SHAPING UP: How to stay motivated with your fitness during lockdown

We’ve been in lockdown for over two weeks now and it’s great to see so many people making a big effort to keep fit at home.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 12:00 am
Write down your goals. Picture: Habibur Rahman

However, if you don’t set yourself some goals and targets you may experience a dip in motivation over the next few weeks (if you haven’t already).

Having a goal is really powerful for motivation; it gives you something to focus on and a challenge to aim for. Without goals, you’ll probably get bored and lose motivation.

Imagine going to a football game and they take the goals away. The 22 players stand on the pitch and just pass the ball between themselves. Nobody can win the match because there’s no goals to score in. Would you go back? You might go back if you’re a die-hard fan, but you’d quickly get bored and give up.

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It’s exactly the same with your health and fitness. You need a goal to give you some accountability, to give you something to aim for, to keep your mind focused and avoid losing motivation.

Here’s 7 tips for setting fitness goals that will keep you motivated during the lockdown, and beyond:

Decide. Think of something you want to do or work towards. Maybe you want to lose weight, or maybe you want to work towards running a 10k. It doesn't really matter what, as long as it's something you want to do - ideally something you're interested in or feel excited by. It should be something you want to do for its own sake not for something or someone else. It can be a big thing or a small thing - sometimes it is easier to get going with something small. And it often helps if it's something that's just a little bit beyond what you currently can do - goals that stretch us can be motivating!

Write it down. Carefully. Writing down our goals increases our chances of sticking with them. Write down how you will know you have reached your goals and when you'd like to have achieved it by. Ask yourself: what it will 'look' like and how will you feel when you've done it? Will affect will it have on other people close to you? Describe your goal in specific terms and timescales e.g. 'I want to run a 10km Race, without stopping, in October, rather than 'I want to be able to run.' Write your goals in terms of what you want, not what you don't want. For example: 'I want to lose 7lbsa and be able to wear my favourite jeans again', rather than 'I don't want to be over-weight anymore'.

Tell someone. Telling someone we know about our goals also seems to increase the likelihood that we will stick at them. You could even share them on social media for more accountability.

Break your goal down. This is especially important for big goals. Think about the smaller goals that are steps on the way to achieving your bigger aim. Sometimes our big goals are a bit vague, like 'I want to be healthier'. Breaking these down helps us be more specific. So, a smaller goal might be 'go running regularly' or even 'to be able to run around the park in 20 minutes without stopping'. Write down your smaller goals and try to set some dates to do these by too. Having several smaller goals makes each of them a bit easier and gives us a feeling of success along the way, which also makes it more likely that we'll stay on track towards our bigger goal.

Plan your first step. Your end goal might seem a long way off, but you’ve got to make the first step. Your first step could be to buy some new workout gear, or go shopping for healthy food. Then think of your next step…and the next…

Keep going. Working towards our goals can sometimes be difficult and frustrating - so we need to persevere. If a step you're doing isn't working, think of something else you could try that still moves you forward, even a tiny bit. If you're struggling, ask people you know for their ideas on what you could do. They may help you see a different way. Thinking about different ways of reaching our goals makes it more likely we'll be successful. If you're really stuck - take a break and then re-read the goal you wrote down when you started. If you need to adjust your goal - that's ok too. Then have another think about a small next step…

Celebrate. When you reach your goal take time to enjoy it. But, be careful not to spoil all of your hard work. If you’ve just reached your first weight loss goal, having a massive takeaway and a bottle of wine is going to set you back. So, think of other ways to celebrate. Maybe you could treat yourself to a new pair of jeans instead?

888 WORKOUT

This bodyweight workout consists of eight 2 and a half minute rounds. The aim is to complete 8 repetitions of the 8 exercises, as quickly as possible with good form. Rest for the remaining time. Then repeat another 7 rounds (8 rounds in total).

8 SQUATS

8 LUNGES

8 BURPEES

8 STAR JUMPS

8 SIDE STEPS

8 WALKOUTS

8 PRESS UPS

8 SIT UPS

Before you try the workout go to the East Coast Fitness facebook page to watch the demo video.

CURRIED CHICKEN BOWLS

SERVES: 4

CALORIES 274 per portion

TOTAL TIME: 2 hours and 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

190 grams low-fat plain yogurt

50 grams grated onion

2 tablespoons mild curry powder

11⁄2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

650 grams boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-2 cm pieces

250 grams cooked brown rice

250 grams cooked quinoa

5 grams chopped fresh coriander

25 grams thinly sliced spring onions

INSTRUCTIONS

Stir the yogurt, onion, curry powder, lemon juice, half the oil, salt and cayenne, if using, together in a medium bowl.

Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and create a foil barrier to divide the baking sheet in half.

Place the Curried Chicken, in a single layer in an ovenproof dish. Roast for 15 to 18 minute or until the chicken is cooked through

Whilst the chicken is roasting cook the rice and quinoa before adding to the bowls with the chicken, coriander and spring onions.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​