Everyone starts their health and fitness journey determined to form new habits and create a consistent lifestyle.
But it's equally true that everyone falls off the wagon from time to time. Sometimes, you might fall off when you have a busy work schedule, and this lasts a mere few days. Other times, life gets absolutely crazy and you wake up one day struggling to remember the last time you exercised.
To top it off, it can be incredibly difficult to get back on track.
But don’t stress, you are not alone in this struggle. Our Coach Rachel Dillon shares her tips for getting back on track in your health and fitness journey.
Keep reading to find out what systems you should put in place to find your mojo again, and discover Rachel's approach for maintaining a healthy routine.
Keep it simple
No matter how long you’ve been off the wagon, it’s very likely that you're feeling overwhelmed by the very idea of getting back into your fitness regime.
Take a deep breath and remember how far you’ve come already. You’ve done it before, and you can most definitely do it again.
Rachel says: "I find that most people over-complicate the process, which is certainly not helpful. Instead, I like keeping it short and sweet".
Rachel follows these 5 simple steps:
- Assess your Nutrition
- Plan a Training schedule
- Work on your Sleep routine
- Drink plenty of Water
- Account for Movement
You can remember these 5 tips with the mnemonic, Never Trust Someone Without Manners.
Step 1: Assess your nutrition
Nutrition is always the first priority when getting back on track - and for many people, it’s also the hardest part of the checklist. After all, training will take 90 minutes or under on most days, whereas nutrition is something you need to keep considering constantly.
Rachel recommends focusing on hitting your calories, closely followed by consistent daily protein intake. Calories are king, as your energy balance is what ultimately determines the way your physique is going to be changing.
Your protein intake is incredibly important too when you’re performing intense workouts, as it ensures muscle preservation, growth and recovery. When it comes to carbs and fats, it’s totally fine to be more flexible - so long as you’re still having adequate amounts of both.
Tip: Rachel usually follows the same Meal Guide for at least a week at a time. Planning her meals in advance and sticking to the same selection for a few days helps you stay consistent without overthinking your routine.
Step 2: Plan a training schedule
The secret to fitting training into a busy lifestyle is scheduling it in, just like you would add an important meeting to a calendar.
Tip: Don’t over-commit! There’s a big difference between setting ambitious goals and setting yourself up for failure by putting too much on your plate. Be realistic and plan something you can stick to consistently.
When planning your training schedule, ask yourself the following questions:
- “How many sessions per week can I do?”
- “When am I going to train?”
- “What is my current training focus?”
You want to know exactly at what time you’re going to set up your workout, how many sets and reps and of which exercises you’re going to do, and what equipment you’ll need to have ready.
The MWU App provides you with a set training plan with your workouts organised by week, and gives you the flexibility to customise the plan to suit your lifestyle.
Always allow yourself to be flexible within your training - having a clear back up plan is also part of the plan. For example, if someone is hogging the only squat rack in your gym, opt for dumbbells instead or find an exercise swap in the App.
Step 3: Work on your sleep routine
Sleep is one of the most underrated tools when it comes to health and fitness.
As much we always hear how important it is to have a great sleep routine, many don’t give sleep hygiene the attention it truly deserves. As a result, everything from general health, to exercise performance, and cognitive functioning starts to suffer once chronic lack of nighttime rest accumulates.
Here are Rachel's tips if you want to develop a better sleep routine.
Keep your sleep schedule consistent - this means going to bed and waking up roughly at the same time each day, even on weekends. Once you’re used to the schedule, your biological clock will adjust and you will want to hop out of bed naturally at your set time, before the alarm goes off.
Have a “wind down” routine. At least 30-60 minutes before bedtime, put your screens down and start winding down, whether it means doing a pre-sleep meditation, reading a book, or listening to a relaxing sleep story. If you find yourself tossing and turning trying to fall asleep, bring your full attention towards your breathing, focusing on drawing out long, deep breaths and scanning your body.
Avoid anything that keeps your thoughts buzzing. Don't hop back on your phone or chuck on a tv show if you can't fall asleep. You are much better off handling any issues in the morning, well-rested and focused.
Step 4: Drink plenty of water
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water - to maintain temperature, transport nutrients, remove waste, or lubricate joints, not to mention the beauty benefits too.
To put this in perspective, water makes up 85% of our brain, 80% of our blood and 75% of our muscles, so staying hydrated is not optional.
For most women living in temperate climates, about 2.7 litres of fluids a day is a great goal. You don’t have to get all of it from plain water, but if you choose other beverages, ensure you’re not overloading yourself with caffeine throughout the day, and you account for any additional calories coming from your drinks.
Eating foods with high water content can also help reach your hydration goals, whether it’s a few slices of watermelon or a warm bowl of soup.
Tip: Get yourself a big water bottle (that holds 2 - 2.5 L ideally), and aim to drink most of it by 3 pm to ensure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day.
Step 5: Account for movement
This is especially important if you have an overall sedentary lifestyle outside of your workouts.
Structured exercise is amazing and healthy, but it’s important to make a conscious effort to also move more throughout the day, as it contributes to your overall well being.
"I typically aim to hit 5000-8000 steps depending on my day. I also aim for 4 beach walks a week for the soul".
Depending on your fitness goals, we recommend a step target as a guide to help you achieve your desired results faster. You can track your daily steps towards your goals in the MWU App.
"We really underestimate just how in control we really are.
"I always knew to achieve what you wanted you needed to work hard, but never did I know how hard and how consistent you had to be".
Falling off the wagon happens to the best of us, so don’t beat yourself up. Remember that only you truly hold the power to get back on track, and build new habits to make your dreams and goals a reality.