A Fresh Perspective on Exercise

Exercise is my nemesis to be honest. I go through waves of really enjoying workouts, then really hating it and that’s completely normal. At university, my gym membership consisted of gym and swim which meant I could switch between the two, but as work got intense, my motivation to do either slipped because the off-peak hours felt awkward to fit exercise into my day (in reality, I could have just woken up earlier). But then we hit the storm that is coronavirus and my university deadlines were over much quicker than expected. After months of uni work, library days and lectures, I had no structure to my days – a complete 360.

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Why I’m avoiding the New Year diet..

And just like that, Christmas has flown by! For me it was the best chilled day I could have asked for, plenty of food, afternoon naps and board games.

Previous New Years that I’ve approached in my 20 years of life, have been promising myself to get on the new year diet as soon as Jan 1st rolls around. Normally, I’ve got a new cookbook or some kind of exercise equipment for Christmas and I’m ready to try it out. But it never seems to last long, I slip up with the new year of dieting and exercise one way or another and don’t see the point of going back to it, typically before Jan 31st!

Last year, I chose not to put too much pressure on myself to follow a New Year diet and I think 2018 has taught me a lot, especially with how to balance fitness and health in a more regular way.

This summer, I decided to go vegetarian and feel as though this has shaped my eating habits into a more healthy balanced way. Simply because I just bloody love veg but actually it’s been a really good change for me to feel passionate about the food I’m creating and putting into my body (shown by my veggie Christmas dinner creation!). That’s definitely not saying I’m perfect with food, a few too many chocolates have been consumed this Christmas period, but I feel as though my habits are slowly starting to change.

Balancing fitness wise has always been something I’ve struggled with, hence why I’ve always pushed it as a focus in previous January’s. This year, I’ve learnt to enjoy the time I can go to the gym this and to feel better for it, instead of always feeling I’m pushing myself to lose weight. Programmes such as Tally Rye’s ‘#bestmemotivationmonth’, have really helped me alter my mindset towards going to the gym and I’ve stayed fairly active over the festive period with dog walks and exploring new places!

Although January can be full of motivation for some of us, it can really feel like a struggle to be prioritising going to the gym 3-4 times a week so for the New Year, I’m going to try and use the time when I’m at the gym to push myself further, whether its 30 mins, 40 mins or an hour.

But finally, the main reason why I’m going to avoid the New Year diet this year, is acceptance. I want to feel good about myself and what I’m doing fitness/health wise, rather than pressurising myself to go to the gym three times a week. It can be easy to get caught up into it all, especially the ‘New Year, New Me’ aspect. Although January can kick-start motivation for healthy eating and exercise, it’s worth remembering that your size/weight does not define you, feeling good about yourself can and will take time and it’s a roller-coaster journey so heres to 2019!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas of indulgence and enjoy the New Year! ❤

Fitness?

Be prepared for a little ramble on the very important topic of fitness today…
I’ve always struggled with sports in general, even from primary school, I never really enjoyed it. I found that I loved horse-riding and for years, that was what I focused on, so I had some sort of exercise within my week. This slowed down as school work began to become a priority and unfortunately, I fell out of the loop.
Since then, I’ve tried all sorts of exercise to try and find what works best for me; running, Zumba, boxing classes, going to the gym, you name it. I loved going to a gym that did boxing classes in the evenings in the six months before going to uni and I think that’s when I was at my best weight, mind-set and fitness level.

Before I knew it, I was heading to university and I threw myself into the uni lifestyle at the beginning of the year (and it was great!), but slowly weight began piling back on and I didn’t have the motivation to change it. I did join a gym close to my accommodation, but as I didn’t have the motivation, I was just going to the gym, not setting goals or adjusting my diet. Looking back, although the gym was friendly, it wasn’t quite the same as going to a smaller one, where the personal trainers knew you and wanted to help you achieve your goals. As I’ve been back from uni for Easter break, and I know I will be at home next year for my placement, I’ve really tried to find what does work best for me and to understand what motivates me most.
Now, I’m closer to the uni campus this year, so my main exercise is swimming at the university pool and walking to lectures. I find swimming a therapeutic type of exercise as you do put your phone away for the hour and can just concentrate on your technique/speed etc, but the pool at home has been shut for most of the time I’ve been back. I have ventured to the outdoor pool in Hathersage, but it is quite a drive, so in terms of convenience I’ve turned to the gym at my local leisure centre.

ashbourne gym

One of the things I’ve learnt from going back to the gym is that people are really only there to concentrate on themselves, and my anxiety that everyone is watching me do things wrong, should be pushed to the back of my mind. Walking into the weights area is still a scary concept for me, but I try to pick my times right with how busy the gym is. The gym has a set of scales and although weighing myself for the first time was a bit of a shock, its been good to monitor and have a general idea of how my progress is going. I’ve also really enjoyed yoga for the last month, there’s a good yoga class in the village for an hour every week and I’ve learnt how good it is to switch off and focus on something that used to be so out of my comfort zone.

I’ve found its been really good to follow fitness bloggers on YouTube and Instagram as I would still class myself as a beginner when it comes to the gym! Joe Wicks, Zanna van Dijk and Carly Rowena are some of my faves to follow and find inspiration for workouts from.

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So, although I’m heading back to uni soon and my fitness routine will change, it’s nice to be feeling confident within a gym again and now I’ve started seeing results hopefully this will keep my motivation going!