The energy and excitement of making new year's resolutions and getting fit is well and truly burnt out and the gym is starting to empty out again. How can you stay motivated when all you want to do is melt into the sofa and eat? We're here to help. Follow these tips to boost your motivation when it feels like there's no hope.
1. Partner up
If you have someone to let down, you'll be less likely to flake. Having accountability means you have more of a reason to get to the gym and it will be more hassle to have to text your friend or personal trainer to say you're not going and then get an earful from then than to just go. Plus, you'll know that once you're there you'll have a great time because training with a buddy makes training more bearable.
2. Get changed
How many times have you been sat on the sofa watching TV after work telling yourself "I'll go in a minute" or "I'll go when this show is finished" and then it never happens? By getting changed into your activewear you're getting the ball rolling and getting into the right frame of mind to work out. Once you're changed into your sportswear you're already halfway there and will be much more ready to get out there and go train.
3. Take your gym gear to work
If you go to the gym straight from work, you won't have a chance to talk yourself out of it. If you pair this with point number 1 of partnering up and telling your friend you'll join them at the gym, you'll be well on your way to success. Get changed at work and go straight to the gym instead of going home first. It's much harder to gee yourself back up once you're home from work than if you continue the momentum from your day at the office.
4. Have a workout to look forward to
There's nothing worse than finishing a monotonous day at work and thinking about now having to go and run on a treadmill for half an hour while staring at a wall. By planning out a fun and exciting workout, you'll actually want to go to the gym and do it. Try circuit training or functional training to mix things up and talk to a personal trainer if you'd like to try something new like Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit. If you're dreading the workout, getting motivated can be impossible. Whereas if you're actually looking forward to it, exercising can be a joy instead of a chore. If you enjoy something like Zumba, sign up for a class! Group exercise can be a great way to stay motivated too.
5. Use the 10 second rule
If you find yourself making terrible excuses like "it's raining" or "I'm too tired" then use the 10 second rule. It's very simple: count to 10 and then go anyway! This will eliminate your mind telling you that you can't do it and 9 times out of 10 you'll find that you actually enjoy the workout and will be pleased that you went.
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Taking the plunge and signing up for your first marathon is a huge step. The build up can be a rollercoaster of emotion, pain, and endless training runs. Follow these tips to make sure you succeed at your first marathon and create memories to last a lifetime.
My First Marathon
1. Research the course before you go
One of the most mentally challenging things in running can be having to tackle a tough course that you're not ready for. Most big city marathons will be largely flat, but check out the course profile online before you go so that there are no inclines that will take you by surprise and drain you mentally as well as physically.
2. Read reviews and race reports from people who have run it before
Every marathon is different, and some will have little quirks that you might not have prepared for. Read up on reports by people who have run your particular marathon before so that you can be mentally ready for a course that might be overcrowded or not have the aid stations you're expecting.
3. Fuel and hydrate properly
This is most people's downfall and can be the difference between crossing the line in victory and ending up in a heap on the floor at mile 20! Create a fuel and hydration strategy well before the race and stick to it throughout your training. Choose whether you're going to use gels, bars, fruit, sugar, or sports drinks to fuel you and bear in mind the aid stations on route may well not have what you're used to.
4. Plan your outfit carefully
One of the worst feelings in the world is chafing badly during a long run. Plan exactly what you're going to wear and train in it well before the race. Which trainers will you wear? Do they give you blisters? Will your sports bra chafe? Will your shorts ride up? Think about every possibility to make sure you are as comfortable as possible so that you can just focus on your running and nothing else.
5. Don't overtrain
One of the biggest challenges in marathon training is getting to the start line uninjured. Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week and as soon as you start to feel a niggle, ease off. It is far better to miss one or two training runs than pushing through the pain, getting injured, and having to miss two or even three weeks of training.
6. Don't compare yourself to others
Everyone is different with different goals and different abilities. Don't compare yourself to someone who has run many marathons before and has a goal of finishing over an hour quicker than you. It will just make you feel less confident in your own abilities and could lead to overtraining. Set your own goals and stick to your own game plan. Just because someone is running 70 miles a week doesn't mean that is right for you.
