If you're new to exercise, the fitness industry can seem daunting and impossibly complicated. Follow our 5 top tips so that you can wade through the misinformation and start getting fit the right way.
1. Consistency is more important than intensity
One of the most common trends for exercise beginners is to go in all guns blazing and then burn out because it's not sustainable. If you've never exercised before or you're coming back from a pregnancy or injury, you need to take it easy. Exercising as a complete beginner can be a big undertaking and you need to have a plan of action as well as realistic goals.
Focus on keeping up the exercise consistently in a way that you can maintain for the long term. The secret to a lot of fitness professionals is that fitness is their way of life, so try to incorporate your exercise into your daily life. Walk to work or cycle to the shops and make sure you enjoy your workouts so that they aren't a chore. A small, short workout is better than no workout at all.
Read more: How To Set Fitness Goals
2. Talk to a fitness professional
When starting from scratch, it can be easy to make mistakes and believe fitness myths that could send you in the wrong direction. Before you embark on a new exercise regime, talk to a personal trainer or fitness instructor so that you can get some advice to get your started. A lot of personal trainers will offer a free taster session so make the most of this, especially as they may do a fitness assessment for you so that you can see where your starting point is relating to your fitness levels.
Additionally, most gyms will have personal trainers and fitness instructors wandering around the gym, so feel free to ask them for help if you're struggling with an exercise, they'll be more than happy to help you. If you're opting for a group fitness class, talk to the instructor either before or after the class so that they can give you advice and get you started.
3. Don't copy what other people are doing
This is a common mistake to make: you see someone doing something, it looks interesting, so you copy it. However, a lot of the time you will find that they are not doing it correctly or they are performing the exercise with bad form and therefore by copying them, you are picking up bad habits early on.
If you're going to copy someone, copy the exercises and movements that a personal trainer is doing with their client. People do all sorts of crazy and unusual exercises at the gym, some that they've just made up or some that they saw online. Not only this, they might be training for a specific sport or goal that is different from yours, and they may well have completely different experience to you. Avoid copying others and you'll avoid getting injured and picking up bad habits.
Don't copy crazy exercises like this just because you see someone else doing them!
4. Invest in your fitness clothing
If you're going to make fitness a part of your life and you want to get fit for good, it's definitely worth investing in good gym clothing and fitness wear. Seek out brands which are designed by and endorsed by athletes as this activewear will be intelligently designed with the wearer in mind so you know that the running leggings won't fall down as you run and the gym tops won't chafe or rub as you move.
Trying to train in old cotton sweatshirts and worn out trainers may be fine to start, but you will soon find that you are uncomfortable and unable to reach your full potential at the gym. Invest in good quality gym wear and you'll be more motivated to train hard and consistently.
5. Don't give up
Research shows that 43% of people expect to give up their New Year's resolutions by February. Fitness and exercise are easy things to give up on when they get hard and then you're back to square one. No matter what, you need to be dedicated. Follow the above 4 tips to set you up for success so that you're less likely to want to give up, and make sure you don't quit when it gets tough as that is when you will start to see results!
One thing that all triathletes can agree upon is that winter training is the worst. Frozen fingers, numb toes, and the dreaded 'winter miles' come around every year but somehow it never gets easier. That's why here at Sundried we've come up with 10 ways to make winter training more bearable. So button up and don't lose hope just yet.
1. Invest in a great pair of gloves.
One of the worst parts of cycling outdoors in winter is frozen fingers. Cycling doesn't raise the core temperature in the same way running does and it's the extremities which suffer! Make sure you have a great pair of winter gloves at your disposal to combat against the pain of numb fingers. The Sundried winter gloves are made from 90% bamboo and are naturally great at insulating your hands without making your palms sweaty. They also feature silicon grippers to the palms so that you won't slip on wet handlebars. If cold weather gloves still aren't enough, try a pair of more heavy duty ski gloves.
