As much as you may love your workouts, there’ll be days when you just don’t.
Paula Radcliffe has held the women’s marathon world record for 15 years, so knows a thing or two about running.
She uses her ‘10-minute rule’. Start your workout and if after 10 minutes you can’t get into it, call it a day.
Sometimes you’ll find all you need is to get started and you can find your groove. But if it goes the other way, just chalk it up to it being a bad day and move on. Don’t dwell on it.
● TIP – If you’re feeling out of sorts, try to get outside and have a stroll. Fresh air can make the world of difference.
Here’s another seven ideas on top of the 10-minute rule to keep your New Year fitness regime on track.
2. Set yourself mini-challenges
If the prospect of running 10 miles makes you want to jump down the nearest pothole, break it down. Just tackle it a mile at a time.
Plan your route so you’ll see something interesting at every 3-mile mark and reward yourself by stopping and taking a picture or texting a friend. Progress takes patience.
It takes time. You just need to keep showing up.
● TIP – Remember that, even if you’re taking baby steps, you’re still moving forward.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
You’ve got to have people in your corner who will cheer you on.
Those who give you subtle jabs, mocking you when you go for a workout rather than a drink – those aren’t your tribe.
It may seem innocent but, on some level, they don’t want to see you succeed.
It’s OK to distance yourself from them. You need support and encouragement – there are plenty out there willing to give you that.
● Tip – Be sure you’re that person for someone else too, so you understand how powerful it can be.
4. Listen to your body
If there’s one thing exercise will do, it’ll make you appreciate your body as the finely oiled machine that it is.
So don’t ignore that little niggle in your knee, or that tightness in your hamstring. When your body is grumbling in the form of pulled muscles, tightness, soreness or just sheer exhaustion, do yourself a favour and listen to it.
Take some rest. Go and see a physio. Take care of yourself.
● TIP – Take the time to warm up properly pre-workout, and then a few minutes afterwards to stretch.
5. Set a goal
Rather than ‘losing weight’, think of a goal, whether it’s to run a half-marathon, lift a certain amount in your deadlifts or do 20 push-ups non-stop.
Make it about something that’s going to make you stronger, more determined and focused; something that will motivate you on a deeper level.
● TIP – Write it down. When you see it on paper, it’s a commitment.
6. Make a playlist
On days when it can be tough to find a reason to train, throwing on some tunes that are guaranteed to get you moving is a fail-safe way to ensure you are out there getting it done.
Let your playlist take you on a journey. Include songs that make you feel strong and powerful, songs that bring back happy memories or have got you through tough times.
Think of the way your workout is structured.
Ease in with some light-hearted tunes for your warm-up, throw in something with a bit more kick as you speed up on the treadmill, then throttle back, perhaps with a little Soul, for your cool-down and stretch.
● TIP – Ask friends to send you songs that remind them of fun times you’ve had together.
7. Schedule your workout like a business meeting
One of our main excuses for not working out is we don’t have time.
We’ll squeeze a ton of other things into our day, but the one thing that really is important, which can have an impact on every aspect of our day, we’ll forgo.
Write your workout time in your day planner, block that time out and let nothing interfere with it.
Your workout isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
● TIP – Keep some spare workout kit at your office/in your car.
8. Keep a log
After every workout, when you’re in that blissful, post-sweat endorphin haze, write down how you feel.
On days when you lack motivation, having a journal to look back on is a great reminder of the potential high that awaits after a workout.
Write whatever words come to mind: empowered, strong, sweaty, exhausted, happy…
● TIP – Make this part of your ritual. Work out, grab a bite then, while you’re enjoying a green tea, jot down your workout notes.
– From Bangs Carey-Campbell’s The Pocket Cheerleader: Your Badass Guide To Getting Moving (published January 23, £9.99, Unbound)