Take control of your health without the sweat

Fit School, Epping, Pilates, Fitness, Running, Ante Natal, Post Natal, Pregnancy, Buggy Fit

At this time of year, Facebook posts from people sharing their new year’s fitness resolutions range from:

This is me: Day 3 of C25K. I’ve never run before. I’m so sweaty. I’m going full Keto too. Check out my amazing high protein seaweed balls. #winning.


Any recommendations for a budget personal trainer who can come to my house at 5am on Thursdays. 

And of course. 

I need to lose 20 pounds by April for my wedding. Is this realistic?

On the telly box you’ve got everything from ‘Feel Fabulous at 50’ to ‘How to Detox’ to ‘How embracing my curves and eating all the chocolate helped me to lose 30 kilos’ and my absolute favourite ‘How I love my body more now that I’m slightly overweight [even though I got famous because I was lean].’

Love the January health excitement or not, it’s out there, and harder to avoid than a bottle of wine at 10 Downing Street during lockdown (sorry).

How to get started

Perhaps you’re used to being active or, you’ve had a system of working out that’s worked for you in the past but you’ve been ill. Maybe you’ve been poorly with Covid, caring for a family member or getting back to work after maternity leave. Suddenly your systems have gone and you’re not sure where to start with getting back to it.

How not to start

Without doubt, over 30 years in fitness (between us) have taught us that success lies in the small changes you might think are inconsequential.

Success does not lie in extreme change. 

Extreme change just makes for better telly or headlines (believe me – I know – I’ve spent time on broadsheet and tabloid health desks)!

If you’re into extreme fitness, great! Crossfit challenges and home workout systems that work for you do exactly that, they work for you. They won’t work for everyone and they aren’t a target for fitness or the gold standard. Eating disorders, exercise addiction and pushing through injuries are real in people who ‘look fit’. I’m not saying every fit person has issues but comparing yourself to someone else, when you don’t know the full picture, is not a healthy place to start and definitely not a goal.

If I look at the real success stories at Fit School, those people who have transformed their lives, the common actions or habits are:

  • Planning workouts and classes around bumpy schedules;
  • Persistence – even if it’s just a maintenance programme – when they’re going through tough times;
  • Taking on just one new thing at a time.
  • Asking for and accepting help and taking it on board.
  • Accepting responsibility.
  • A readiness to take control of their health.

Eventually exercise and movement becomes less about the thing you were trying to fix and more of a thing you need for your wellbeing – mental or physical.

I recently listened to a fantastic Brene Brown talk on trust. In it, she explained how trust is built up through small acts: Remembering a difficult anniversary for a friend, showing up when you say you will, not partaking in gossip about others. It’s not just about keeping secrets! 

I mention this because it’s not the big, obvious thing that’s most important. It’s little things, or marble jar fillers as she calls it, that accumulate to build trust. 

The same is true for fitness. The obvious thing to do might be, ‘join a gym’ or ‘do more exercise’ but it’s actually the little things that make the biggest difference:

  • Squeezing in a 10 minute walk on a day crammed full of meetings.
  • Agreeing with your partner a time when you’ll get out to take a class.
  • Setting your schedule at the start of the week.
  • Acknowledging your small wins.
  • Accepting when you’re making excuses to yourself.
  • Knowing yourself enough to find an accountability buddy.
  • Showing up to a class even when it’s cold, wet and dark.
  • Going to class straight from work so you can’t get comfy on tge sofa.
  • Getting your workout clothes out the night before your run.
  • Keeping trainers in your bag so you can walk home from the station.
  • Taking a walk at lunchtime.
  • Using 20 minutes whilst waiting for your child to do a swim/tennis/music lesson to take a walk yourself.

I could go on. The point being it’s not about the big things others say they’re doing. It’s about the little habits you fit into your life that you probably wouldn’t shout about.

I still can’t fit it all in

What if you know all that stuff but you still can’t justify fitting it in?

How about that old adage, ‘put your own gas mask on first.’ How many times have you ended up slightly broken because you didn’t take the time to fill your own cup? 

No one is immune to health issues. No one can out run inactivity. 

The things or people you are worried about letting down, need you and you can show up for them best if you are in one piece – that’s mental or physical.

Finding ways to build active and mindful habits in, is as essential to them as it is to you.

Habit change

If motivation is still a struggle, well here’s a little magic behaviour change science:

Building little wins into your life will breed more wins.

Flicking that little switch in your brain will set you up for more success.

That’s why we will always encourage you to start with what is achievable and realistic for you. A daily 10 minute walk for yourself. One class a week or three in a month. Start with mobility and the stuff that doesn’t seem so full of effort or sweaty. Small successes will help your brain to believe you can do it.

We believe you can do it.

More than sweat you need to build little wins into your week for the sake of your motivation.

Accountability Buddies

And finally … that last little piece of the puzzle … is accountability. Whether that’s familiar faces in a class or on your daily walk, a check in with a trainer for a programme every month or a friend or family member you can trust, get an accountability team on board.

The people who are really winning at all of this don’t need a transformation photo or to share their latest exploits, they are quietly getting on with it. 

See you in class.

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