7. Check the weather
The last thing you want is to get to the start line feeling great, uninjured, and then suffer from heat exhaustion. A lot of major European marathons are held in April which can be a very changeable month. One year it may be 25 degrees Celsius but on your race day it might only be 8 degrees and raining. Make sure you prepare for any eventuality and that you plan your outfit accordingly. Check the weather the week leading up to the event so that you can be as prepared as possible.
8. Don't try anything new on race day
This is a piece of advice you'll hear a lot, but it's not overrated, definitely heed it! This means no new foods, no new drinks, and no new outfits. You never know how your body might react to a new food or drink and you don't want to be rushing to the portaloo every mile of the run. The same goes with new clothes, as you won't know if they chafe or not. Your comfort is paramount so only go with tried and tested things that you've used in training.
9. Co-ordinate with family and friends
If you're struggling, seeing family and friends cheering you on can be a huge morale boost. Make sure you co-ordinate with them before the race so that they know exactly where to stand and you know where to expect them. The big marathons can get exceptionally crowded and thinking that you've missed each other can be a huge distraction to your running.
10. Enjoy yourself!
This is last but by no means least. You signed up for this race for yourself and no one is going to run it for you. No matter what your motives for doing it, you need to remember to enjoy yourself! Unless you are a professional athlete, you don't need to take it too seriously, so don't let setbacks kill your vibe and try your best to go with the flow. A marathon is a huge event and you can't predict everything that's going to happen. Try to have fun and at the end make sure you know just how proud of yourself you should be!
We often read about living a healthy lifestyle and there are countless 'lifestyle bloggers' making a fortune from advocating this way of life. But what actually is a healthy lifestyle? And how can you live a healthy lifestyle?
Why is having a healthy lifestyle important?
A healthy lifestyle is all about the choices you make regarding your daily habits. Do you slump on the sofa and eat an entire packet of biscuits when you get home from work or do you go for a run and eat a healthy dinner? These daily choices determine whether you're healthy or not, and can affect nearly every aspect of your life. Not only will you feel better mentally, living a healthy lifestyle will lower your risk of developing chronic illnesses and diseases meaning you are physically healthier too.
The benefits of living a healthy lifestyle
- Reduced risk of developing chronic illnesses and diseases
- Improved mood and brain function
- Improved work performance and concentration
- Better self-confidence and happiness
- Improved appearance due to better quality skin and hair
- Improved relationships
- Reduced frequency of minor illnesses such as common cold
- Improved immune system
How can I change to a healthy lifestyle?
Probably the most obvious thing to address when changing to a healthy lifestyle is improving your diet. For a lot of people, the first thought is to make a complete overhaul and take extreme measures such as doing a detox or following an extreme diet. However, this is not a viable or sustainable way of changing to a healthy lifestyle. Consistency is key, so you need to make your changes for life and make sure you get into daily healthy habits that you can stick with long term. Take control of your diet by learning about macronutrients and how counting them can help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Eating a snack or a treat every now and then is also part of living a healthy lifestyle, as a restricted diet is not healthy and not sustainable. Balance is important, so make sure you don't remove entire food groups from your diet.
One way to improve your diet is by going vegan. This can be fairly extreme, so make sure you do your research first, and it certainly isn't suitable for everyone. Find a healthy diet that works best for you and your unique needs and you'll be well on your way to having a healthy lifestyle.
- Eat plenty of protein
- Limit unhealthy foods but still allow a treat from time to time
- Limit processed foods
- Cook from scratch wherever possible
- Do not take extreme measures to lose weight
When changing to a healthier diet, many people tend to neglect what they drink and focus only on what they eat. You could be drinking lots of sugar in your drinks if you enjoy branded soft drinks, and there are even worse health effects associated with drinking large volumes of alcohol. If your lifestyle currently consists of going out drinking with friends every weekend, or drinking regularly as part of your daily routine, this is not healthy. In order to change to a healthy lifestyle, you will need to reduce or even eliminate altogether the amount of alcohol you drink. There are many benefits of giving up alcohol or even just drinking less, such as better skin, reduced risk of cancer, and improved mood. Not to mention no more hangovers!
