As I’m 30 days into my fitness journey I thought it was time to share how I’m getting on so far, as well as a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.
I’ve dipped in and out of diets and going to the gym but never actually stuck to something.. until now. The big turning point for me came when I was weighed at my last doctors appointment and realised that I’d put on a fair few pounds since my last visit, and suddenly the tighter-feeling clothes and rounder-looking face became very obvious. I told myself that I’d lose the weight I’d put on after our honeymoon and relaxing into married life, as well as tone up and feel much healthier in general. I’m 30 days in and have lost 6 pounds so far which I’m happy about, but I’ve still got a long way to go yet.
Here’s what I’ve done (and learned) so far…
Better control over food
Biscuits, cakes and many other sweet treats were my vice and I could happily munch my way through them without realising how much fat and sugar I was actually consuming. I knew I had to curb the sweet treats and snacking, as well as eating as a means of curing boredom and not actually when I was hungry.
Enter My Fitness Pal, an app that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with over the last few years but one that’s firmly stuck in my daily routine now. I like to use the app to track what I’m eating daily, as a way of keeping an eye on my calorie intake as well as regulating the fatty and sugary foods that I reach for. Once you’ve entered your height, weight and age you’re given a target daily calorie intake, and then all you need to do is enter each meal (there’s also a handy bar code scanner to make life easier) as well as track your exercise and how much water you’re drinking. I’ve been using the app non-stop for 30 days now and have found it to be invaluable as I’m a lot more mindful of what I’m eating now. If you haven’t already, I’d really recommend giving it a go. Want to know the best news? It’s absolutely free!
As well as this, I’ve also made sure to include a lot more fruit and veg in my diet and try to make more meals from scratch now. I admit that with a busy full time job the last thing I want to do is come home and spend ages preparing dinner, but I’m definitely seeing the benefits of eating fresher and more healthier already.
Lastly, I can’t stress enough how important it is to drink plenty of water. I now use a water bottle with time markings to make sure I’m drinking enough water at work, and then carry on into the night to make sure I’m drinking at least 2 litres of water each day. As well as being great for your body, it’s also a great help for clearer skin and a more focused brain.
Finding a gym that works for you
As well as eating healthier, I’ve also upped my exercise target to visiting the gym at least twice a week. A massive hurdle for me was that I found joining a gym extremely daunting as I had no idea what to look for, as well as having very little confidence in actually walking into the gym and working out. Finding the right gym for you may take a bit of trial and error but I was quite lucky in the fact that my nearest gym, Pure Gym, was a great fit for my needs. It’s very affordable (£15.99 each month with no contract), has lots of equipment on site as well as plenty of free classes with a timetable that suits my 9-5 working hours.
I’ll admit that I’m not one for heading to the gym and working out on my own as I just can’t seem to keep myself motivated, so I spend most of my time attending classes. I’ve tried just about every class that my local Pure Gym has to offer and my favourites are definitely Body Pump, Spin and Aerobics. I find exercising with an instructor and a group of people much more enjoyable and motivating, so I think I’ll stick to that for the time being.
Exercising at home
As well as spending time at the gym, I also like to use at-home exercise DVDs as a way to get some exercise when I can’t make it to a class. It may seem like the last thing you would want to be doing at home on weeknights, but I love that you can get a good workout in just 15 or 20 minutes and then get on with the rest of your night.
I have two favourite DVDs at the moment which I like to rotate. I’d heard so much about the Body Coach Workout from Joe Wicks that I had to give it a go, and I agree that his 15-20 minute HIIT workouts do a fab job of getting you moving and burning calories. Whether you’re a beginner or really want to push yourself, there’s something for everyone as Joe demonstrates different difficulty options to really tailor your workout to your own needs and abilities.
The second DVD on my list is an oldie but a goodie, and it’s the Ministry of Sound Pump It Up Body Burn. As someone who spent a large portion of their early life dancing I find myself being drawn to workout DVDs with dance elements, and what’s great is that this particular programme has a mix of dance routines, toning workouts and even a legs, bums and tums section. I have quite a few Ministry of Sound DVDs in my collection now, but it’s the ones fronted by Gareth Walker that I gravitate towards. His routines are fun but challenging, and I find him to be very motivating when I’m starting to slow down.
Dressing the part
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve found buying gym wear to be a big motivation for visiting the gym/working out at home more. Whether it’s a supportive new pair of leggings or a new top that looks amazing, there’s something about activewear that I just love shopping for. What’s even better is that there are a few options out there for good quality gym clothes at a much more affordable price. I’ve tried cheaper activewear that is much kinder on the purse but, for the most part, I’ve found that you get what you pay for as cheaper leggings were see-through and certainly not squat-proof. Not a good look I can assure you!
For more affordable, good quality gym wear I’d recommend checking out:
TK Maxx – With a surprising range of brands including New Balance, Puma and Nike, you’re sure to find some great looking and good quality activewear at a great price in TK Maxx. As someone with bigger boobs, I’d really recommend the New Balance Cross Back Sports Bra with padding as it’s so supportive!
Nike Factory Outlet – If you have a Nike factory outlet store near you then I’d highly recommend popping in as you’ll come out with some great bargains. All of the stock is discounted but there’s also a sale section that has between 30-50% off the already discounted price. I’ve managed to pick up some new trainers (even more of a bargain if you can fit into junior trainers – for reference I’m a UK size 6 and fit comfortably in a junior size), a supportive crop top and oversized jumper (pictured above) as well as some comfy Nike Air black leggings that go with just about anything.
Sports Direct – I’m sure you’ll already know about the bargains that can be found in Sports Direct, but I’d really recommend having a look if you’re after leggings as their selection is great and there’s usually great offers on these. I recently picked up a pair of Karrimor running leggings (pictured) for over half price and couldn’t be happier as they’re great quality, fit well with a drawstring for adjusting and have a handy zipped pocket.