4 key steps for success in a new fitness regimen

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So you've decided you want to get fit and make change happen. Hooray! You know getting fit is easy but what can you do before hand to get yourself in the zone? With these simple tips, you can stay the course and get the results you want!

1.Getting The Right Clothes

This photo is from the very talented Zeno Watson. Check out his other work here!

4 key steps for success in a new fitness regimeHaving clothes you enjoy working out in makes all the difference in motivating you. I got an amazing pair of jogger bottoms with a monkey on the side for parkour and I loved them. Never have a pair of trousers been worn so much. I still wear them now 6 years later when my wife hasn't stolen them. But because I loved the so much I always wore them while training which made them built in motivation! As soon as I put them on a trigger went off in my head going "Yeah it's parkour time! Let's get out there and kill it!"

So If you dedicate a pair of clothes to whatever you're doing you'll get a solid association in your head. You can lay your clothes out in the morning, and when you see your outfit your brain will go into workout mode. Nice!

Wearing clothes you love boosts your self-esteem too. If you feel good in what you're wearing you'll feel more confident so you can just be you. And you're awesome so always be you! At the gym, no one is judging you. Everyone is just getting there head down and working hard. So don't worry! You look awesome in your gym clothes now get out there and move it!

2. The Perfect Playlist

Now I have big ideas of what the perfect playlist is. Full of all my favourite songs with awesome driving bass and motivational lyrics. I have learned to accept that for me, at least, this does not exist. I have tried and tried to create an awesome playlist of music to keep me psyched at the gym but I just can't do it.

So you can leave it up to the professionals. There are people who make great playlists, on Youtube and Spotify for instance, they may even be paid to do so! And they can do a way better job than me or you could so why not listen to one of them if you can! Personally, I don't do this. My phone isn't normally up to the task, given it's about 17 models behind the latest.

So what do I do? I listen to my favourite artists. Jack Johnson is far from pumping but I love him so I listen to him. This makes the experience more enjoyable and if I'm having fun I'm more likely to come back.

Or sometimes I'll listen to an audiobook. If I'm cracking out 20 minutes on the running machine the pace is kept for me so I just have to power it out! An audiobook helps me focus away from my fatigue and enjoy the story I'm listening to so I can try to push myself further.

Or even better most gyms tend to play music anyway so unplug and take in the gym. The music playing usually isn't to my taste  but that doesn't mean it's any less pumping!

If you can make a solid playlist for the gym then do it! It is just a skill I am lacking in so wanted to give some alternatives.

3. Set Goals

Goal setting is the best way to motivate yourself and see definitive improvement. I know for me, at least, going to the gym seems like a meandering process. It doesn't have an end goal and no obvious challenges along the way like other hobbies.

While I was training parkour there were always bigger jumps I could work towards or certain numbers of push-ups stuff like that. These goals really kept me spurred on as I always had so much I could improve and work towards.

I went to the gym anyway because I wanted to stay healthy but I never really enjoyed it until I started setting goals. They weren't big life changing goals just goals that when reached made me feel good. Small ones, like running on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 7.5 on the speed setting. This wasn't groundbreaking stuff but it was something I could work towards before setting a new goal.

So decide on your goals. It's ok to take a couple of sessions finding your feet. Find out what your capable of before setting these goals because having them really makes you work harder. They could be anything:

  • A certain distance to run.
  • A number of lengths to swim.
  • A size of weight to lift.
  • A number of times to work out a week.

I could keep this list going on and on so there are just a few ideas for you. I am also a fan of setting huge longer term goals. A lot of people advise against this because it can be very disappointing not reaching your goals. This is understandable, but for me if I come close to a goal I still get stoked knowing I tried my hardest. If I miss it completely I look back at how far I've come regardless and am quite content with my progress.

Either way always make sure you have a goal in mind.

4. Find a friend

Having a friend to help you stay motivated is a great help when starting out, especially if they already have routines. If you know someone who regularly goes to a fitness class ask them if you can tag along. Working out might be a solitary activity for them so they may so no but that's OK I'm sure you know someone else!

