Most can't quite believe that I'm on day 19 of the 30 Day Squat Challenge and am still enjoying it, and my boyfriend is really enjoying the novelty of following me round the fitness sections of stores instead of shoes. Considering how I have previously felt about exercise, I'm not surprised really. Lot's of you have asked for tips on ways to make moving a little more feel like less of a chore. So I've jotted down a few of my key focus points for you...
1) START SIMPLE: Being totally unfit meant there was no way I was going to be able to run miles at a time. Some of you seemed shocked that Nala came with me for the first few runs, but we really were doing the smallest amounts of exercise. Half a lap around my local park is nothing, but got my heart rate up and helped me set aside time in the day to exercise. It really helped me realise how easily I can fit in little work outs, and meant that I wasn't pushing myself too hard to the point where I couldn't walk the next day. I knew the latter would certainly be setting myself up for failure.
I also made sure to watch basic online tutorials to make sure I was doing new exercise moves right. Squats, lunges and crunches (there are more, I could go on, but I won't) are all easy to get wrong. To make sure I got the most out of my work outs and to avoid injuries, I watched tutorials and did my first few in front of a mirror. Better safe than sorry!
2) BREATHE: One thing I've found is the importance of your breathing technique whilst exercising. I have fairly weak lungs and can really struggle when I'm running. But when I'm working out things are a bit easier. Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth (always out on the hardest part of a move) helps me to power through sets of exercise, and stops me from feeling dizzy if things get particularly tough.
3) BASICS: Stock up on the basics that you'll need. If you're planning on working out at home, a yoga mat is preferable over working out on your carpet (sounds fine, but is actually really gross - tried and tested over here). I like to wear a sports bra for what ever work out i'm doing. If nothing else they make me feel ready to work out. I'm a fairly average chest size and the fitness section of H&M kitted me out and works just fine. It's also not crazy expensive if you'er unsure on whether you'll stick with the work outs.
4) WARM UP: I always make sure I spend at least five minutes warming up before I get moving, and always stretch out after. Despite doing the 30 Day Squat Challenge there have been very few occasions where I've had stiff muscles the following day.
5) BE PATIENT: Starting out small really worked for me, but it does mean that the physical effects, both inside and out, can take a little longer to become apparent. After a few weeks I've noticed improvements to my core and leg muscles (can finally touch my toes - score!), and although I don't look any different on the outside, it's the little changes like this that keep me motivated.