Maximise Your Mojo

22nd March 2019

Stuck in a workout rut? Bored and dissatisfied with your exercise routine, or no longer seeing results? Lisa Botwright suggests ways to shake things up and rekindle your love for keeping fit…

Get a workout buddy:

We all make assumptions about the type of exercise we like but if your best friend swears by a gentle yoga session, while you believe it’s not exercise unless your heart’s racing and you’re a hot and sweaty mess – why not swap places? Your muscles will benefit from the extended stretching, and your friend will ramp up her metabolism. You never know, you might both even enjoy something a bit different. Better still, try something that’s new to both of you; it’s much easier to push yourself out of your comfort zone, when you have some moral support. You can use tech to compete with a friend, too, if you sync your fitness watches or download the same apps – there’s nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry to urge you on.

Adjust your goals:

Accept that as life changes, so too will your fitness routine: at every stage there are different challenges to negotiate to ensure exercise remains part of your daily life. Young adults sometimes find the transition to working full time difficult, since they’re used to exercise being a non-negotiable part of their school day. Daily weekday gym visits might be a temporarily unrealistic goal to a new mum; but there’s a whole new world of buggy-fit classes in your local park, or oxytocin-fuelling YouTube videos that will have you and your baby working out together on your living room floor. High impact exercise might be taking its toll on your joints as you enter retirement; but you also have the advantage of having more time to devote to a healthful new hobby.

Exercise smarter, not longer:

A productive workout doesn’t need to mean hours in the gym. Studies show that shorter bouts of exercise at a higher intensity can improve fitness more than working out at a moderate pace for longer periods of time, hence the appeal of high intensity interval training (HIIT). But switching up the type of exercise you do and the amount of time you spend doing it can also improve your fitness. If time is at a premium, try to do some strength training in one session, cardio in another. Adding some dynamic flexibility exercises: squats, lunges, jumping jacks or jogging on the spot – aka ‘movement preparation exercises’ – before each session will get your body warmed up quickly, so that you can (literally) hit the ground running.

Identify your personality type:

Extroverts get their energy from being in the company of other people and are much more likely to thrive on competitive team sports. If this sounds like you, instead of going to the gym, rekindle your love for those activities that used to get your heart pumping at school: netball, hockey and football are all experiencing a rise in adult take-up. Introverts, on the other hand, crave time alone to re-charge their batteries and often see exercise as time out for themselves. Walking, cycling or swimming are all great ways to move purposefully, yet mindfully.

Try a personal trainer:

One-to-one training is not just for the rich and athletic; personal trainers work with all ages and abilities to maximise fitness goals. The concept is a great idea if you want to exercise, but have no idea where to start, since a good trainer will offer gentle motivation and encouragement to get you off to a positive start. Sometimes just a few sessions are all that’s needed to pick the brains of a professional, glean new ideas and boost your confidence.

Don’t attempt to out-train a bad diet:

It’s tempting to reward yourself with a sugary snack if you know you’re exercising later on in the day, but that lunchtime chocolate bar could mean a big mid-afternoon energy slump, which might in turn might lead to a less than satisfactory workout. Eating junk food, not getting enough sleep and generally cutting corners in other areas of your life will undo all the good work you gain with exercise, while a good diet will boost your energy levels and lead to better results. Eat ‘real food’ and aim for a sensible balance of protein, fruit and veg, good fats and complex carbs.

Love what you do:

Life has enough challenges without adding exercise to the list. The only achievable way to keep your exercise mojo going in the long term is to find an activity you get a kick out of that fits in with your life. Moving your body should be a joy, not a chore, and there are so many ways to keep active even if you’re not a traditional gym bunny – like gardening, hiking or simply playing games in the park with your kids. If you loved dancing as a child, point yourself in the direction of an adult barre class or strut your stuff at a jive session; learn aerial trapeze along with some more impressive new party tricks at Circus School or jump your way to fitness at boogie bounce mini trampoline classes. Ramp up the fun factor and you’ll never be bored with exercise again.

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