Don't be scared that they will be "better than you". There is no judgement, everyone is pushing themselves. People you think are better than you have been training much longer. They should give you something to aspire to!

Sometimes you don't even need to know the person. When I was in a regular gym routine there was a couple of people I would see who had the same routine as me. I would act as if they were counting on me to be there. I didn't even know there names! I would think to myself "I cant miss the gym today what if mohawk guy's there and I'm not!" It was a sort of competition between me and what may as well have been my imaginary friends, but it worked. Then when I was there and they weren't I could gloat to myself. Again not my finest moment but it wasn't hurting anyone.

So there you have it! If you get these 4 steps locked in and sorted you'll have an even higher chance of success when you start your new fitness regime!

I made up this infographic of all the information here!

Success in a new fitness routine

If you enjoyed this please give it a share or let me know in the comments below!


What Are Endorphins?

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What are endorphinsI will probably end up talking about endorphins quite regularly in the fitness section of this blog and it comes up in countless other places around the web so I thought I'd take some time and explain what endorphins are and how they help you!

The Science

Endorphins are a chemical in your brain that when released blocks out pain receptors. The word endorphins mean a morphine-like substance coming from within the body. So it acts the same way as morphine only there are no side-effects. It's a natural high! Check out Wikipedia for the ins and outs of the chemistry

Endorphins get released primarily through times of stress. Your body releases them to try and nullify the stressed feeling by blocking out pain receptors. They get released from a number of activities but the most well-known ones are eating certain foods, usually chocolate, sex and exercise.

They get released during exercise because your body is experiencing stress in the form of your muscles and organs being worked hard and begin to hurt so your body releases endorphins to nullify your brains awareness of the pain. I imagine this is hereditary of our ancestors when we may have been running for our lives and needed the ability to keep going.

The reason they get released from eating chocolate is slightly different, however. Eating chocolate is not a stressful experience but chocolate itself has several different chemicals in it that are commonly found in antidepressants which cause endorphins to release. They are in very small doses of course but this is why chocolate is such a comfort food.

Often when people are experiencing stress or they are overwhelmed by other emotions they get a desire to eat chocolate. For me, however, I have been active my entire life whenever I feel an influx of stress I want to run. I get the overwhelming desire to leave the house and start running. It's the desire for the endorphins that makes me do this as my body knows they will lessen the pain receptors in my brain allowing me to deal with the stress.

How To Make The Most of Them

Exercise is the best way to get endorphins. By completing moderate exercise you will get a dose of endorphins but also get all the great benefits of doing exercise.


It's as easy as going once a week!

Here's some example exercises you can do

  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Cycling
  • Walking

Walking is one of my favourites because it is open to everyone, you don't have to be shy about it, there are no stigmas about it and people can do it every day! Walk to the shops, park further away and walk to work (Or walk the whole way, even better!)

A lot of people think they are out and about quite a lot, back and forthing from home to work, home, shops, home, but if all of this is done in the car then you have gained no physical benefits. Add in walking to any part of this and reap the benefits! Feel the calorie burning muscle building pump of your legs one in front of the other and live! Sitting in a car doesn't gain you anything so walk my pretties!

Making the transition from stress eating to stress exercise isn't easy, but even if you include regular walking into your routine you will find stress much easier to deal with as a result of the endorphins release and so you wont feel the need to stress eat!

Chocolate does of course have it's place but it is important to be enjoyed in moderation due it's high sugar content. I personally like to keep a bar of fancier dark chocolate so that if I want that quick pick me up I can eat a square and really enjoy it and put the packet back in the cupboard before I get tempted to eat more.

Endorphins are a very powerful tool in out arsenal of well being and should be used to there fullest! So next time you're feeling stressed see what your reaction is, do you want some chocolate? Maybe something else? Whatever it is just be aware of it because awareness is the first step to making change.

Where do you get your endorphins fix?


The Easy Way To Get Fit

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There was an old man in his late 70s who went to my local gym, I saw him there a couple of times and he always smiled so I struck up a conversation, to commend him on his commitment. He told me that he was determined to keep his ability to walk. A lot of his peers were starting to become house bound and he didn't want that for himself so took up going to the gym. He went once per week and spent the rest of the week recovering.

