Have you jumped on the ‘New Year New Me’ hype? Or are you sick to DEATH of hearing about those who have? Perhaps you are vaguely interested in getting fit in 2016, but don’t want to be one of those people who resolve to start exercising in January and end up paying for a gym membership they never use…
Whatever category you fit into, we’ve got you covered; here’s a realistic guide to getting in shape, and staying that way!
1. Set Realistic Goals
Goals are great! Goals give you something to work towards, and the sense of achievement once a goal is reached can be amazing. But setting unrealistic goals can be dangerous; there are few things more detrimental to progress than constantly looking forward to where you want to be without giving yourself enough time to get there and taking the time to reflect on how far you’ve come.
Set yourself realistic short term goals rather than one massive long term goal, and you will be so much more likely to succeed! Whether you set yourself goals for the week, or even just for the day - remember to acknowledge and appreciate your progress, however small! Managed to wake up in time for that exercise class? Win! Skipped the gym because you were too tired after lectures? That’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself – tomorrow is a new day!
2. Find What Works For You
Hate the thought of the gym? That’s fine! Find out about your local exercise classes instead. Running hurts your knees? Me too! Try using the elliptical machine, or look into swimming and other low-impact exercises. Gym fees a little out of your price range? No problem! A lot of gyms like our friends Fitness First offer free trial sessions and discounted membership for students. There are also TONNES of free workout videos and ideas on YouTube and all over the internet. Don't want to leave the house? Grab some fitness DVDs like Davina's or Geordie Shore Charlotte Crosby's and work out in the comfort of your own home! Think you aren’t good at exercising? Also fine! You don’t have to be good at it - as a well-known sports brand once said, JUST DO IT. Can't keep yourself motivated? Get a friend involved and help keep eachother stay on track!
Be flexible in your approach and find workouts that work for you.
3. Eat Clean
The cold hard reality is: you can’t out-exercise an unhealthy diet. Getting fit isn't just about excercise - you've got to eat well too!
Forget the crash diets and juice cleanses – they don’t work in the long term, and can have pretty nasty effects on your mood, energy levels and general wellbeing. (I can’t even imagine how ragingly hangry I would be after two days of consuming only liquids…) There is no big secret to eating well – simply cut down on your intake of alcohol and processed sugary and fatty foods, drink more water, and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole foods (i.e. food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances).
Substitute that packet of crisps for a nice crisp apple, or that chocolate bar for a small handful of nuts; try switching to wholegrains (pasta/rice), and make yourself a packed lunch instead of picking up lunch on the go… And most of all, avoid thinking of your diet as a ‘diet’ – make sustainable changes that you will be able to stick to in the long term, and do just that. But also remember that it’s okay to have a treat and reward yourself once in a while too!
4. Be Patient
I CANNOT emphasize this one enough! If you are the type of person who does one workout and then runs home to check the mirror for progress only to cry and give up when you don’t see any (like me), you need to STOP THAT.
The truth is it’s going to take a few weeks of consistent exercise and healthy eating before you will see any noticeable changes – be patient, give yourself time, and I promise it will get easier!
5. Don’t Cheat Yourself
Think it’s okay to stop just because the instructor isn’t looking? Or do you think the burger doesn’t count because it had a few leaves of lettuce in it? I’m not saying it’s not okay to rest or have a burger once in a while, but be honest and remember that when it all comes down to it, the only person you are cheating is yourself.
With this, like anything in life, it’s as the saying goes – nothing that is worth having comes easy. Reward and acknowledge your progress, forgive your failures, and above all, KEEP GOING!
Think about all those times you thought about getting fit and then decided it was too much effort - imagine where you would be now if you hadn’t given up!
Are you now feeling PUMPED? MOTIVATED?! Well then get out there and GET YOUR SWEAT ON.
How do you keep fit and motivate yourself? Let us know by tweeting us @StudentHutUk and your ideas could be featured in our next fitness article!
And remember to check out or offers page - we've got lots of deals on at the moment like a Half Price Lean Meat Bundle that will help you get where you want to be.