It’s January, it’s cold, the days are short and those ”unprecedented” problems from 2020 have miraculously found their way into 2021…
So, how can we press pause, hit refresh and reset our mind to help create a more positive outlook?
The majority of us are working from home, which means (in theory) we have more time to focus on ourselves and more freedom to fit exercise into our daily routine.
Exercise is key - not only does it release endorphins, the happy hormone which makes us feel great, it helps clear the mind and has a long-lasting impact on overall health. But, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start, fitness can be a minefield especially when we’re limited to exercising in our homes.
Look no further.
We roped in James Stirling, the man behind London Fitness Guy, to help bring clarity and help kick start your fitness journey. James is a Personal Trainer, who recently featured on the front cover of Men’s Health, has had numerous TV appearances and boasts a healthy 300k+ followers.
James, not only shares with us his tips on exercise and its physical and mental benefits, but he has also created a circuit exercise routine specifically for you. A workout you can do directly from/on your Swyft sofa. Here goes:
Q: How can we keep motivated and stay focused on fitness in the midst of a pandemic AND during Winter?
LFS: It’s really important to remember that exercise has both mental and physical benefits. Lockdown presents challenges in creating routines, but setting aside time to workout is fundamental to keeping your body and mind fit and healthy. I encourage my clients to treat their workout much like a work meeting, putting it in the diary and making yourself accountable.
We often think about exercise as a chore, but I really encourage you to change that way of thinking and switch your mindset to considering the time you have to exercise as valuable downtime and an opportunity to work on yourself. If you can create a routine that is realistic and manageable, I am confident you can create a long term routine!
But, if you are really struggling for motivation, you can always join me for a free LIVE workout on my Instagram every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6pm.
Q: How does structured exercise and routine help keep the mind in check?
LFS: The first month or so is always the most challenging when it comes to creating a long-term routine. You feel tired, sore from exercise and it’s far easier to say no. I always feel that people assume being a Personal Trainer you don’t experience these feelings, but trust me.. I do! When I encounter these thoughts, I remind myself that I always feel so much better after a workout and it really does set me up for the day! It’s for this reason that I choose to workout in the morning - wake up, strong coffee, workout and I am free to enjoy the rest of my day. If I put a workout off, it almost feels like a chore you are waiting to tick off, so this is my preferred option.
It’s also really important to remember that exercise is just movement, it doesn’t have to be a sweaty HIIT session. Taking 40 minutes out of your day to get outside and walk is equally effective for both mind and body. I'm a huge advocate of clearing the mind, walking without looking at my mobile phone and really decluttering my head, especially during lockdown. For me, this is my meditation.
Q: How did you first get into fitness?
LFS: I have always been passionate about sport and exercise since school - probably because I struggled to sit still and learn about anything else. I attended University and completed my Sport Science BSc and since have worked a number of jobs in the industry. I worked for the charitable arm of a Premiership Football Club helping young people break away from gang culture and realise their potential through sport. I would PT clients before and after work and it reached a point where it was a ’now or never’ for creating a job myself as a self-employed PT.
I absolutely love my job which I appreciate can often sound cliché and cheesy, but being able to help people achieve their fitness goals all over the world is an amazing feeling!
Q: How do you set up home workouts in your living room?
LFS: Setting up for a workout (live or my own), I find a space away from my desk! I absolutely love my Swyft sofa because it is actually really space efficient so offers more lounge workout space in an otherwise pretty crowded London flat.
I think taking yourself away from the desk is really important and defining your workout area. I avoid the bedroom as mentally I like to associate this space with sleep rather than workouts. Live workouts are a different beast - lighting takes up about 50% of my lounger space, but for me it's really important that the space is clear and the exercises easy to follow for participants.
Q: Favourite runs and places to workout in London (outside)?
LFS: I am a big fan of any run that allows me to take in nature. I'm not a big urban runner, I prefer to run the Thames river routes or more green areas such as Putney, Wimbledon etc. Saying that, if you can run the usually busy tourist areas during lockdown it is incredible and often feels surreal.
Q: Any advice for beginners starting out on their fitness journey?
LFS: Have a plan and start small! For me, the biggest mistake people make is trying to do everything at once. We throw away the chocolate from Christmas, set over ambitious goals of working out everyday and burn out really quickly.
For the vast majority, three workouts per week is the perfect amount and allows you to really commit to 3 x 40 minute sessions. There are a lot of fad diet protocols, but ensuring you fuel your body correctly with a balanced plate should be the priority. Of course, calories are king when it comes to fat loss, so I always suggest having a good idea of how many calories you should be consuming for your goal!
Give this bodyweight workout a try. It’s just five exercises to work the full body as a circuit. Aim to complete as many reps of each exercise as you can in 30 seconds and complete three full rounds.
- Single-leg lunges
- Jumping jacks
- Decline push-ups
- Seated leg pull-ins
If you’ve enjoyed this and would like more home workouts then head to the London Fitness Guy page.