Whether it's being able to keep up with your children and grandchildren or just because you want to live and long and healthy life, we all strive to find the 'secret' to staying fit and healthy. Your inspiration might be Elle Macpherson looking and feeling flawless at 53 or a grandparent who is completing Ironman races. Sundried asked our athletes, coaches, and personal trainer ambassadors what their 'secret' to staying fit and healthy is, as these are the people who eat right, train, and get results no matter what and are inspirational to all of us.
James Griffiths, Personal Trainer
"Consistency and never relying on someone else to motivate me to train. It's my responsibility."
Thomas Hill, Personal Trainer
"I focus on the long term. I want to be swinging kettlebells, deadlifting and doing handstands when I'm 90 as well as running rings around my grandchildren!"
Paul Suett, Team GB Triathlete
"Just simply eating well and getting a good nights sleep every night, I make sure I get a minimum 9 hours a night and then I feel recovered to train the next day."
James Eastwood, Ultramarathon Runner
"Foam rolling for me."
Mark Griffin, Triathlon Coach
"Learning to interpret and recognise the individual warning signs your body gives you and reacting accordingly."
John Wood, Team GB Triathlete & Coach
"Doing things that you enjoy. You'll maintain habits far better if you want to do them, or want to eat those things."
Alice Hector, Professional Triathlete
"I've got to have a goal to work towards - my focus and motivation decline rapidly without one!"
Garrett Turbett, Paratriathlete
"Having a goal I truly want to achieve. It needs to seem ridiculous and out of reach, otherwise I just can't get excited!"
Pollyanna Hale, Fit Mum Trainer
"It's a boring answer but it's consistency. Doing the little things, every. single. day. workout. eat veg. eat protein. drink lots. sleep enough. don't eat too much junk, but don't cut it out for ever. rinse and repeat."
Luke Elgar, Triathlete
"Training with people you enjoy spending time with!"
Rowan Mills, Personal Trainer
"Move often and well, 80/20 rule, 45 now and still feeling good."
Jim Doughty is an athlete ambassador for Sundried. He is an Ironman Triathlete as well as an ultra runner, so a marathon is a walk in the park for him! He talks us through his experience at the Edinburgh Marathon, his first marathon run that hasn't been a part of a triathlon race.
"So it's 6am and time to have breakfast before the drive to Edinburgh; I have some porridge and a banana washed down with my favourite coffee. We set off in plenty of time to park and soak up the atmosphere at the start of the race, I take along my pre-race fluids and energy tablets dissolved in ice cold water, which I continually sip while I'm waiting to start. I spend 20 minutes warming up with some stretching, then the loudspeakers start the 10-second countdown, and I'm away.
The route starts in the centre of Edinburgh and works its way around some of the landmarks of the city before heading out towards Musselburgh and past the racecourse.
The sun is shining and the temperature is close to 20 degrees but the miles are passing by as expected and I feel good. I complete the first 10km in around 50 minutes and pass a friend who started 10 minutes before me. We run together for a few minutes chatting before I say my goodbyes and push on along the seafront at the far end of Leith.
I run past the finish line, I won't see it again for another 22km so try not to think too hard about it and get lost in my music. The route is flat and fairly uneventful until you reach the turnaround point where it takes your through a country estate near Prestonpans onto rough ground for a couple of kilometres before rejoining the road back.
At this point you see all the other runners coming towards you as you run the last 12km back to the finish line. I see my friend again and realise I'm about 10km in front of him. I run towards the middle of the road and high-five him which gives me a much-needed boost as I realise I'm running at a fairly consistent pace and I press on.
I drift into a world of my own for a few kilometres and when I come back down to earth I only have 5km to go. I dig deep and increase my tempo, I remove my earphones so I can really enjoy the atmosphere of all the supporters lining the road and shouting my name, I suddenly realise I really am looking forward to seeing my wife daughters at the finish line.
I cross the line in a time of 4:27:02 and am over the moon with my time, my family are waiting and are all smiles, and I missed my goal by 7 minutes but as this was my first standalone marathon it's fine.
I know that next time I will be faster so am looking forward to Wales in July when I complete the Welsh marathon as part of the Long Course Weekend Iron Distance Triathlon.
My friend finished in a time of 6:16:32 and is a seasoned marathon runner; it doesn't get any better than that for me."
Being active doesn't have to be a chore and it doesn't have to mean slogging it out at the gym every night. With the right mindset, clothing, and imagination, being active can happen all day long at any opportunity.
