As I sit here eating a bowl of Ruffles Loaded Potato Skin chips (so, SO GOOD), I feel a little guilty about not living up to my fitness goals which include kicking these very chips to the curb. I normally eat carefully as thinking about nitrates, high sodium and the scowling face of my vegan sister makes me feel very guilty, very quickly. In all seriousness, eating healthy and hitting the gym regularly is an important part of my lifestyle.
With a father suffering from diabetes, I see firsthand the importance of clean eating. Drinking copious amounts of water too has not only cleared up my skin, I’m convinced it has gotten rid of that bloat I suffered from after eating about 3000 shortbread cookies over the Christmas season.
One thing I learned quickly over the past couple of years is how important it is to incorporate fun exercise into your routine. Sure – you can sign up for spinning classes or hot yoga, but if you don’t derive any fun from these activities, trust me, you will NOT be sticking with them.
About four summers ago, I finally said: “SCREW IT!” (yes, that loudly) and bought a bike that I had been eyeing for months. It’s a silver Trek commuter bike with a giant comfy seat that you sit completely upright on. My normally achy back loves it. It’s also super light and fast, and I fell in love with it quickly despite its big price tag.
To this day, it remains one of the best investments I ever made. During the spring and summer months, I ride it everywhere and love every minute of it. Riding my bike doesn’t feel like exercise at all either! I love every second of it and feel free as a bird as I peddle my heart out.
The first summer I owned that bike, I logged so many miles cycling that my legs looked beautiful by the end of it. My arms toned up pretty nicely too from gripping the handles bars so tightly as I flew over trails and sped down streets. A total bonus.
Another activity I picked up that I absolutely love is walking. I once worked at an office which overlooks a beautiful lake. Several times a week after work, I would hit the trails flanking the lake and Rideau Canal and walk the eight kilometres to the downtown core. It was an opportunity to walk off the stresses of the day and clear my mind. The walk is beautiful too with glimmering views of the canal and Arboretum. It’s a habit that I’ve kept up to this day, despite me no longer working in that area.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working out with two great trainers at Premium Performance Fitness here in Ottawa. I can now see muscles I didn’t know I had, and I’ve gained some major strength. With the regular strength training, I’ve managed to lose all of the weight I gained pigging out in Spain this past summer and I now sleep like a baby. No more tossing and turning in bed wondering why the cashier at the grocery store eyed me so hard as I bought three boxes of Decadents. THEY WERE FOR AN OFFICE PARTY, OK? The key is I like weight training. I love feeling strong and I like working out with like-minded people.
So, the moral of this long-winded post is to stress the importance of incorporating a fitness lifestyle into your daily lives that you enjoy. What’s the sense of slogging away at something if you dread it? How can you possibly stick to your goals if you are dreading whatever exercise you are doing? Maybe sitting down and planning out a “happy fitness strategy” is key to becoming the best you. So, here is a little list to help you get motivated and figure out what exercises would be best for you…
Five Little Tips To Get The Most Out Of Fitness in 2018
1. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU LIKE! If you hate spinning, find something else. If running strikes the fear of God into you, forego it. And just because “Barry’s Bootcamp” is a thing, doesn’t mean it’s right for you, especially if you don’t like drill sargeant-y instructors. If a daily half-hour walk at lunch is more your pace, do it. If dancing along with your friends at Zumba sounds like fun, try it. Just ignore your husband staring at you behind the studio window snickering at your cool moves. Sigh.
2. Get some new threads. Sounds dumb, right? It totally isn’t. One of the best ways I motivate myself to get into the gym is to buy some new gear. Hey – if you shell out $100 for those butt-enhancing pants, you want to show them off. What better way to do that then heading out for a run or taking in a group fitness class? Oh – and don’t just buy stuff that looks good. Buy things that look good AND fit properly. Make sure you are comfortable in everything you are sporting and get fitted for proper shoes. Makes the world of difference.
3. Plan it out. Make your fitness time as important as your other appointments. You enter in your doctor’s appointments and work meetings into your calendar because it’s important that you remember them. Well, so is investing in your physical and mental health. Treat it like a meeting you can’t miss.
4. Journal your successes! It really works! After a great run, write about what made it great and how it made you feel. Once a month, go back and read over your entries to feel good about your progress and learn about what worked and what didn’t. Jot down how you felt during and after each workout and take careful note of any aches and pains. You don’t have to “physically write it down” either. Try apps like my favourites: Runkeeper and Strava. Quick and easy. NO EXCUSES.
5. Enlist a buddy. I love running with Ryan. He keeps me going, is totally supportive and makes silly little jokes that take my mind off of how much further we have to go. He is also a wiz at keeping track of pace and timing. Best of all, he gets me off my butt and out on the trails when I want to watch three more episodes of The Crown and marvel at Princess Margaret’s antics (and amazing wardrobe).
Well, there you have it – my tips for planning and killing your fitness goals in 2018. One of my fitness goals for this year is to challenge myself to try something to boost my flexibility. I don’t like yoga as I find it too slow, but maybe I’ll give it another go. Another option is pilates, something I actually quite like. It feels like more of a workout and it definitely increases flexibility…and I will use any excuse to cute in my new gym threads…