Kick-start your fitness journey in 2020

Top tips and tricks from presenter Emma Willis!

January is a time for new beginnings and resolutions, a month when many of us turn our attention towards gym sessions and getting fit for the New Year (after hoovering up the last of the mince pies and pigs in blankets from December!).

Whatever your goals are, at Places Leisure our aim is to help you achieve them and provide encouragement during your fitness journey – whether you’re already well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle or looking to make some changes in 2020. 

To that end, we’ve put together some workout tips and tricks to kick off the New Year in the right way – with a little inspiration from presenter Emma Willis, who has recently launched her first sportswear range with Next.

Take it week by week

For some people (particularly those starting out), approaching fitness on a week-by-week basis is more manageable than setting up a monthly or three-monthly plan. School runs, client meetings and social events can get in the way of gym sessions and throw plans into disarray – which is why it’s often more realistic to work on a week-by-week basis.

Use Sunday night to plan your exercise for the next seven days. One or two workouts may be possible some weeks, while three or four might be feasible in other weeks.

I start with being realistic and that is by looking at fitness week by week and judging how much time I have available to train. So sometimes I train one a week, sometimes twice, sometimes three times so it’s on a week by week basis. I prefer to look at it like that so I don’t get stressed out by not doing as much every week as I’d like to. The main thing is to not put added stress on myself”, says busy mum-of-three Emma Willis.

For the first couple of weeks, try exercising at different times of day to see what fits with you and your schedule. What’s important to remember is that everybody’s different and what may work for your friends or colleagues may not work for you.

Emma, for example, prefers morning workouts. “If I leave it till the evening then I find I don’t end up doing it”, she says.

Find an exercise you enjoy

If you’re lacking the motivation to work out, it may be because you haven’t found the right exercise or sport. If you’re unsure where to start, our teams will help you find what’s right for you, or you can have a look at the website on your local centre for inspiration.

Plus, our centres offer free trial passes too – a great way for you to try different activities. It’s also a great way to mingle with people of a similar fitness level and even strike up friendships.

It’s important to view fitness as more than just an activity to help you look good; it’s helpful for strength and maintaining a good physique as you get older. This is something that Emma feels strongly about too: 

I go to the gym so I can be strong and stay able as I get older. It’s not about vanity but just looking to the future and staying strong

Emma Willis
Stay healthy outside the gym too

Exercising is just one of the key components of a healthy lifestyle. Start 2020 off on the right foot not only by being more active, but also by eating better.

Emma says, “When I’m trying to be really good then I’ll do a sugar-free January because you consume so much in December with Christmas time

If going sugar-free in January doesn’t feel manageable, settle for simply eating healthier throughout the day, selecting nutrient-rich foods to fuel your body.

I’m eating really healthily at the minute. I usually have an omelette for breakfast, then salad or soup for lunch and then for dinner we always cook something that is nutrient rich. Like homemade stews or roasted vegetables with some meat

Start tracking what you’re eating and make an effort to substitute unhealthy treats for healthier alternatives (like replacing chocolate with coconut yoghurt, almond butter and cacao powder - Emma’s favourite healthy dessert alternative):

It makes this kind of nutty mousse and we have it with strawberries! It’s so good but we don’t put too much cacao powder otherwise it becomes too nutty, maybe just the tip of the teaspoon

We have a tendency nowadays to put enormous pressure on ourselves, to fulfil unrealistic goals and to compare ourselves to others we perceive to be 'performing better' – but this isn’t healthy because everybody’s goals and capabilities are different.

Hopefully our quick tips will help you to have positive outlook on fitness for the New Year! If you’re keen to nab some new workout gear, check out Emma Willis’ latest sports collection.

If you enjoyed this blog you may enjoy our "Take on the winter blues" blog too! Find out more tips and tricks on building your winter resilience inspired by useful advice from the NHS!