2. Find an indoor set up that works for you.
Don't feel like you have to do all of your winter miles outdoors and suffer through the cold. A lot of Sundried ambassadors train indoors in the winter and this is a very common thing for a lot of triathletes. You have lots of options when it comes to training indoors, from using a spin bike at your gym to investing in a Wattbike or a Turbo Trainer. Find what works best for you and the set up you like best. Sundried ambassador and Team GB Triathlete Paul Suett has his turbo trainer set up in his garage, while fellow Team GB Triathlete Laura Rose Smith has hers in the house. So long as you make it work for you and you're comfortable, that's all that matters.
Use the tactic of layering up and utilise it to your advantage. Packable outerwear like the Sundried water-resistant jacket is perfect for outdoor winter miles because you can wear it to protect your from the elements, and then take it off and pack it away easily if you get too warm. The Sundried Grand Casse outdoor jacket packs away into its own little bag which you can clip onto you or your bike when you don't need it and whip it back out if it starts raining or even snowing. Wearing lots of layers means you can adjust your warmth and coverage throughout your ride.
4. Do a thorough warm-up.
If you start your ride cold, chances are you won't really warm up at all. Sometimes in summer we can be hot and sweaty before we even start a training session and it's easy to cut the warm up short. In winter, make sure you do a very thorough warm up so that your blood is pumping and your heart rate and core temperature are high before you even start. This will give you and your body a better chance out against the elements.
5. Make the miles count.
Don't head out and do 'junk' miles just because you think you have to. Make each mile count, and if you don't think the session will benefit you because you have a cold or the weather is particularly bad, decide whether it's actually better to skip that session all together or perhaps do a different type of training instead.
6. Don't go it alone.
Being motivated to train alone can be hard at the best of times, but particularly difficult in winter. If you don't usually ride with friends or a club, see if you can find one to join, if only for a few months. Most towns have a local cycling club who will be willing to welcome you warmly to the team. Cycling together will help to while away the hours out on the road and it'll mean you'll have team mates to help you if you experience any problems out there. Even a friend or family member to cycle with could make all the difference.
7. Don't be too hard on yourself.
Winter is a difficult time of year for everyone, from the short days and cold weather to the seasonal depression and winter illnesses, it affects us all. You'll never do your best training in winter and it will be really tough to stay motivated, so remember why you first started doing this and try to enjoy yourself as much as possible! Hopefully your motivation will thaw out in the spring.
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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It seems a little insane how much the correct pair of shoes can change your workout, but if anyone has taught us that a pair of shoes can flip your entire situation over completely it’s Cinderella.
According to a study from the American College of Sports Medicine, 85% of individuals are using the incorrect shoes when they go out on a run. For the easiest way to avoid injuries and help boost your workouts, why not try getting professionally fitted for your shoes?
(Make sure you read to the end for a special gym and running shoes discount!)
The Importance of Wearing Proper Shoes
Let’s start off with something a little simpler, walking shoes compared with running shoes. It turns out that by wearing the incorrect shoes for your run, you could end up with extremely serious injuries.
The reason behind this is that when you walk, the weight is far better spread out on your feet than when you run. This is because your weight is more concentrated on your heels and they need to be able to absorb two to three times of your total body weight.
Walking shoes are designed to be more flexible, allowing for greater comfort during your evening walkabouts. However, running shoes are a lot sturdier and are designed to take much more pressure, thereby aiding in the protection against knee injuries.
These include knee dislocations, which I have experienced, or ankle tears, tears in your muscles or tendons, and even injuries to the bones themselves.
Which Shoes Should You Use and When?
With so many benefits to choosing the correct shoe, you may be wondering if you need a specific shoe for your CrossFit workouts as well. The answer to that is yes, you do.
When engaging in complex moves that require a lot of balance, CrossFit-specific shoes will aid in helping you to maintain your form. They will also help ensure that you have a higher level of protection when performing the workout and thereby reduce the risk of injury.