1. Find transitional clothing to be all day active
A pair of jeans or set of high heels will prevent you from being active throughout the day. Finding activewear that is smart and stylish enough to be worn in the office that still functions during your workout can be tough, but Sundried’s Ortler trousers tick all the boxes. Inspired by cycling and working in the city, the Ortler trouser fuses tailoring with function. Smart enough to wear in the office but functional enough to remain all day active. Find clothes that offer a flexible fit to allow exercise to flow seamlessly into your daily routine.
2. Maximise your lunch break
Instead of working through lunch or sitting in the break room, take this opportunity to have a brisk walk. You get a 60-minute break per day, which means you could even squeeze in a 5k run with enough time to change and eat your lunch before returning to work. With the right smart activewear, you won't need to worry about getting sweaty, and if you take your trainers to work with you, it'll be seamless! Sundried's Dom Polo is super smart and wouldn't look out of place in the workplace. The breathable, sweat-wicking materials mean you'll stay cool and comfortable all day, even if you're getting active.
3. Be all day active at home
After a long day at the office, it can be challenging to find the motivation to stay active at home, but it's easier than you think! Make small changes like getting up earlier to squeeze in a quick run or cycle or get up and do quick exercises during the ad break while you're watching TV. If you don't work in an office or you work from home, try incorporating your daily tasks into your workout routine.
4. Be all day active in the office
- Always take the stairs, you know lift phobias exist because people are afraid of being lazy taking the lift right? Seriously.
- Don't phone/email colleagues in the same office, get up and go and speak to them.
- Go for a walk at lunch time, the fresh air will do you good. Ask a colleague to join you and enjoy the break.
- Cancel your sandwich delivery and walk to the local shop instead.
- Always take phone calls standing, it generates more energy in your body and voice, making a more successful call as well as keeping you active.
- Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach oft-used files, the telephone, or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you haven’t been going to the gym as often as you should or you’ve skipped a few runs or bike rides. That’s where we step in. After reading this article, you should be feeling more motivated than ever, and ready to smash your goals with no excuses. Once you learn to enjoy working out, it’ll never feel like a chore again. So, what are you waiting for?
Make sure you’re comfortable in your activewear
This should be the first thing you think about when it comes to motivation. If you know that your gym top will chafe you or your running leggings will keep falling down as you move, it can be hugely off-putting. On the contrary, if you’ve got fresh, comfortable, stylish activewear, you will look forward to putting it on and showing everyone else at the gym what you’re made of.
Stock up on comfortable ultra cool sports tops for the summer and base layers for the winter. Make sure you have running leggings that don’t slip down (or ride up) and have a discreet pocket for your valuables. Fashionable and good-looking gym wear can completely change your mood and having new activewear to look forward to wearing can be the best motivator there is.
Keep it fresh
Change up your routine regularly and don’t let it go stale. This means not only what you do within the session, but what sessions you’re doing and when. Don’t always go for a run on a Monday and do a leg session on a Wednesday, mix it up week by week. If you’re following a specific training plan, then this perhaps doesn’t apply, but if you’re still finding your groove, mixing it up can really help with motivation. It’s also important to make sure your training regime fits in with your daily routine, as there’s nothing worse than having a big gym sessions planned after a long and tiring day at work.
You should definitely change the exercises you’re doing within your training sessions as regularly as possible. However, that said, it can also be motivating to create a specific routine and try to beat your own time each week. This will help to motivate you as you will have a very focused goal and something to work towards.
Workout with a buddy
Sometimes, getting up off the sofa to go for a run on your own can seem a bit boring. By training with a friend you can keep things fresh and have something to look forward to. Not only this, you will be letting them down if you don’t show up!
Working out can be much more enjoyable if you have someone to talk to and to compare notes with. However, don’t let working out with a buddy distract you from your training. Keep your eyes on the prize!
Find a sport you enjoy
If pounding the pavements for mile after mile isn’t your thing, that’s okay. You might find a sport that you absolutely love and when this happens, exercising will never feel like a chore again. If you’re enjoying a sport then that will be your focus, rather than the fact you should be losing weight or seeing results. Lose yourself in a sport like triathlon, CrossFit, tennis, or any number of others and you won’t be watching the clock or checking the scales every day as you’ll have a new focus.
Not only this, a lot of sports are team efforts and so it can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Mingling with like-minded people can really help with motivation and could also help you learn more about the sport so that you can become more interested in it.
Create a killer playlist
One of the best ways to enjoy your workout more is to have a killer playlist to listen to. Spend some time finding new songs which pump you up and motivate you or a single album by an artist you like so that you can spend your entire session listening through it. Having music you know you like to listen to will really motivate you and looking forward to discovering a new album can help you get out the door when you’re not feeling it.
