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Nora on our team is a big believer in living your best life and she's created some top tips that are both realistic and easy to follow. If you're struggling for motivation or you're spending too many long hours in the office and you're suffering as a result, then hopefully this will help. Enjoy!
Making positive and voluntary lifestyle changes should be enjoyable and not a chore.
Opening disclaimer, I am no way a personal trainer or in any way qualified to give training advice of any kind, I’m simply here to share a few tips and tricks that have helped me become the best version of myself where fitness and mindset is concerned. Think of it as advice from a friend; a few wee things I do regularly to avoid total burn-out and keep myself positively focused and encouraged, that may come in handy for you too.
A good few years ago now, my bestie Lauren and I decided to join the gym on our annual new year new you mission. Like anything, it was a trial-and-error process. You’ll not love something overnight, nor will you excel at it within an hour. I will admit, I walked into PureGym thinking ‘awk this will be a breeze’ due to my dance background, however it was indeed not a breeze when I couldn’t use a single machine without guidance.
One thing about leading a healthy lifestyle is that the definition of this exact phrase will differ from person to person, as everyone is indeed different. So, if I can start by telling you one thing, do it for you, to feel more energised and to get those endorphins pumping, not because you want to look a particular way. Lifestyle changes should be motivated by enjoyment, love for yourself and your body, not by a hatred of your current appearance and a negative approach to the activity.
It’s not easy balancing adult responsibilities with hobbies, interests, and other activities. Prioritising is so important and learning not to beat yourself up over not fitting everything into a day. If you don’t feel like working out one evening because your day has been exhausting, or you’ve stayed late in the office and feel like a McDonald’s on the way home, this is ok. Your body will not shut down over an extra rest day, and a 6-pack of McNuggets isn’t going to undo the previous week’s work (contrary to popular social media induced belief lol).
Set reasonable goals
Be reasonable. No, you’re not going to be able to train to the same standard as an Olympic athlete within 3 weeks of signing up for a gym membership. You can’t start running on Monday and run 10k in half an hour by the following Saturday. Goals like this are unreasonable, unrealistic, and completely de-motivating when you inevitably cannot achieve what you set out to do. Start small and build yourself up as you improve. A small goal such as ‘move my body at least three times this week’ or ‘make it to at least one gym class’ is much more achievable and therefore won’t leave you feeling deflated for ‘failing’, when in fact you did not fail, you just overestimated yourself.
Back in lockdown 1.0 when the gyms closed and I lost half of my personality on the back of this, I had to figure out what to do with myself to keep my fitness at the standard I had worked tirelessly to achieve in the years prior. Virtual Personal Trainer Maeve Madden was a complete lifesaver (check her out on Instagram @maeve_madden she’s absolutely fabulous). She was livestreaming fitness classes daily on Instagram, which became part of my new stay-at-home routine. Since then, she has built an empire out of a venture she started to keep herself and others moving when Boris told us we could only go to Sainsburys; and so, Queen’s Don’t Quit was born, a dedicated platform for all things fitness. Maeve provided the sense of routine that the gym closures took away when the world shut down. Caring for your body, mind and spirit is your greatest responsibility.
Although the gyms are all back in action again, I have stuck with Maeve’s platform as an easy, hassle-free alternative to the crowds. Whatever your fitness level, Maeve has a workout suited to you, from the comfort of your own home and either live or at a time that suits you via catch-up. She’s good craic too, which makes it even better.
Try new things
If something’s not working, try something else. Genuinely, just because your best pal loves HIIT workouts and you dread them this doesn’t mean you’re the problem. Everyone has different strengths and preferences. Personally, I can’t run the length of myself, I have tried on so many occasions to get into it and it just doesn’t work out the way I hope it will. Even when I was at the peak of my competitive dancing career, with stamina reflective of training 6 days a week, I still could not run. …and guess what, that’s ok. I’ll more than likely keep trying it out every so often to check if I’ve suddenly developed an enjoyment for it, but I’m also totally accepting of the fact there are many fabulous runners who probably don’t enjoy the type of training I would consider to be my favourite.
While we’re on this topic however, if anyone has any tips as to how NOT to get a stitch approx. 3 minutes into a run, genuinely please email me, DM me, share your secrets… thanks in advance from a wannabe track-star.
I tried out a new gym class a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. It wouldn’t have been something I’d have fancied myself enjoying as I usually run a mile when spin bikes are mentioned, but it was great. Truth is, don’t strike something off before you’ve even given it your all – 2022 me officially likes spin bikes and I can’t wait to go back. Throw yourself into something new, whether it be a bit random or out of the norm for you, you might find a new love!
Be kind to yourself
There will definitely be days that moving your body will be the last thing you’ll want to do, but for me personally, I always feel better afterwards. Eat your greens, drink water (lots of it), and exercise. Whether you do an hours’ HIIT session or simply do a few laps of your street with the dog, movement is movement. It’s all good. Listen to your body, all day everyday. Don’t allow your mind to bully your body. One of the best bits of advice I have ever been given is to work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.
Most importantly, no ‘resolution’ is worth missing out on celebrations, trips, adventures, and outfits that you can totally rock no matter what! Remember, you don’t need to change yourself along with the year, just be the best version you can be of the you that already exists.
Your best body is the one guiding you through your happiest days; define your own best and run with it.