They provide the necessary support to your body, particularly to your joints such as your knees and ankles during your workouts, which is essential when ensuring the longevity of your health and safety against injury.
They are built to endure many, many CrossFit workouts whereas your average walking or running shoe may give out underneath the pressure and they are therefore a better investment of your time and money.
Added Benefits of Wearing Proper Shoes
A further benefit of wearing the correct shoes for the correct activity is that you will then be guaranteed to utilise your energy potential better thereby having more effective, efficient, and longer workouts with greater performance.
You can do that by wearing CrossFit shoes for CrossFit or running shoes for running workouts. A further benefit to wearing CrossFit shoes for working out or weightlifting is that they are more beneficial to supporting you than walking or running shoes.
Now you may be wondering what the main benefits of running shoes are, especially stacked against the comparative advantages of CrossFit shoes. Running shoes, especially those with soft mid soles, have an extra ability to protect you against the varied surfaces which you run upon.
The softer the midsole of your shoe is, the better cushioning you will have against the varied surfaces you are exposed to. However, the softest ones wear out within a few months.
Foot Injuries From Wearing Improper Shoes
If you are worried about knee injuries, having a proper running shoe is essential as overpronation or the act of turning your foot inside as you run increases the likelihood of your knee dislocation. Other problems linked to turning in of your foot are shin splints, foot ailments such as bunions, and plantar fasciitis.
The other problem with foot placement, is when you push your foot too far outward as you run, known as supination this accentuates stress upon on your joints, muscles and tendons.
Furthermore, running with this form increases the likelihood of knee injury. Apart from that, running with the correct running shoes will also provide greater grip against a variety of surfaces and aid with protection against the various elements.
What About Fashion?
Finally, you may find yourself wondering about something that only really runs across your mind once you enter the fitness apparel store or surf for options online - shoe style.
Well, you will be more than happy to know that both running shoes and CrossFit shoes are made for the style conscious gym-goers in mind. They usually need something that is both functional and gorgeous enough to motivate them to want to get into the gym.
If you’re wondering what the best rated CrossFit shoes are, here are some of the best. Nike Romaleo 3 and New Balance Men MX409V3 Cross Trainers are great options if you are hoping to get the most investment per dollar spent. If, however, you are hoping to make a long term investment and are looking to spend a little more, then there is the Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0 or the 7.0.
Moving on here are some great running shoes for your consideration, one on the lower end of the price spectrum is the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3, or the Hoka One One Challenger ATR3 and for the fashionable out there how about the Brooks Ravenna 8 or perhaps Reebok OSR Harmony Road.
Barefoot running and training is a growing trend as it promises to prevent injury and strengthen muscles that are usually neglected. By training in barefoot shoes, your feet are closer to the ground and therefore you gain a slight power advantage in your lifts.
Barefoot shoes can be great for CrossFit as they provide a stable base and you will be able to feel the floor beneath your feet which is great for stability in heavy lifts. Not only this, they're very versatile so you can then do rope climbs in your barefoot shoes, transition to a quick run, and then transition to skipping or jumping.
Enjoy an exclusive discount on Sundried's men's and women's barefoot shoes using code KICKS for a huge 50% off and take your CrossFit training to the next level.
Now, For the Workout
You may be wondering which type of workout is best for you, what type of physical exercise will motivate you and engage you, what activity best suits your unique preferences and personality, well there is a test for that.
You do not have to limit yourself to one type of activity or simply the sports or methods of training that everyone around you is doing. As an individual, you can benefit from trying something different.
Who knows CrossFit might just be the best thing ever for you? Therefore, when planning on beginning an undertaking such as CrossFit, make sure to invest in the correct tools and clothing for that particular fitness niche to protect yourself during the activity and to have the most effective workout with the greatest amount of energy conservation as possible. Therefore, I humbly decree it is time to go shoe shopping! I know I can’t wait.
