January is notorious for packed gyms, but the enthusiasm soon dwindles. Presenter and busy mum-of-three Emma Willis, who has recently launched her first collection of sportswear with retailer Next, offers her tips for falling – and staying – in love with fitness
1 Figure out what works for you
Working out doesn’t have to be a chore – not when you’ve figured out what works for you and your routine. It’s possible three gym sessions a week isn’t feasible – in which case, seek other alternatives.
Bikes like the Peloton also offer a live workout from the comfort of your own home. There are a myriad of options to choose from, and if you’ve got the space and the means, there’s no reason why home-based workouts can’t become part of your routine.
That being said, you’ll need to be more disciplined when at home; the benefit of heading out to the gym is that you’re surrounded by like-minded people doing the same thing – which acts as a form of encouragement. At home, you’ll need to be your own trainer.
2 Take it week by week
Setting impossible goals when you’re just starting out won’t stand you in good stead. It could make you feel under pressure and frustrated. Try approaching fitness on a week-by-week basis instead, it’s much more manageable than setting up monthly or three-monthly plans – particularly if you’re just starting out.
I start with being realistic, and that is by looking at fitness week by week and judging how much time I have available to train. So sometimes I train once a week, sometimes twice, sometimes three times. I prefer to look at it like that so I don’t get stressed out by not doing as much every week as I’d like to. The main thing is to not put added stress on myself.
3 Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous
Following a weekly plan doesn’t have to sap all spontaneity from your workouts. If you suddenly feel the urge to exercise on a day when you’re not scheduled to do any, don’t be put off.
Our bodies are unpredictable – we might crave a post-work swim some days, while others we might prefer to be a couch potato. Listen to what your body needs and go with it; you might find that a more natural, spontaneous approach adds to the enjoyment of exercising.
4 Workout with a friend
Gyms can be intimidating for first timers, so see if a friend of a similar fitness level to you is keen to join (or maybe a more experienced friend who can offer useful guidance?).
And if you can’t find anyone to go with, don’t sweat it – gyms and exercise classes offer ample opportunity for meeting new people. After all, you’re all there with the same goal of getting fit, so it’s a great place to mingle and swap ideas.
5 Take advantage of free trials
To find your perfect gym, take advantage of the many free trials available at centres around London (like this cracker at David Lloyd Clubs). These allow you to take a class for free to try it out – so if you’re looking to join a fitness session like yoga, pilates or boxing, this could be a good option.
It’s also important to mix up your exercises. Keeping things different is important. When it gets repetitive then not only does my body get used to it, I also get bored, so I need to change it up. I’d say reformer and boxing are my favourites.
The Emma Willis Sportswear Collection is exclusive to Next
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