Which means that soon it will be Christmas.
Which means that we will be inundated with offers on reduced rate and introductory deals on the local gym membership.
Which means we will sign up, promising ourselves that we’ll go at least four or five times a week – because that’s how many times we will need to attend in order to make our membership worthwhile – and we will do so no matter what the weather or how we feel.
I’ve been there, I did that.
Despite my best efforts, I spent longer travelling to and from the gym than I actually spent working out. And I resented the amount I was forking out in order to have this privilege.
In truth, what I needed to finally get started on becoming fitter and healthier was something that I could do when I had a spare 10 or 15 minutes. That meant having something I could do at short notice, that I didn’t need a lot of time to prepare for and that I didn’t need to travel to. Something I didn’t need to pay out for continuously month after month would be another bonus.
What I needed was something I could do at any time, at home, whenever I had the opportunity to. I was full of reasons excuses I had not to exercise. Excuses such as not having time, not having much space, not wanting to put myself on humiliating show in a gym full of bunnies barely breaking a sweat whilst I went a volatile shade of tomato red just thirty seconds into a workout, and not wanting to fork out extortionate membership fees for the honour of having a gym pass sitting in my purse whilst I cried into my tub of Haagen Dazs about not being able to lose weight.
And so, it was a chance conversation with my brother that I finally reached a turning point and broke the cycle. I discovered DDP Yoga and a year later had lost a shed-load of lbs. Here is how you can do it too – whatever your choice of excuse might presently be.
You don’t need a lot of money to get yourself fit. You don’t need a lot of money to get yourself started. All you need is something to start, somewhere. If you are going from being completely sedentary, all you really need to do is to move more. That might mean taking a walk rather than driving the car somewhere, it might mean climbing up and down the stairs five times in a row today, six tomorrow, and seven the following day, or it might mean building up strength gradually. And there are lots of low-cost ways you can do this.
I was quite overweight and my joints ached terribly with it by the time I finally got myself together. All I needed was to start doing something and that would be more than I was doing at that moment. I bought myself a fitness tracker which helped me monitor how much or, to be more realistic, how little activity I was taking, I began tracking my food intake and I started doing DDP Yoga. I didn’t need any equipment other than a yoga mat and, taking into consideration that it would be the only real investment for a while, I opted for a better quality cushioned yoga mat rather than the cheaper alternatives – a decision I’d strongly recommend to others starting out. The mat is still going strong and it has made working out a great deal more comfortable than it would have been on a thinner and cheaper alternative. If you aren’t very confident to begin with, I’d also recommend investing in getting a yoga brick. This is a small, lightweight block which is a fabulous aid in helping you stay balanced as your confidence and ability grows. Both the yoga mat and the brick can be packed away conveniently as they take up little space and aren’t heavy to move around, making them completely portable for you to transport from one room to another. You also don’t need to be fit to start. You just need to start.
Another option I mentioned earlier was walking more or, if you feel a little fitter or more confident, even running. Investing in a good pair of running shoes will keep your feet well supported, decreasing any chance of injury and together with good quality clothing, a must for any activity, will help to keep you comfortable as you train.
It is always a good idea to introduce a new exercise regime slowly and after taking into account your current strength, flexibility or general health. It’s great to be enthusiastic but being over-enthusiastic can do more harm than good. It’s better to start off gently and work your way up. Fitness resistance bands are an excellent option that are cheap to invest in, don’t take up much space and are a good but effective way to stretch your muscles after a workout in order to prevent injury. If you are quite out of shape to begin with, you can start off by using them to increase your flexibility first, before embarking on the next stage of your fitness programme.
If you are not a complete beginner but perhaps just a little out of shape and wanting to mix cardio with resistance training, why not try a Rocky-style workout? A session with a skipping rope two to three times a week will not only get the heart pumping but will also strengthen the muscles in your forearms. Add some dumbbell exercises to the mix and you will have toned, defined muscles in no time at all.
One recommendation that I would make is to invest in an exercise machine of some kind, if you are able to. In my opinion, if you have the space for a rowing machine, a cross trainer or an exercise bike, you’ve pretty much covered all the options that a gym would provide for an effective all-round workout. If you only had the space and finances for one, I’d strongly suggest a cross trainer which provides both upper and lower body workouts with minimal impact, making it a great option if you are an absolute beginner, recovering from injury or need something that doesn’t put too much strain on your joints. You can purchase versions which are compact enough to keep in the corner of a room so you don’t need too much available space, and I honestly would be lost without mine, even though it’s definitely seen better days!
Losing weight made me feel better about myself. I didn’t shy away from the camera any more and it gave me the confidence to do things that I wouldn’t have even considered doing a year before. Most of all, it’s made my body healthier than it’s been for years. And all without setting one foot in a gym.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Decathlon UK.