I’ve lost count of the times I’ve giddily signed up to a new gym membership, new work out gear in tow, only for any new habits to fall by the wayside in a matter of weeks. Self motivation does not come easy for me when it comes to exercise. Combine that with invariably having to get in the car, and a set time at which the class started, meant that it was all too easy to come up with an excuse as to why I was too busy. I found the weight section intimidating and I was never truly excited about classes such as spinning or pump, preferring more barre type classes which were never on offer. I say this because I think a big part of exercising has to be fun. It has to be an enjoyable way for you to move your body or at the very least something that you can really engage with.
We all know the importance of moving our bodies on a daily basis. Taking at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day has shown to improve cognitive function, provide us with better emotional well being, even make us look younger. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle, dubbed the new smoking, puts us at risk of early mortality. Before we all cancel our Netflix subscription, the advice is simply to move every 30 minutes to negate these risks if your job involves you sitting for long periods of time.
If exercise is something that you’re struggling to incorporate into your daily routine try and find a workout that you enjoy. Variety is key here too. I no longer just do HIIT workouts at home. Yes, they might be the most efficient way of working out but boredom quickly set in. A sure fire way for any new habit to die a death. These days I vary the workouts I do. From walking the dog, to seeing a trainer and streaming content at home.
The most important thing when trying to develop any new habit is to just start. If the idea of exercising for 30 minutes a day feels overwhelming ask yourself what you can commit to. Could you go for a walk for ten minutes today? Sometimes we can hold ourselves back from achieving our goals by focusing on perfection rather than progress.
If boredom is starting to set in, challenge yourself to try something new. If this feels uncomfortable, the beauty of technology these days means you can try lots of different workouts from home.
I’ve put together my favourite apps or streaming services that I regularly use to workout. Some of these are available via apps but they all have an online offering too. These days I can do a different workout each day, take a dance class from LA or a barre class from New York, right at home. I find these hugely helpful on days when I might not have a lot of time. I’d love to workout for an hour but the days are busy. Most days I’ll grab half an hour, or if I’m really pushed, it might just be several ten-minute workouts spread across the day, say while the pasta is cooking! The important thing is to stay consistent and make moving your body something you commit to doing everyday.
Class fitsugar – Find at www.popsugar.co.uk/Class-FitSugar or youtube.
Class fitsugar has an extensive back catalog of workouts you can try, all for free! They regularly feature the most on-trend workouts with guest instructors and have a mix of styles from high impact to yoga to dance. Workouts vary in length from one hour to ten minutes. They also have plenty of equipment free workouts, great if you dont have any gym equipment at home.
Modelfit – available as an app or streaming online. $19.99 a month after 7-day free trial.
This US brand has a cult following in NYC and LA, where they’re renowned for their sculpting and toning workouts, and last year launched an online offering. The focus is on small, precise movements designed to sculpt the body. Classes are broken down into body area, recommended programs such as beginner, intermediate or advanced. You can also choose your workout according to length, they have a great 20 minute workout if you’re pressed for time. While some of the classes are equipment free, you’ll need some ankle weights, small hand weights, and a resistance band. The instruction is incredible. Something I’ve struggled with in other online offerings. You really feel you have your own personal instructor with you.
Body by Simone – app or streaming at BBSTV. $19.99 per month or 10 minute workout free.
This is a high energy workout which never fails to put a smile on my face. Former dancer Simone De La Rue has created a signature workout style that’s part barre, part dance cardio, part strength training. Users can opt for a hiit workout, dance cardio or both and then add on arms, legs, and abs for a full body workout. The app lets you customise your workout according to what you fancy doing and then lets you choose the workout length. Workouts start from ten minutes to an hour and a warmup is always included in the time as well. There’s also the option to live stream a class if you fancy a change. Users will also receive a 4-meal per day nutrition plan from nutritionist Kelly LeVeque for those looking to make any dietary changes as well. Finally, if you’re looking to lose weight users are able to upload photos and add measurements to track their progress. You’ll be put through your paces on this one but Simone’s enthusiasm is so contagious the hour will be up before you know it.
Johnson and Johnson 7 minute workout – itunes store
If HIIT is your thing, I’d highly recommend the seven-minute workout app. This made headlines in 2013 with its promise of a full body workout in less than 10 minutes. The app offers 5 different levels from beginner to advanced exercises. There are 12 different 30 second exercises in a sequence which you are guided through. The specific sequencing is designed to allow one muscle group to partially recover whilst another one is being worked on. While the buzz is all about the 7 minute workout, they actually recommend three circuits three times a week. You knew that though right?
The Body Coach – http://www.thebodycoach.com £97 for the 3 month program or 3 instalments of £42
I cant talk about HIIT without mentioning Joe Wicks! The body coach has a new format for delivering his 90 day program. His app which features workouts, new recipes, and online support is available for those wanting to commit to the full program. However, if you are yet to try any of his workouts there are plenty available on youtube for free. He has a large repertoire from beginners to more advanced, low impact, even quiet HIIT workouts for those not wanting to disturb their downstairs neighbour or those with sleeping babies. It’s challenging but mercifully quick, and Joe has plenty of chat to help you through.