- YouTube and magazines. You don’t need an expensive gym membership; even though I did enjoy having a gym membership for the time I had it, my motivation had often flagged by the time I reached the gym. You Tube is cheaper, allows me to pace my workouts through the day (instead of one big gym session), and it means I can do them as soon as I roll out of bed. I can still wear nice gym clothes- but I can also wear my pyjamas.
- Find YouTube channels that work for you. I love Blogilates, Tone It Up, Tara Stiles, Tiffany Rothe, Scola Dondo, and Pop Sugar Fitness. The first two are my go-to channels; it’s like having a personal trainer guide you through the moves (without the expense), and there are beginner’s videos available. Blogilates also has a beginner’s calendar- I completed the old version last summer and actually enjoyed every minute!
- If using a magazine workout create a playlist of YouTube videos to watch whilst doing them; it takes your mind off the reps enough to prevent you getting too tired, allowing you to finish the workout. After a long day, it can also make my workout seem more appealing when my energy is flagging. I love watching BreeLovesVlogs, as there’s a great upbeat feel to them, and they’re usually fitness related.
- Try a variety of different sorts of exercise, and classes if you can afford them. I’ve tried running, kickboxing, spinning, pilates, yoga, yogalates, piloxing, body conditioning, pump and tone, weights…before finally finding a handful of these that I enjoy and that fit into my lifestyle.
- Invest in an at home workout kit: Pilates mat, dumbbells (I have a set of three, from Argos, for £19.99), trainers. Check out discount sports shops for all of these things. Add your laptop for workout videos, and you’re good to go.
- Find what times workouts fit into your routine, and when you prefer doing them. Early start? Then schedule them in the afternoon. Hate working out after a long day? Then be an early bird. I like 10-15 minutes or less videos, and I often do one or two first thing, and then a couple in the afternoon. Add this to walking to uni and back, and I’m sorted. Decide what days you’ll do which workouts, as preplanning really helps. For example…
Monday- Blogilates ‘Pick Me Up’ workout; Tone It Up ‘Love Your Total Body’
Tuesday- Blogilates ‘8 Minute Abs’, ’50 Random Facts: The Workout’
Wednesday– Tiffany Rothe ‘Get Your Sexy Back Workout’; Tara Stiles ‘Total Body Yoga’
Thursday- Blogilates ‘Butt Lift and Slim Thighs’, ‘Bubble Butt’, ‘5 Best Moves for Inner Thighs’
You may decide to dedicate a day to a body part. Currently I follow: Total Body; Abs; Total Body; Arms and Back; Butt and Legs; Total Body; Rest
- Decide what days you’ll take a rest. I take one day where I do no workout videos, and just chill out. The day before that I may take some time to simply stretch and do yoga, usually because I’m pretty tired or busy as it’s a weekend. Rest days are important even if you aren’t a body builder or gym bunny: your body is working hard for you so give it some time to chill out and recover!
- First of all, focus on HEALTH, not “getting skinny”. Focus on how you feel, your energy levels, your confidence in your own skin- not becoming a certain size.
- Keep a log: this may be how much you weigh (although don’t get hung up on the scales; weigh in twice a week maybe- this is my personal preference), or in the form of photos. I really wish that I had kept photos of my healthy journey progress. I threw away many photos of when I wasn’t so healthy, but wish I had kept just a few to show myself how far I’ve come.
- Get on Pinterest and Instagram for healthy meal ideas and inspiration (you can even check out my foodie instagram account, there’s an IG icon in the right side bar, just click on this!)
- Educate yourself. Read up on the Eat Well Plate, what a balanced diet is, buy health and food magazines if you can. The basis of a healthy diet is education.
Why not switch to a homemade wholemeal pizza base?
- Make simple swaps: white bread for wholemeal, ice cream for frozen yoghurt, white chocolate and creamy chocolate bars for dark chocolate, swap your whole milk cappuccino for one using skimmed milk…I found that soon after doing this most unhealthy foods began to taste bland and boring, or else feel too heavy and rich.
- Don’t buy into fad diets, products, or ingredients. Eat every day superfoods such as eggs, chickpeas, spinach and kale, bananas, apples, salmon, sweet and regular potatoes.
- Starving yourself isn’t the answer. Don’t deprive yourself; eat better foods, not less food. By choosing healthier foods such as vegetables you become fuller faster anyway, whilst gaining maximum nutritional value.
- Treat yourself. Have healthy treats on standby such as dark chocolate, froyo, frozen bananas etc., but allow yourself a couple of days to enjoy something you really love- everything in moderation. A healthy lifestyle= balance. Balance= fruit, and burgers, and vegetables, and doughnuts, and lean protein, and pizza. Don’t over do it, but have fun. If eating out regularly, for example, allow a couple of meals to seriously indulge, but then choose healthier options for the remaining meals. Many menus advertise which dishes are healthier, but you can also read up on nutritional values, or just use your common sense. Of course, salmon with veggies and potatoes are better for you than deep fried fish and chips…
If eating out regularly look out for healthy options
- Keep a food diary. I record what I’ve eaten each day, and how much water I’ve had. I also record exercise in here. All you need is a bog standard notebook and a pen- although feel free to decorate the front with inspirational pictures or quotes.
- Drink loads of water, and cut back on alcohol, fizzy drinks, and full fat beverages. Often the brain mistakes thirst for hunger, and so I carry a water bottle that holds 850ml at all times.
- Pack snacks, and bring healthy lunches with you to work/school/uni. It saves money, and a vending machine dash.
- Disconnect while you eat; staring at a laptop, TV, or phone, distracts you from the food and as a result your brain doesn’t register that your stomach is full. I play music (relaxing, or just the radio) while I eat, and talk to my family/friends. If I’m by myself I might flick through a magazine, or simply just people watch. Admittedly some nights YouTube videos or The Millionaire Matchmaker might be watched, but I ensure that when this is the case I make extra effort to chew my food properly and pay attention to all of the lovely flavours, textures, and colours!
- Develop habits that make you smile: I’m currently enjoying lemon water in a morning, when my family want a takeaway and I feel like something home cooked and nutritious I go buy a piece of fish from my supermarket’s fish counter, on the weekend I look forward to indulging in something like a burger or homemade pizza, cocktails with friends, or a luxurious dessert. I genuinely look forward to all these things; if you aren’t enjoying a healthy lifestyle, then what’s the point?
Don’t deprive yourself!
- Meditation can really help if you’re feeling stressed out. I love Bexlife’s 4 Minute Meditations on YouTube. Walking also helps me, particularly if the weather is sunny and bright. Just drink in your surroundings and be in that moment.
- Don’t over think it. Enjoy it. Live life, get your balance right for you.
- Get enough sleep, 8-10 hours, to keep you energised.
- Don’t give up: a “bad day” where you miss a workout or feel you haven’t made the best choices regarding food, shouldn’t be allowed to snowball into a bad week, month, or year.
I hope that that helps all of you beginners out there- keep your eyes peeled for more blog posts to give you a hand. I’ll be writing a ‘Favourite Workouts’ post, and also posts relating to healthy snacks, meals, and other tips and tricks to help you out.