About the author: Sarah writes for Kicks Choice. She is passionate about workout activities and she puts great importance on maintaining leg and foot health as well.
Research shows that almost half of us will have given up on our New Year's fitness goals before we've even reached February. We've come up with 10 ways you can make sure you don't give up on your goal.
1. Strength in numbers
Setting up a training plan with a partner increases your chance of achieving your goal and makes your journey more fun along the way. Organising gym sessions and fitness dates together mean you’re less likely to quit as you have the extra motivation of not letting the other person down. With twice the motivation you’re twice as likely to succeed.
2. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and have a Time frame. Saying that you want to 'tone up' or 'lose weight' won't get you anywhere as it's not measurable and you won't know when you've reached your goal! A better goal would be 'run a 5k in under 30 minutes by the summer' for example.
3. Understand the stages of change
The stages of change are a way in which we can monitor whether or not we are actually ready to achieve our goal. Before any major life change, we tend to go through 5 phases of thought, which ultimately lead to our end goal:
Pre-contemplation: At this stage, we’re unaware of any change we need to make and the thought has not even crossed our minds. At this stage of change, a result is very unlikely.
Contemplation: This is the stage where the idea is made. You’ve not committed yourself, you’re simply considering what effort it would take to make the specific change and whether this is something you are prepared to do.
Preparation: This is the stage where you’ve decided that you will change a habit, starting next month. So if you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions now, this is probably you.
Action: This is the good part, here you are consciously making the effort to change your lifestyle and achieve your goal.
Maintenance: Perhaps the hardest stage of all, this is where you may have achieved your goal, but you need to work at it to ensure you don’t revert back to how you were before. Mentally and physically, it is the hardest stage to be at, as we like to see noticeable results.
4. Break it down
With fitness goals, the easiest way to make sure you achieve your goal is to break one main goal into smaller, easier targets. For example, a SMART goal of 'deadlift 100kg by March' may mean aiming to increase your deadlift by 2.5kg per week. This makes the goal easier to digest on a day to day basis.
5. Stay Motivated
Staying motivated is one of the toughest parts of achieving a goal. Make sure you are realistic and give yourself a break. Fitness goals should be a lifestyle change, not a short-term fix.
6. How ready are you?
Make sure you are ready to commit the time and effort to the goal before you set yourself up for a fail. If, upon reflection, you haven’t got the time for your initial goal, why not downsize it to something more manageable? Achieving one smaller goal is motivating and will encourage you to go to the next. Failing is never motivating and will almost always leave you wanting to give up. Don’t let that happen by making your goal something you know you're ready to commit to.
7. Hold yourself accountable
Keeping a food and exercise log will help you see clearly whether you're on the right track and makes it difficult to cheat yourself. You don’t have to show anyone else, you just need to be truthful with yourself.
8. Share your goal
With social media, sharing your goal is as simple and as easy as a few clicks and once you’ve announced your goal to the world, you’re far less likely to go back on it! From progress pictures to Facebook groups, social media can be a great tool in achieving your New Year’s resolutions. According to a study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine, strong social circles can be very effective in combating obesity and helping individuals succeed. When dieters participating in a weight loss study shared their plans and progress with others on social media, they lost more weight than those who kept their goals to themselves.
9. Track progress
The easiest way to track your progress for a fitness goal is to buy a fitness tracker. All-day activity trackers track heart rate, steps, and sleep as well as your workouts, making it easy for you to track data and see where you need to improve. Always keep a record of your starting point, be it a weight lifting PB, a run time, or a starting weight. Even if you are not happy with where it starts, you need to be able to see if you are progressing or not and so you’ll need a starting point.
10. Ask for helpWhen you struggling or you’ve fallen off the bandwagon, don’t give up, just ask for help! Use advice from professionals, perhaps even hire a Personal Trainer, but whatever you do, don’t feel alone, there will always be someone that can help.