- Limit sugar drinks
- Limit energy drinks
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
- Drink more water
Third in the pecking order of living a healthy lifestyle after diet and drinks is sleep. If you have poor quality sleep or do not get enough each night, your health will deteriorate quickly and you will have a poor quality of life. The average healthy adult should aim for an absolute minimum of 6 hours each night, but 8-10 hours is optimum for healthy brain function and performance.
Not only is it important for your daily functions, sleep is important for recovery too. If you do a great workout at the gym or go for a long run or cycle, having a good night's sleep is vital for recovery so that your muscles can grow and your tissue and immune system can stay healthy.
Not getting enough sleep is not the only unhealthy habit you may have; the quality of your sleep is important too. If you sleep with a television or music on, this is not conducive to a good night's sleep and it will mean your hormones are negatively affected. If you are continuously awoken throughout the night by loud noises, a baby crying, or a snoring partner, you will definitely suffer from bad moods and lack of concentration the next day. You can track your sleep using a fitness tracker or wearable to analyse the quality of your sleep and see if you are constantly being disturbed throughout the night. Getting a good 10 hours of high quality sleep every night is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, you cannot 'catch up on sleep' at the weekend - you have to be consistent!
- Try to get 8-10 hours sleep every night
- Don't try to catch up on sleep at the weekend
- Get into a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time 7 days a week
- Eliminate disruptions to your sleep by not sleeping with television or music on
We spend a lot of our time at work, so your healthy lifestyle needs to translate into the office as well as at home. If you can, try to work out while at work, as working out at work can help prevent health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If you sit at a desk all day, try to get up and walk around every hour and if you have a manual job where you are on your feet all day, make sure you take rests.
There is lots of advice out there on how to workout at work and it is easier than you think. By following healthy work habits, you will greatly improve your chances of benefiting from a healthy lifestyle.Try to avoid snacking and avoid the temptation of all the unhealthy food in your workplace! Bring a homemade lunch with you each day so that you can control your portions and know exactly what you're eating.
- Get up and stay active while at work
- Avoid temptation by bringing your own food to work
External factors (family, friends, stress)
After all is said and done, there will always be external factors that you cannot control and which can undo all your hard work. If your home life is hectic and stressful, there is not much chance that you will be able to live a fully healthy lifestyle. Try to address the things that are causing you to have bad habits, such as grabbing a ready meal because you don't have time to make a healthy dinner or not getting enough sleep because of stress.
There are ways to manage depression which don't involve going to see a therapist, such as meditating, doing vigorous exercise, and finding a new hobby. All of these are very important for living a healthy lifestyle, and can make a huge difference to your well being. You can manage stress with exercise by going for a long run to clear your head or taking your frustrations out at the gym.
Having little ones at home can leave you feeling like you don't have a spare second in the day. Between rushing to and from school and picking the little ones up from activities and trying to squeeze in daily errands too, it's no wonder that the average mother only gets 17 minutes of 'me time' each day. So how can you fit in exercise when you have no time? We give you all the tips you need along with with a working mom workout routine for you to try.
How can I find time to workout with kids?
Finding time to exercise as a working parent can feel almost impossible, but it doesn't have to be! Try some of our ideas and see if you can fit exercise into your busy day.
1. Get a training buddy
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to partner up. Whether it's a work colleague, your husband/wife, a friend, or a family member, working out together can make things more fun and interesting. Not only this, but if you have someone to be accountable to and someone who you will let down if you skip your session, you'll be more motivated to get that training session done!
2. Utilise playtime
When it's your child's playtime, get involved and burn some calories! If you have an energetic toddler, run around with them by playing adrenaline-fuelled games that involve running or chasing. If your children are a little older, find games where you can both get active, especially in the garden if it's summer time as there are lots of benefits to training outdoors.
3. Try dancing
Dancing is something that burns a lot of calories, will get you up and active, and can be very fun! If your children are very energetic, put on some music and dance away. This will not only help them burn off that extra energy and get you moving, it can be a great bonding experience.
