigued, it is so important to recognise the signs and not push yourself too hard, as this can also cause unnecessary injury. Don’t feel lazy or be too hard on yourself, just like exercise, schedule recovery time in also! I always make time for a luxurious bubble bath on my rest days to totally indulge and pamper, there is nothing better than well earn't r and r!
5.Make It Fun
Find something you love, my top tip above all is to find the fun in fitness! It shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you look forward to, something that makes you feel happy and good about yourself. It is a time to escape reality and focus on yourself and the present moment. It is a tool to combat stress, anxiety and depression. By incorporating fitness into your lifestyle I ensure that you will only see/feel change for the better. There are endless varieties of sports and exercises to try out, so find something that feels fun for you and good for your body!
As a vegan, with a very active lifestyle, I cannot stress the importance of being mindful to ensure you properly fuel your body with the correct amount of calories and nutrients.
My favourite energy boosting on the go snacks include - bananas, Majool dates (they literally taste like golden syrup,) almonds, avocados and nut butter, all of which are great to avoid a midday dip in energy or mood.
All you can ask of yourself is to be consistent, align your meals/exercise regime with your work-life balance as close to perfection as you can, and you're on the right track. Anchor down on your main goals and be persistent to achieve the best version of yourself.