Isn’t it a basic instinct to want to do as little physical labour as humanly possible? Why make life more difficult than it actually needs to be? Why did humans even bother inventing such fantastic contraptions as cars and bikes and electronic wheelchairs if we were just going to ruddy well carry on running everywhere anyway?!
That was the philosophy which enabled the formerly chubby Sarah to chortle at the notion of voluntarily making oneself sweat to the point of utter saturation. The Sarah who dreaded sports day as if it were the plague and frequently feigned sickness to avoid participation in PE.
During my early university days I was no different – the only exercise I did was my legendary dance floor routine (I’ll show you another time). But sadly this was insufficient in preventing the 54672920473 (approx.) calories I consumed a day (mostly wine) from clinging on to my increasingly buxom body. I looked terrible. I felt even worse. I was actually making life far more difficult than it needed to be because of a lack of exercise. This was a bizarre notion which somewhat befuddled me.
Reluctantly, I started running. Away from the pasta, the wine and the regret and into my prosperous future. And now, somehow, in a bizarre turn of events, exercise has become somewhat intrinsic to my happiness.
Pinned upon my wall are a set of (very lax) rules by which I try to adhere. Do the same if you are so inclined, if you are not, by all means have another brownie and ignore me. Either way, I just want you to be happy.
Set realistic expectations
While I’m still maintaining that I’m one run away from being Kate Moss (three tops), I do also have some more realistic expectations. Visualise yourself achieving your goals and stay motivated. (In my vision I can literally see myself morphing into Kate Moss the moment I cross the finish line). Seriously though, let’s do this – book a bloody marathon (and by marathon I obviously mean 5k tops).
Don’t compare yourself to everyone else
– That’s just silly. I made the foolish mistake of going for a run with my very tall, very fit boyfriend. I couldn’t keep up, so I gave up. That is the wrong attitude ladies. Set your own pace, do your own thing, make your own rules (whilst obviously following mine, because they’re fabulous). Rumour has it you’re pretty marvellous. So strive to be the best version of YOU you can be, not the best version of somebody else (unless that somebody else is Kate Moss, in which case, fair enough, carry on).
A seriously funky playlist is non-negotiable
I like to change mine up every month. I love Phil Collins as much as the next person (love you Phil), but when running to the same tune again and again I really just wish that I could hurry love. At the moment Rudimental is the man telling me I’m a cool, strong, independent woman who’s not giving in. I often prove him wrong but nevertheless appreciate his efforts.
Keep on Running
Once you’ve left uni recreational drug usage and excessive consumption of alcohol is no longer an acceptable pastime…. (Not that it ever was don’t worry Mum). Ever heard of endorphins? They’ll be your new addiction. The moment they kick in all the gut wrenching pain and misery seems completely worth it. And, if you’re anything like me – you’re going to need all the positive energy you can muster – in order to cope with the impending sense of doom you’ll feel each time you get another rejection letter. Stay active. Stay strong.
Funk it up
Doing the same thing everyday is incredibly dull don’t you think? Sometimes I can’t think of anything worse than putting my trainers on and actually going outside. Luckily I resolutely stand by the fact that dancing alone in your room for twenty minutes to Uptown Funk on repeat absolutely DOES constitute exercise. Get your groove on girl.
Or, if you enjoy having obscenities yelled at you by a tattooed ex marine across a sweaty room (I mean, let’s be honest here – who doesn’t?) then get yourself to Bootcamp or HIIT or something equally heinous. (But ye be warned – if you dare laugh, you will be severely punished, apparently it’s not actually supposed to be funny…)
Don’t deprive yourself of the stuff you love
All fun loving girls enjoy a G&T and a bowl of pasta now and again and should never apologise for that. Fitness is fun, but so is food. Everything in moderation ladies… (Unless we’re talking about coconut macaroons/red wine in which case it’s everything in vast quantities). I enjoy food so much more when I know I actually need it, and after sweating about half of your own body weight, you’ve earned the right to eat chips if you want them. (Not that you have to earn the right to eat chips – the right to chips is paramount with the right to life and I can’t believe The European Convention on Human Rights has not yet been amended to reflect this).
Hydration and Meditation
If only we gulped water with the hearty vigour with which we drink wine. We’d all feel so fresh, so alive! Chug on that aqua the way you chug on a VK at Revs and you’ll be ready and rearing to go.
I don’t mean meditation in the “oooooooooom” sense, I don’t think I could sit still long enough. My “meditation” is more of a combination between relaxation and appreciation. As you cool down look around you – everything seems so much more vibrant – take in that feeling and you’ll want to repeat it.
I love to actually look around, to take a moment to appreciate the fact that I’m outdoors – free and not a fat person enslaved to the sofa (it was a close call though). Even though exercise can be gut wrenchingly painful, thinking about the alternative enables you to appreciate the pain and the misery.
Be glad that it’s hard work, it makes it so much more satisfying when you get to the top. If it were easy everyone would do it – it wouldn’t be desirable at all. Don’t wait, liberate yourself from the clutches of the couch. If you are able to laugh through the sweat, the pain and the tears now – you’ll be doing so for years.
…Well, that’s what I keep telling myself anyway. Get out there gals! And never never never feel bad about having a chocolate brownie or a bowl of chips.