4. Swap your car for walking or cycling
By combining your errands with exercise, you can make the time to get active without compromising any of your daily activities. Try walking or cycling to the shops instead of driving, or walking your children to school. It may be easier than you think to get around without your car!
5. Exercise before you start your day
By getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual, you could fit in an entire workout and start your day right. There are lots of workouts you can do in under 30 minutes, like this 5-minute punchbag workout, 10-minute tabata workout, or this 20-minute home workout. Even a short workout is better than no workout at all, and it'll energise you for a productive day. If you don't want to get up earlier than you already do, try this lunchtime HIIT workout instead.
How can a stay at home mum lose weight?
There are lots of tips and tricks to losing weight if you are a stay-at-home parent. Follow these dos and don'ts to make sure you're staying healthy while at home with the little ones.
1. Don't eat anything you wouldn't feed to your kids
There are lots of things you wouldn't feed to your children because the salt or sugar content it too high, so why feed them to yourself? A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you wouldn't give it to your child because of the ingredients, you should avoid it yourself too. Stick to whole foods and try to avoid anything overly processed or pre-packaged.
2. Don't snack mindlessly
If you find yourself in a rare moment of calm when your child is playing happily alone or watching a television show, it can be tempting to mindlessly eat food that you don't really need. Avoid temptation by not having snacks in the house, and stick to eating at set times.
3. Do make mealtime an occasion
If mealtime is an occasion to look froward to when you eat together with your kids, you'll be less likely to have an unstructured day. Try to have at least one meal a day together as a family where you sit at a table and focus on what you're eating, rather than grabbing whatever is nearby because you're so rushed off your feet. This might mean deliberately making time for it in your day, but it will be worth it ultimately.
4. Don't eat through stress
Being at home on your own with the kids all day can get pretty stressful. If tempers raise and tantrums ensue, make sure you're not reaching for food as comfort. Comfort eating is something that many of us do without realising and can be an almost impossible habit to break. As above, not having any temptation in the house will help with this and always count slowly to 10 before you eat a snack so that you're not eating it out of a stressed panic.
5. Do make food fun and creative by getting the children involved
Getting your kids to help in the kitchen is a fantastic way to bond and to help them develop vital skills for later in life. Let them get creative by coming up with new recipes and help them with the cooking. If you really want sweet treats, bake cookies or cupcakes together so that you really feel you've earned them and can have fun in the process.
Working mom workout routine
If you have kids at home or are pregnant, try this working mom home workout routine by Sundried ambassador Carly Newson.
If you work in The City and you have a 60-minute lunch break, you can squeeze in a 30-minute run and still have time to eat lunch if you are efficient in your planning and schedule. It may mean you end up running on cobbles or in your work carpark, but using your environment can add new challenges to your running. If you can sign up a colleague to join you then it may double your chances of ‘getting out there’. The chances are you are not alone in wanting to break up the daily grind with a bit of physical activity. You will end up feeling energised and ready to take on the afternoon’s activities.
The benefits of group running are massive. Having a running partner gives you automatic accountability. If you know a friend is waiting for you in the morning, you are much more likely to get up and go, rather than stay in your warm bed. It doesn't stop there either. A partner can stop you from losing pace or shortening your workout.
Peer pressure is usually something we are taught to avoid. Yet in this sort of situation, positive peer pressure can have additional benefits. When you run with others you put more effort in, meaning you push yourself a little harder. You hit a new pace in a group without even realising it. Running in pairs or a group can also give you access to different techniques through sharing knowledge.
Most runners begin as solo runners because the fear of running with other people can be overwhelming. They may feel intimidated by the ability of the group versus their own. If you are thinking about it, start small. Pair up with a friend who is also just starting out (or at the same level) to start with. Talk to each other about what you want and what your comfortable pace is. If they run at a different speed to you, work out something that works for you both.
It is all about striking a balance. There are advantages to running alone, and the same is to be said for group running. And in reality, it makes sense to do both. If you are slower, partnering with some one who is faster will help you increase your pace. Just as a group runner, can break away from a group to achieve their own goals.
Joining a group isn't something to fear, but something to aspire too. You will make new friends, increase your speed and improve your technique.