It seems after a stumbling 2017 start to the gym, I finally got my fitness groove back, and funny how when I feel strong physically, everything else in life arranges itself stronger too. I didn’t stop working out, I simply wasn’t enjoying it but I did it anyway until the love came back. I’m so happy it did, I’m so happy I started drinking Fit Tea. Just kidding, those teas are the biggest farce. You can’t gulp weight away, only money. Anyway, jokes aside, I am exploding with energy this month. I’m eating clean. I’m making it to the gym every night. I’m producing work I’m proud of. In fact, I can barely sleep I have so much enthusiasm, a wild claim from a woman who adores her bed. Even my period this month hasn’t defeated me in the spiteful way it often does. Have I become a super hero? Debatable but I feel pretty close. My superpower? Motivation. I have an infinite supply. I have no idea why. I have no idea how long it will last but I hope it will stay. And in that hope, which is more of a fear, I started thinking about what in my daily routine could be attributed to this motivation surge. So much of our daily mood revolves around minutiae that we often overlook entirely, instead giving tribute to more whimsical things like the planets or the universe. I cannot even count the amount of times I ‘ve blamed a bad day on mercury’s retrograde when truthfully I’m unsure what that even is. I suppose, there is comfort in surrendering power, shifting the blame away from ourselves. (Poor Mercury, surely the most abused planet). But quite like Fit Tea, that seems like a crock of shit to me. We ARE our power. We DEFINE our days. We DECIDE our mood, not mercury, not other people, not the weather or any other culprit you might offer up. And so, with that in mind, for my next fitness post, I decided to analyze my motivation, where it could be sourced from and arrived at some unexpected but true conclusions. A strong body is a strong mind, they connect in a way we never will with the planets, my energy at the gym is reflected right back into my work. And so in collaboration with Primark, here’s are some rather tiny influences in my life that have made me feel mighty, motivated and GREAT.
sex (in the city)
I cannot believe I have managed to recommend watching TV as a way of increasing motivation, moreover in a fitness post! Do I deserve a high five or a punch in the face? Not sure, but hear me out here. I’ve been clocking a lot of hours in, editing alone at my computer with the lovely ladies of Sex and The City for company. If there is one series that makes feel less alone in my priorities, SATC is surely it. It’s a huge dose of female empowerment. Also, have you taken a gander at Carrie Bradshaw’s physique? SJP is a vigourous weight lifter and for as long as I can remember her arms have been a goal of mine. She is svelte but rippling with muscle. Throw in the fictional facts of sex, shoes and forging a successful career as writer… her screen presence in my life has strangely fuelled a lot of my late night jaunts to the gym followed by a frenzy of carrot juice and writing until 2 or 3 am. Motivation can come from anywhere and I’m using a fake persona as proof. Go take a look at Bradshaw’s arms, I promise you will be pulling out your free weights. And strong arms surely equates to stronger, better words flowing from my fingertips, right? I hope so.
I grew up mostly in the countryside, I love the outdoors. Dashing from gym back to my apartment can become mundane and claustrophobic. So much of city life feels boxed in and I often grow to resent these little spaces we operate within. Winter seems to have finally dissolved in Spain, so with spring slowly starting I have been taking my workouts outside to the park or down by the beach. It is invgorating and what a marvellous sensation it is to be sweating in the sunshine after the cold, rainy months. I tend to run faster outdoors too, it feels more liberating to physically decide velocity rather than via the push of a button. Biba gets her exercise in too and then wanders around while I get my hands muddy (or sandy) doing push-ups. I spend too much time in front of my computer, stepping away from the indoors and getting out really improves my mood. It makes me feel alive, and thus, more motivated the next day to go for another run.
You already know, a morning person I am sorely not. I operate in a coffee gulping coma for the first hour out of bed. So this hasn’t been an easy habit to acquire, and yes I have skipped more days than I’d like to admit. But I try to do all my sit-ups every morning as soon as I wake up, straight after my first caffeine dose. It is painful but sit-ups always are, so it’s such a relief to get the hardest, most dreaded component of my day done and out of the way. I do my abdominal exercises on a slanted board, which believe me is a rigourous slice of hell, but it energizes me in a way I’ve never felt so early in the AM. Afterwards, I’ll be fully awake and ready to start work. Previously, I’d dread my sit-ups all day, a waste of thinking – sincerely, how much time do we as women spend dreading important things we must do? Too much time. Just get it done and dedicate your brain power to more worthy causes. Also, on a more superficial note, my never-completely-flat stomach looks most pancake-like in the morning. This means I can actually see my stomach muscles, which is a lovely little motivational peek. They might not be visible most of the time, but it’s a good reminder that they are indeed there and my hard abdonminal work is paying off.
2017 is the year I discovered the power of the OVEN, yes mine was left mostly unused all of last year but wow are we culinary pals now. I have been enjoying the simplicity of throwing salmon, chicken, kale, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms etc in large quantities and leaving it all to bake. I simply drizzle everything with olive oil and crushed garlic, leave it for 45 minutes. No real effort is required, I usually will read while everything is sizzling away . This means I get both my book time in every night as well as a healthy meal. I will then have enough food for both dinner and lunch the next day. Preparing my lunch ahead of time means I’m not frantically seeking out food at 4 pm because I put off eating for too long, it saves time, it saves me calories and I feel so much better for it. I don’t have a lot of time to cook, if I don’t do it at night, I will end up eating out or snacking instead of a real meal. This solid lunch affair I’ve been enjoyinghas reinforced my late afternoon energy levels, which is usually the time of day I am yearning for a nap. Now, I power right through until I finish work at 8 and skip over to the gym. Nourishing ourselves right is the easiest, simplest way to feel better. Make food a priority and you will reap the energy rewards.