Old strong man

Probably not what you'll look like going to the gym once per week but full respect to this guy! Bet he doesn't need help cutting his steak!

To me, that is the goal. Whether or not I adhere to whatever the current beach bod is doesn't phase me, but having that drive as I'm closing in on 80 and to smile every time I'm doing it. Yes.

It's easy as going once a week!

Generally, people can't go from zero to hero overnight. You can't just wake up one day, decide to get healthy, and start running at 5 am 7 days a week. But if you commit one hour a week to the gym by the end of the year you will have smashed out 50 hours of workout! Now that's not something to be sniffed at! That's equivalent to about 20 guilt-free pizzas, 100 tall caramel macchiatos from Starbucks and you get a whole lot of body toning and endorphins flowing!

And that's with just once a week, after 6 months you'll likely start to feel some differences, such as the day after you've been working out you have lots more energy, your mornings aren't such a chore and you're a lot more productive at work So maybe you start going twice a week instead? Maybe you've made some friends at the gym who all go rock climbing so you join them on a Saturday. Awesome!

It's easy to get caught up in the fast action fast result of fitness that you see in magazines but try and ignore it. Think small, think positive. Say to yourself, on Monday I will go to the gym. I will run/walk, cycle and go on the cross trainer and then the rest of the week is mine to veg out, watch TV, do whatever.

Now a lot of people get great joy out of going to the gym. I can see why you get to be surrounded by other motivated people, it has all the equipment needed to work specific muscles and meet particular aesthetic goals. But for me, it's a bit boring. An awesome workout at the gym has its place but I like to make things a bit more interesting.

You don't have to stick to the gym!


It's the most common place people go to start working out but that doesn't mean it's the best. Enjoyment is the key to maintaining a good exercise regime, so if you had an activity you really enjoyed when you were younger do that instead.

Remember loving swimming lessons at school? Go to the the pool and just try do some lengths for an hour or simply until your tired. Love dancing at the club or round your living room? Check out a zoomba class, I've done a zoomba workout before (granted I was one of the only males taking part) and it's one of those activities that simply makes you smile. You're exhausted and sweaty beyond belief but you get a really good feeling when you finish.

Signing up for a class is also a great way to commit on a longer term. If you know you have a class every Wednesday then you'll find it easier to fit into your schedule, especially if you have to sign up a week in advance.

Don't make it difficult for yourself!

Seriously, the smoother exercising slots into your routine the better. If you sign up for a fitness class that takes an hour to drive too, that's instantly building an excuse right into your routine. "Aww I had to work late so I don't really have the time now". If you can find somewhere on your route home or only slightly off the beaten path, go there. Even if it is a little more expensive, your health is always worth paying for. Especially at the start.

Identify what your most common excuse is and eliminate it. If you like to party at the weekends, don't make Saturday morning your fitness day. My weakness was that if I'd been out all day once I got home I wanted to stay there. I didn't want to go back out in the rain, I've only just dried off! So I started taking gym clothes with me and I'd walk past the turn off to my house and head straight the gym. Problem solved.

Finally you want to reward yourself.

You've just worked out for an hour. Go you! Now you can treat yourself to something nice to help settle into the habit. Most people would tell you to tuck into a protein shake or have a nice salad, and yes while this is generally speaking healthier, thats not what we're about. So have a pizza for dinner, get a chocolate bar, enjoy a glass of wine (Maybe even a bottle...) Because it's not about negating the effects of burnt calories at the gym, it's setting up a habit you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

Also while working out you will be building muscle, and it's muscle that gives you a higher metabolism which burns off more calories everyday. So even if you eat as much as you burn off you will be building muscle which means you burn more calories every day. Awesome right?

So don't panic about how many calories your burning, what type of post work out protein you should be eating or anything like that.
Start small, enjoy yourself, don't make it difficult and pick something awesome to reward yourself for working out!

So have a search around for your nearest leisure centre, fitness centre, swimming pool. Have a look at classes and please give this raticle a share if you enjoyed it!

Easy right?