Tuesday, 24 January 2017

FIVE WORK OUT TIPS FOR BEGINNERS

The Bleep Test has a lot to answer for. Ask any millennial with an ineptitude for sport and they’ll probably cite it as the reason they skipped PE class for the next decade.  As a teen I always thought exercise wasn’t for me – it was something ‘other people did’. Then, in my early twenties, I moved to London and discovered I had unintentionally upped sticks to the sportiest area of the city - you can’t move for joggers and protein shakes in Clapham. And so the exercise bug infected me (albeit very slowly), but not without it’s teething problems. As a total novice, I was clueless about working out and made every mistake in the book (HI SPORTS INJURIES). So I thought I’d share the tips that I wish I’d had to guide me along the way: 
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1. Take baby steps

When I first started exercising some five years ago, the extent of my exertion was a 10-minute jog around the Common, followed by a trip to Starbucks to stuff my face with a muffin.

These baby steps, punctuated by muffins, eventually led to my running 5k, which then gave me the confidence to join a gym. What I'm trying to get across here is that my progress was very gradual. Nowadays, I do some form of exercise 3 – 4 times a week, which is plenty for me (I’ll never be a daily gym-goer). It’s all about finding your own personal balance and taking your time to build up your fitness slowly.   
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2. Invest in decent kit 

As a novice, I was clueless when it came to gym kit and found sports shops intimidating. Initially, I made the mistake of buying the cheapest sportswear possible. I soon realized the error of my ways; budget leggings reveal more than you bargained for (awkward). 

You also don’t have to spend a fortune – yes, Nike leggings are swaggy, but they’re also £60 a pop. It depends on the activity, but a good starting point is a decent pair of leggings (this pair of Zakti Active Running Tights are brilliant, I have both colours), a sports bra and specialist trainers (go to running shop for a gait analysis to find the right pair). If you’re exercising outdoors, you’ll also want a warm and waterproof yet breathable jacket for the colder months (the Zakti Active Inside Track Jacket is totally shower-proof and looks good outside of the gym too). 
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3. Find the right exercise for you

Initially, it took some gym class trial and error to discover the (glaringly obvious) reason I wasn’t enjoying workouts; I was attending the wrong classes. Being naturally hyperactive, slow-paced classes, such as yoga, are a form of mental torture for me. Discovering Spin classes was a real game-changer – the fast pace, LOUD music and go-hard-or-go-home mentality suit my workout style. Last year I also developed an addiction to Boxfit which amused my friends no end as I now have some little biceps (!) So my advice is to shop around, try as many classes as possible and only attend the ones you find fun. 
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4. Playlist is everything

Ok so I know this isn’t the case for everyone as plenty of people work out whilst listening to podcasts / audio books, but if you’re music-obsessed, don’t underestimate the power of a playlist. I swear I run ten times faster when I’m listening to drum and bass. Pre-workout I’ll always curate my own playlists populated with tracks from the likes of Rudimental, Matrix & Futurebound, Disclosure and David Guetta (trashy it may be, but Nothing But The Beat really is the best running album). Hip-hop is also good, Run The Jewels, Roots Manuva, that kinda thing. [I've linked my favourite running tracks if you need inspiration.] And, if you’re less picky, Spotify also have a plethora of playlists in every genre to save you the hassle.
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5. Make Working Out a Social Occasion

Having always worked out solo, I wasn’t convinced when my friends suggested making Saturday workouts a social thing. I’m quite focused at the gym and don’t really welcome distraction. The surprising discovery? Working out with your BFF's is really fun and motivational. Nowadays my housemate and I do at least one class together a week and we have the best time getting sweaty and perving on instructors (ok, the latter is me). 
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I'm wearing: Shake Shake Hoodie | Dashing Run Tights | The Inside Track Jacket | Physically Fit Vest 

This post was in collaboration with Zakti Active, whose sportswear I really rate. 

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