Remember why you’re doing this
This is possibly the most important point on the list. One of the best ways to enjoy working out is to remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Maybe it’s to see results in your appearance or to perform better in a sport or race. There’s nothing more motivating and rewarding than seeing results and realising you can do something now that you couldn’t do before. Once you’re no longer a novice and can competently do the exercises, you will begin to enjoy the process a lot more.
It’s common to find going to the gym a chore. It’s also common to feel like you’re floundering with no real direction and not making any progress. Follow these 5 expert tips so that you can make the most of your gym sessions and waste no more time in achieving your goals.
1. Write your session plan in advance
You'd be surprised at how many people get to the gym without knowing what they’re going to do. In the end, they wander over to a treadmill and do a few minutes of running. Then they lift a few weights and maybe copy a few exercises that other people are doing, have a chat, and then go home. Have you ever done this?
If you’re serious about making progress and want real results, this is not the way to achieve that. In order to really maximise your time at the gym, write out what you’re going to do in advance and make sure it’s a coherent session that will take you in the right direction. You could write your session on a piece of paper, in a small notebook, or write it out on your phone which may be the most convenient.
Make sure the session makes sense with regards to what you’re going to train; don’t wear yourself out doing sprints on the treadmill and then expect to be able to do a good weights session as well. If you're training for a running or cycling event, don't spend lots of time working your upper body.
If you need advice, ask a personal trainer or find a pre-written session plan online. Make sure the session also makes sense in the bigger picture of what else you’re doing that week and how tired you’re likely to be when you get to the gym. If you’re doing an evening session after a busy and stressful day at work, you’re unlikely to hit a new squat or deadlift PB, so save those sessions for the weekend.
2. Time your nutrition
There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym feeling ravenous and not being able to focus on your session, then spending £5 on a sugary shake from the vending machine just so that you can make it through your workout. Plan your nutrition in advance, especially if you intend to come straight from work. If you are going to go to the gym on a work night, try to eat a bigger lunch and then time a snack just before you leave the office so that you get to the gym feeling pumped and ready without being too full.
If you’re training at the weekend, eat a filling and nutritious breakfast but leave yourself enough time before you hit the weights or cardio area. If you drink coffee, time this so that you can reap the benefits before they wear off.
What you eat after you workout is also important. You have a 2-hour window in which it's the optimum time to take on some protein and carbs to refuel you and repair your muscles after a tough workout. Try to eat a healthy, balanced meal as soon as you get home so that you can maximise your results and make the most of the time you've just spent in the gym. If you do not eat at all, a lot of your efforts will be wasted as your body will start to break down the muscle you've just worked so hard to build in order to recover.
3. Talk to a fitness professional
If you really have no idea what you’re doing at the gym, you’re far more likely to quit and never achieve the results you want. It’s natural to find the gym a daunting and scary place and if you don’t have anyone show you how the machines work, it’s perfectly understandable that you’d have no idea where to start!
Most gyms will offer a free induction when you join, but if you’ve missed that opportunity, you will still be able to get one if you ask as there are always fitness instructors on hand to help. Not only this, most personal trainers will offer a free taster session as part of their services, so take advantage of this and ask them all the questions you’ve been wanting to ask. Get them to show you how the machines work as well as how to safely perform free weights exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. With this as a foundation, you will be able to build a great workout routine.
4. Don’t workout with a flaky friend
It can seem tempting to go to the gym with a friend as it’s more social and is less intimidating. However, if you go with a friend who doesn’t share the same goals as you or who just wants to chat, you’ll never get anything done. Additionally, if your friend is at a very different level to you, you might end up spending the whole session explaining things to them and just helping them rather than making progress yourself.
It may seem selfish and unsocial, but hitting the gym alone can potentially be the best way for you to make the most of your time there. That said, if you have a highly motivated friend who can enhance your session, this is of course fantastic and you should make the most of it. It can just be very easy to realise you’ve spent 45 minutes chatting or texting and not doing any exercise! Don’t fall into this common trap.
Not only this, if your friend is flaky and often cancels on you, you’ll be less likely to go yourself. If you were relying on them for a ride they could be letting you down. You are better off relying only on yourself and setting your own goals so that you can be in charge of hitting them.
5. Make your workout fun
Doing the same boring routine week in week out is a recipe for disaster and you are far more likely to stop going to the gym after a short time. Once you know how to write a killer workout routine, make sure you mix it up frequently and keep it interesting so that your motivation stays high. Having a fun workout to look forward to is a great way to stay motivated and you'll end up working harder because you're enjoying yourself.