1) Stop worrying about what other people are thinking. Right now. No, stop. Don’t ever think you can’t run outside because people will stare at you. I promise you if anyone is looking and they aren’t also running they are marvelling at just how badass you are or a thinking about when they can do their thing and be badass too. Give no more thought to other people in the gym, unless it’s to be nice to courteous to them. No one is laughing, you’re getting fit and that’s something that is never to be laughed at. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who is exercising automatically belongs to the club, congratulations you’ve joined, smile on your way past.
2) Record what you do. If you just go and half heartedly press a few dumbbells or jog on the treadmill for a few minutes you’ll never get anywhere. Trust me, I’ve tried that. Fitness is about progress and progress needs to be tracked. Use your iphone, a notebook or if you have the capacity, your memory, and make sure you’re pushing yourself onwards.
3) Which brings me neatly to – goals! Have them. Try not to make it “I want to feel good in a bikini”, because that isn’t a goal, it’s a state of mind. It might happen after reaching your goals, but it’s not a goal in itself. Perhaps you want to run for 10 minutes without stopping or do a pull up. It might seem small but it gives you something tangible to work towards. By all means add bigger goals like a marathon or a crazy time for ‘Fran’ but make sure you keep sight of the small stuff – it really is where the sweat reaps the rewards.
4) Eat well. That Pret sandwich? It’s not healthy, put it down. Say hi to your kitchen and start using it. Cooking my meals from scratch MADE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. It takes time, sure, but it’s time well spent. Try and make it a habit – when you’re cooking one meal why not add more veggies so you’ve got them cold for tomorrow? Or also pop those chicken breasts in the oven as you’re making your pasta? You’re already cooking, so cook more and eat it for lunch or dinner when you know you’ll be late home and thinking a pizza would be quick and easy right now.
5) Stick at it. It took me years to get in the habit of exercising daily but now it’s something I just do. Eating was easier, after about 6 months I changed the way I eat permanently and although I have the odd slip or fortnight off when on holiday I more or less stick to it. Don’t give up after a month, keep going, it’s worth it, it really is.