Now before you get all cranky on us, know that it’s not their fault. The reason they don’t tell you these key factors in fitness is because it’s so innate to them, they can’t imagine anyone not knowing. Intrinsic motivation, mindset and sleep. Wait…. what? Am I talking about fitness here? Yep. You got it. Three factors that will make all the difference that actually have nothing to do with how many sets, reps or number of pilates classes you take.
- Intrinsic motivation: look at any individual who has maintained, over time, great levels of fitness, and notice they don’t focus on small goals like next Friday nights birthday party or the upcoming city 2 surf. Sure, these elements might push them a little further in their training but behind that, they value being fit in itself, for whatever reason it may be - knowing that it prevents heart disease and cancer perhaps, wanting to enjoy that brownie at Sunday brunch without guilt or maybe to keep their skin blemish free. Intrinsic motivation is key in lasting fitness because the motivation is within - and therefore isn’t going to fade with time, events or other external happenings.
- tip: understand what fitness means to you and WHY you want to be fit. Is it to maintain a healthy weight? Is it so you can say ‘yes’ to your boyfriends hiking idea? Or maybe it’s just so you can balance out all those days you spend lounging by the pool / beach / couch. Whatever it is, be clear in what makes fitness important to you.
- Mindset: ah, this old chestnut. Could mention so many aspects, but i’ll focus on the core - you have to genuinely enjoy what you are doing for it to be successful, long term. Killing yourself to become the latest yogi when you’re more of a runner, or tormenting yourself through cross fit when a gentle walk is your cup of tea. Mindset is introduced when we are looking forward to, enthusiastic and genuinely excited to train. This means that it doesn’t matter if it’s cold, your busy or you’ve got 56 social engagements, you’ll make space because at the end of the day - you enjoy it.
- tip: if you know what you love, lucky you. Keep it up! Introduce variations if you get bored! If you dont, then don't worry - most people reading this are in the same boat. What you need to do is get out there, try a few different things, places and styles of training. There is a world of fitness out there just waiting to be loved, and it’s your job to find what makes you jump out of bed for it.
- Sleep: getting your Z on is going out of fashion faster than Justin Beibers new dreadlocks (some time you just cant bring trends out beibs), and it seems everyone is quick to jump in and declare how little sleep they are from their crazy hectic life. With respect to your training, sleep has an incredible impact upon your ability to properly execute the movements - fatigue encourages muscles to be lazy, which is the fastest way to injury. It also makes it not so enjoyable for you - who wants to train when they feel like bed is the only place to be?
- tip: prioritise sleep for 7-8 hours per night, or whatever you know your body to need. It might seem like you’re missing out when you leave the party at 12am (I do this all the time and trust me, you’re not), or if you opt out of an all night tinder session with your girlfriends. But when you wake feeling lively, full of energy and smash out your best training session, you’ll be glad you opted out.
So there you have it, from behind closed doors. Fitness isn’t just about what you do when you put your nike Xtrainer’s on. It’s about your attitude, energy and excitement for it. I trust many of you will try your first yin yoga session or try your hand at reformer pilates soon ‘just for fun’, and it excites me - because without a doubt, you’ll be avid yogi’s or devoted pilates girls in no time.