That time has come around again. You've gorged on all the food, had one (or 4) drinks too many, become an agoraphobe and your PJs are now all you feel confident in. Come January 1st, enough is enough, new year, new you! That never used to happen for me in January. I'm usually still festering in my own lack of motivation until at least March. I blame it on the fact that UK winters don't usually start until January so I am in greedy hibernation mode for the first few months of the year. (That was my excuse and I stuck to it). However, my life has changed a lot in recent months so I am hoping that I can muster the will power to keep my good habits going overall.
I have always been someone who liked to try and stay active, but I would rarely stick with anything for long. The only exception to this was swimming, which I took up in a big way in my mid 20's, and stuck with for several years. I find being in the water incredibly relaxing and therapeutic, and have always found it to be a great way to combat stress. But even with swimming, the boredom eventually set in.
By February 2016 I had found myself looking in the mirror and seeing someone I didn't recognize. A tough few years personally and a terrible diet had really taken its toll on my body. My once clear skin was constantly breaking out, and I had gained more weight than I was comfortable with. It wasn't a huge amount, but it was enough for me not to feel like me. I decided that enough was enough, and something had to give.
I joined a local gym on a joint membership with my partner and got to work in turning my health around. I would really recommend joining a gym with someone. It's great to have company to motivate you when you need it, and who you can support and encourage in turn. However, you have to make a commitment that you will not give up on one another or it simply will not work. Accepting that you will have plenty of days where it is the last thing you want to do is all part of the deal.
With my partner's help I embarked on a mixed regime of cardio, weights, swimming, boxing, running, HIT, you name it. I especially enjoyed boxing (incredible for channeling anger if you've had a bad day) which left me feeling really empowered and strong . It was something I had always wanted to try but had never had the gumption to go for. I have never been great at pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying new things, but in the gym I found a new confidence.
I gradually began to incorporate more weights into my workouts, and learned how to use lots of different machines, leaving me feeling excited and enthusiastic in parts of the gym I would have previously shied away from. I learned to be utterly unafraid of picking up my 4kg dumbells and doing my thing next to the stereotypical grunting man with his 30kg weights because I had as much right to be there as he did. I'm so glad I overcame that fear because weights have helped improve my strength, transform my body and keep my workouts fresh. Too many women are afraid that weights will bulk them up, or are intimidated by that section in the gym - don't be, you won't bulk up unless you are consciously trying to, so if you are interested, try it! (Just make sure you learn from someone with the right level of experience).
I soon started to incorporate a healthier way of eating and to my amazement my body started to transform.
I set myself targets for each workout - which I aimed to smash through each time. Becoming competitive with myself and seeking to outdo previous records was the perfect motivation I needed.
Every so often, my partner would introduce me to a new piece of equipment or a new challenge (whether it be weights for my arms, or the TRX for my tummy, or even kicking about a football in the park), keeping my enthusiasm going. The more you embrace the world of fitness and trying new things, the more you find yourself hungry to take on more challenges and push the boundaries. For me I have found this to be the best way of sticking with the exercise game - not having a routine I stick to for every workout, but mixing it up. Make it fun or you just won't stick with it!
"No pleasure endures unseasoned by variety" - Publilius Syrus