Fitness: my top tips on getting started and finding your perfect exercise match

Exercise top tips with Sweaty BettyExercise top tips with Sweaty Betty
Exercise top tips with Sweaty Betty
After being a bit of a couch potato for the past couple of years, I recently decided it was high time to get my backside in gear and get back to exercising. For me, exercise isn’t about weight loss (although I AM attempting to get slightly less wobbly in certain places) but it’s about feeling strong, fit and generally more healthy. When you sit at a desk all day long, it’s easy to go throughout the whole day without really moving, and the cold and rainy winter weather makes it all too easy to sit at home and hibernate with a massive bowl of carbs at night (#carblover).

I wanted to share a few of my tips on finding an exercise regime you can fall in love with. Or if falling in love seems a bit of a stretch at the moment, finding one that makes you feel good after you’ve done it.

Commit to 20 minutes – getting started is normally the hardest part about exercising. I have a lot of procrastination skills that somehow all pop up when it’s time to get my sports bra on! If I’m really not in the mood, I tell myself to just do 20 minutes. Whether that’s at the gym, with a quick 30 Day Shred session in the living room or even just a brisk walk out in the local park, by the time 20 minutes is up, I’m usually in the rhythm of it and happy to do a little more. And if you’re not, well then at least you’ve done 20 minutes, which is better than nothing!

Try lots of different things to find the exercise you love – I have THE world’s shortest attention span and a visit to the gym literally bores me senseless. So when I decided to start exercising again, I wanted something that gave me lots of variety, without having to pound miles on a treadmill. I’ve been using ClassPass for the past couple of months and have found it to be an amazing way to try lots of new workouts, without having to join loads of different gyms/studios. It basically allows you to access hundreds of different dance/fitness/barre/spin studios across London, all for one monthly fee. At the moment it’s a US/London only scheme, but I’m hoping they expand it to larger cities across the UK very soon. If you live outside of London, why not see what classes near to you offer trial offers or sample classes – test out a few different ones and find those that you love doing the best. If you can find a type of exercise that feels fun, then it definitely makes it more enjoyable, even if you’re looking like a sweaty tomato (I’m looking at you Barrecore).

Invest in some good workout gear – I used to do my workouts in a pair of old leggings and a baggy t-shirt that I’d decided was no longer fit for wearing day to day, but it didn’t make me feel good during my workouts. So instead, I’ve made a commitment and invested in some quality workout gear that might be more expensive, but not only do I look forward to actually wearing it, it’s also designed to work with my body while I workout. Sweaty Betty's workout leggings* are amazing for everything from running to yoga – not only do they wick away sweat, but they feel soooo comfy when they’re on and they don’t create that dreaded camel toe that can happen with some leggings. Also, the pattern makes such a nice change from traditional black workout trousers! I rotate between a heavy duty sports bra for things like running/spin/box fit and this softer pink bra top* for yoga/pilates/barre (it comes with enough padding to make you feel secure) and love a slouchier t-shirt (this one is super soft) over the top.

Get outside – yes it’s cold, yes it’s winter, but don’t let that stop you getting outside. I am a huge fan of autumn/winter and cold, crisp days are perfect for a long walk outside (pub pit stop optional) or a misty morning run in the fallen leaves. Make sure you wrap up warm, but take lightweight layers you can peel off if you start to get a bit hot.

It doesn’t have to be expensive – there are so many ways to work out without costing a fortune. Whether it’s a DVD in your lounge or a jog around the local park. People like Tone It Up and The Body Coach are great for free You Tube plans to follow – I’ve spent many a session at home doing one of Joe’s HIIT workouts and let me tell you, 20-25 minutes is plenty! If you plan to do lots of workouts at home, then it might be worth investing in a yoga/floor mat and some hand weights, but there are lots of body weight exercises (think mountain climbers, squats, planks, press ups) that need nothing at all and are just as good for fitness and toning.

I’d love to hear about your favourite fitness classes or top tips for working out at home – let me know in the comments below, or Tweet me over at @talesofpaleface.

*PR samples


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