Add fitness to your calendar
We live by our calendars and exercise should be blocked into your busy week.
Consistency matters — and this means putting your clothes out the night before, putting the gym bag in the car, and walking through the gym door.
What’s the best time of the day to work out? Ultimately, it’s whatever is the best time for you given your schedule.
Some believe a morning workout might be better for people who want to “get it out of the way.” Exercise in the morning can boost your mood for the day and improve productivity.
An afternoon or evening workout could also provide you with lots of energy and makes for a great replacement for other after-work activities, like pouring a glass of wine and lying on the couch to binge-watch a show.
If it fits into your calendar, it’s a good time to work out.
Exercise is magical. It can help manage chronic illness, regulate stress levels, and boost your overall mental health. But exercise can be intimidating and walking into a gym even more so.
This is where accountability and support are essential. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to us and book a free trial session — this will help reduce the intimidation factor.
Don’t overdo it
It can feel like a lot of effort to even think about starting again. We know that while a percentage of Canadians maintained their fitness (or improved upon it) during the pandemic, a significant percentage of us lost our habits and our routine.
As you restart, don’t overdo it. While the temptation to “hit the gym hard” will be there to make up for lost time, what you don’t want is to overdo a workout and then suffer the consequences of severe DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) or have such a hard workout that your brain needs convincing to go again.
Whether you are starting for the first time or starting again, think about two fitness sessions per week to begin and then build from there. You also do not have to exercise for hours —often a shorter workout will do the trick.
If you already have a fitness level but haven’t been at the gym in a while, think about working with a qualified exercise professional to coach you on how much, how soon, and how intense your workout should be.
Find your “why”
There are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators for exercise, and you can call on both to get motivated to workout again.
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of exercise weekly at a moderate to vigorous intensity (or 300 minutes at a lower intensity) to prevent and treat chronic illness. Why does this matter? If you have a family history of heart disease or have one of the four major risk factors (which nine out of 10 Canadians shockingly do), the intrinsic motivator — living a longer life — can be enough to jumpstart.
If you suffer from major joint pain from carrying extra weight, or from arthritis, exercise might be the last thing you want to do, and the most essential thing you need to do.
If you suffer from depression, stress, or anxiety, you might find it even harder to exercise. During the pandemic, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, labelled this the “pandemic paradox.” This happens when people know they needed to exercise to improve their mental health, but their mental health prevents them from exercising. It’s a conundrum.
This is where fitness professionals play an essential role: the Fitness Industry has evolved dramatically in the last few years. What might have seemed like an exclusive club of already-fit people working on their abs — the traditional extrinsic motivators for exercise — is a thing of the past.
We heard repeatedly over the last few years from our members how essential exercise and being part of a community was for mental health.
Surround yourself with positive people
You will not find a more positive and inspiring group of people than those in your fitness community: apart from the experts whose job it is to celebrate your efforts, you will find kindred spirits in our clubs and group classes, or even the head nod on the gym floor as you go in for another set!
If your friend group doesn’t involve people who get excited about exercise, you need to find these people on your own (hint: they are at the gym). We are more likely to continue exercising if our spouse, family members, or friends are there with us. We call these “accountability partners” and everybody needs them.
Exercise will always leave you better than you were before, and it starts and ends with a positive mindset. As you continue along your fitness and wellness journey, remind yourself over and over again that you are stronger than you think.
And then become what you believe.