As a dancer my experience of ‘exercise’ is very different from most. It wasn’t simply something I had to do at the end of a long days work, but was in fact my long days work! I’ve learnt from years of professional training that being a professional sportsman (dancing or otherwise) needs a very different stamina from being a Gym-goer. Of course physically it’s extremely different, but I believe the real difference is in the mentality.
When I first stopped dancing, I didn’t want to set foot in a gym – I totally and completely rebelled against exercise. I was ‘far too busy’ getting my shit together to get on the treadmill. Even when I did go to the gym it took a lot of convincing, despite knowing the payoff felt great.
I tricked myself into loving exercise, and realised soon after that movement was ingrained in me and I personally need it to function. Even knowing this, keeping the enthusiasm can be tricky, so I’ve put together my top tips to have a hot, steamy, loving relationship with exercise, that will last. You can’t find these tips in Cosmo…
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!
Tapping snooze to your 6am workout alarm is all too easy, your bed is so cosy and the thought of leaving it to go grill your body isn’t a welcome one so early. This is when you’ve got to fake it. Put out your favourite leggings the night before, and make sure when you wake up you’re excited to get up and move (feel this way, even if you don’t). Your inner actress needs to come out, even if the performance isn’t all that believable.
Make the transition from bed to gym effortless, this will keep the complaining at bay and make it a far better experience. Leggings ready and waiting, pre-workout snack on the kitchen table and trainers by the front door, 5 minutes the night before to make the morning get-up so much smoother.
You get to the gym and your shooting for an Oscar, don’t stop ‘loving’ it now. Pushing your body can be hard, and it’s easy to slip into a comfortable place, doing the bare minimum. I’ve gone to the gym before and done 5 minutes on the rowing machine, before lying down and practically falling asleep in the stretching corner. It’s easily done! Don’t be that person, utilise the opportunity to see what your amazing body can do. Embrace the struggle and push yourself.
I always say that the gym is something you can only love out of habit. If you go consistently 6 days a week, you’re going to have so much more momentum to go the next day. You’re ingraining that routine into your body. If you stop going for weeks the thought of going back becomes more and more intimidating. Book a time into your diary at least 3-4 times a week to move that body, and prioritise that time just as you would an important meeting. You’ll love the feeling that soon it’s something you’ll actually want to prioritise.
There is nothing worse than doing the same routine day in day out. Even if your mind isn’t bored your body probably is. Switch things up and try a range of different classes, exercise sequences and even studios. Sometimes just changing where you workout can make a big difference on your mind. Last year my new years resolution was to try a different form of exercise every week. Me and a friend used our weekly Tuesday catchup to instead try a totally new workout; Rock climbing, trampolining, spinning, Hip-hop…. you name it, we tried it. It was so much fun doing it with someone else and the novelty kept things exciting. It was also a great way to find out exactly what workouts I loved, and wanted to make a regular thing.
Nothing makes me happier than going to workout in some super fashionable kit. If you feel great before you even begin, it just makes it that little bit easier to get up and go! Investing in nice kit is never necessary but it certainly gives you that extra reason to workout – you can’t show off your crazy cool leggings if you’re lying on the sofa. I’m inserting a little plug-in here for my favourite activewear store Hip & Healthy…my incredible sister owns it, so naturally I’m all about buying far too much athletic wear from them.
The most important point is this one, have a goal. It doesn’t have to be a physical one, in fact my main goal with a workout never really is. For me it’s a mixture of two things; I know working out gives me a greater perspective on my life and work. I sleep better, eat better and feel better when I have movement in my day. One of my goals is to give myself that clarity every single day in one way or another. Even if the movement is only a half-hour walk. The other goal I have is to do with strength and achievement within my routine – I’m always striving to be that much stronger in a posture, or that much more flexible in a move. These are little markers to show improvement in my body, the more I see them, the more goals I have.
So if you’re relationship with exercise is a little rocky try out these 5 tips and report back. I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me!