My workout routines have changed and evolved over a number of years. In no way am I advising what you should be doing in this post, and I am not for a second saying you should follow the same routine I do, I'm only sharing my experiences in the hope that it helps to get your mind thinking about your own routines and how you could change them up if you're a little fed up right now.
Yoga for me has always been a constant over the past decade, with long intense HIIT workouts (ouch!), The 30 Day Shred (What was I thinking?! Although I did scream alot of pent up anger towards the TV during this phase) and gruelling hours spent at the gym to name but a few. I become bored easily with a need for constant mental stimulation - if you add to the mix that I am a very active individual it's no wonder my my fitness journey has taken me all over the place.
I have recently realised that I need to exercise for my mental health, the endorphins released afterwards really do work wonders on my state of mind, lifting my mood and making me believe in myself again. I get a proper "I've so got this whole life thing" feeling after a workout. At the moment I workout three to five times a week depending on my schedule, usually early morning before breakfast. I yoga pretty much every day bar the odd day that it just doesn't happen and I meditate when I don't feel like I managed to get into that juicy, lovely meditative state during my yoga practice. If I miss a day I don't beat myself up about it, I just accept that we can't do everything and try to workout a minimum of three times that week. I've changed my outlook on fitness to a wellness perspective which has hugely helped my motivation to exercise in the mornings. I think knowing that it also improves my productivity levels throughout the day also spurs me on to get moving, however I am sure that the main change is my attitude towards the end goal. I don't workout to look a certain way, I workout because it makes me feel good, I am beginning to love my body right now, for all that it is in all the ways that it works rather than love it once I believe it looks a certain way.
This is the little sum that goes on in my head:
Sleepy/grumpy/lethargic Peta + jumping around like a loon for 15 mins + a yoga stretch for 15 mins = A smiley sunshiney Peta full of energy. Definitely worth getting up 30 mins earlier for!
So, what do I do and how?!
I've been using an app I've only recently discovered for the past two months called 8Fit. Previously I would either go to the gym or do a youtube video. My problem with the gym was the time I'd spend getting there, I'd always get anxious about how long I had to workout, constantly watching the clock and fretting I'd be late for work. I found some fantastic Youtube videos but I don't enjoy working out with a voice telling me what to do and without my own music on in the background. I like knowing beforehand what I'm going to do and when I've got to do it. If I've done the same workout a few times watching the Youtube videos, the little funny comments the trainer says tickle me the first few times but get on my nerves after a while!
8Fit shows you the workout before you do it, showing the exercises you will do, some include small hand weights or cans of food if you don't have weights but the majority of the sets are equipment free. The workouts are nice and short too ranging from about 6 mins to 15 mins with a warm up included if you so choose. (Maybe I should mention that this post is not sponsored by anyone I just really love the app!) It shows you the exercises with instructions, there are little clips that show you what to do and you can swap the particular exercise for another one if you're not feeling it. Then when you click go it tells you what to do, sometimes it'll tell you to do the exercise 6,8 or 10 times or sometimes there will be a little timer that counts you down. NO VOICES and NO MUSIC, so you can stick your own tunes on in the background.
I find having an app that I open when I get up in the mornings, which tells me exactly what I have to do in my workout completely puts an end to my fitness procrastination, I'd become very experienced at fitness procrastination by the way! The app also creates meal plans for you, which I don't follow religiously however it does give me some great food ideas and it's given me an insight into how big my portion sizes should be - particularly with snacks. No Peta a whole bag of dates is not a snack. (Maybe the 2000 calories on the side of the bag could have also told me that but I'm not one for checking calories, eeep!)
When you first sign up for the app you input your goals, you can choose between weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain etc. You also add various information, your weight, it helps you workout your body type and then asks how long you would like to take to achieve your goals. I think I said 6 months or 12 months...I can't remember now! It also asks how often you'd like to workout which is ace, I said 3-5 times a week. As you do the workouts, you review your workout at the end, this is so the app knows if it was too easy to move you up a level, or too difficult to move you down a level. It's a really useful app and I love the ease of using it. I believe 8Fit are still offering a free 30 day trial and then after that it's really rather reasonable. When I signed up it was €47 for the year. That's a smidge more than a months gym membership where I live.
On some of the exercises you have to do 1 minute of cardio between sets, this is when I dance around the flat like a complete crazy cat lady with plenty of kicks and rapid arms circles. It definitely gets me out of breath! I have an illness called Ehlers Danlos Sydrome, in my case this causes my joints to dislocate very easily and I have to becareful not to over do it on high impact sports - when there's an exercise that is far too high impact for me I swap it up for one of the other options the app gives you.
I'm always on the go during the day and often clock up 15,000 - 20,000 steps on an average workday. I know that this isn't the norm for most people and even just challenging yourself to walk 100 steps will add up over time. Start small, I've completely changed my outlook on goals like this.
At the weekends I usually go on coastal walks or hop on my bicycle too, I try to always take the stairs and park out of town and walk 15 minutes to work. I like being able to check how many steps I've done as it's a little personal challenge for me to see how many I can do each day. You can pick up a little step measurey thing really cheaply on Amazon or I'm sure there are apps about that you can download onto your phone. Beware, it really gets rather addictive!!
I am a long time lover of Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. I find her videos really easy to follow and very calming, I think it's her voice. She has three sets of 30 Days Of Yoga challenges which are fabulous for those getting back into Yoga, however if you're a beginner I'd highly recommend attending a few Yoga classes at your local gym to get used to the poses, or have a go at Adriene's Beginner videos. The 30 days of yoga challenges are much easier to follow when you have a little experience in practising yoga as you practice with Adriene following her instructions as you go and it's not always easy to watch the video AND do! I've been practising yoga for a long time so there are times that I know exactly what my body needs and I just roll my mat out, pop some calm music on and get into the yoga flow all on my own. (Who am I kidding?! I never yoga without my yoga buddy Katie Cat, through no choice of my own!)
I find that doing Yoga before a workout really helps to stretch my body out, preparing it for the workout as well as tending to the aches and pains of the previous day's activities. It also really helps my joints as I suffer with joint problems and seems to keep my immune system ticking over nicely. When I'm being mindful of the moves and my breathing throughout a yoga practice I'll fall into a really yummy meditative state. Sometimes there are far too many things rolling around my brain and I'll try to sit still for 10 mins afterwards and meditate if this is the case. I feel better when my mind doesn't feel like a turbulent roaring sea, I guess it makes me feel like I can think a little clearer.
I use various apps for meditation and go with whichever tickles my fancy on that particular morning. I like The Rituals app that has short meditations as well as the Headspace app and the Calm app. I just pop on whichever I fancy. I'm not subscribed to any of the monthly plans on those at the moment and just do one of the free meditations.
My sleep pattern has changed immensely of the past year. I used to sleep around four hours a night and somewhere along the way I changed and started really needing at least eight hours. The difference in my overall health and energy levels is crazy and I'm never as achy as I used to be - I guess this is because my body has much more time to repair itself. Sleep is so very important and should be considered just as important as your workouts. Always remember that.
As Forest Gump would say "that's all I have to say about that..." after I've rambled on for bloody ages! I hope this post was helpful, I'd love to know what you do to keep fit and what your wellness routine looks like. Let me know in the comments below or tweet me on twitter. You can also find me on instagram or why not pop a little internet letter over to firstname.lastname@example.org