Fitness icon Mapule shares 5 tips to get back on track and achieve your goals in the new normal.
Last year was tough for everyone. The goals we set for ourselves at the start of 2020 were cast aside as the global pandemic wreaked havoc with life as we know it.
But the time has come to refocus our intentions, ditch the excuses and become a better version of ourselves, says @QueenFitnass, Mapule Ndhlovu.
Lost in lockdown
“Most of us aren’t feeling our best. Even those who worked out at home when gyms closed picked up weight due to all the snacking and grazing, and have lost fitness,” explains Mapule, who works as a personal trainer at Virgin Active’s flagship Alice Lane gym.
“And there has never been a more important time to take care of your health and become as strong as possible to fight the virus.”
READ MORE: Lockdown Drives New Mega-Trends In Fitness
Get back on track
Now that gyms have reopened and are operating with Covid-19 compliant protocols, we have more options to regain our lost fitness and get those weight-loss goals back on track.
READ MORE: What Will Gym Look Like After Lockdown?
“Life has changed so much in the last 12 months. Many people have reassessed what’s important to them and have changed their goals accordingly. More people simply want to improve their health, while others are preparing for major life events like weddings.”
If you haven’t done this introspection, Mapule says it’s time to reassess your goals as well.
“It’s the perfect time to set a new target. Just be realistic about what is achievable in the current circumstances.”
Understandably, some people are still worried about coming back to gym. But if the lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that digital works!
“Training at home following online sessions can still deliver results. All you need is the right approach and discipline.”
Participating in online training can also be more cost-effective, which has made expert advice and guidance more accessible to more people.
Whether you prefer the weights room or the comfort of your home, Mapule cautions against jumping straight into your new workout regimen.
“Most of use are far from our pre-lockdown fitness levels,” she says. It’s important to take a sensible approach and ease your way to back to intense training.
READ MORE: Fitness Is Finding A Way In Lockdown
To help you make a safe return to full-on training, Mapule shares her 5 top tips:
#1. Keep moving
“It’s very easy to go from your home office to the couch. That means we’re all spending a lot more time sitting and inactive throughout the day, so we need to start by moving our bodies more.”
READ MORE: Mapule’s Feeling The Boost! Are You?
#2. Get consistent
Forget about intensity for now and focus on consistency. Aim to do some form of activity every day, even it is just a walk around your garden or neighbourhood.
“Maintaining consistency is the key to success with any program. Do something every day to start rebuilding your fitness levels.”
This is also the foundation on which you create the new habits that will eventually make healthy living a lifestyle rather than a short-term approach.
“The systems we implement now will make it easier to get that beach body once we can travel again,” explains Mapule.
#3. Periodise your return
Building on point two, Mapule reiterates how it important it is to slowly build up to where we were before the lockdown went into effect.
“You can’t just pick up where you left off. You need to ramp up slowly and condition your body to regain your lost strength, fitness and mobility.” Taking things too fast will likely lead to injury and set you back.
#4. Be mindful
Unrestricted access to the pantry cupboard and fridge, not to mention all the stress, means we’re eating more.
“We need to regain control of our impulse to eat. Work on being mindful of what and when you munch,” suggests Mapule.
Often, those hunger pangs are psychological, rather than any physical need to nourish your body. But when you do reach for a meal or snack, make sure it’s healthy and waistline-friendly.
#5. Find your fire
We’ve never had more time to try new things and experiment, especially with a world of different workouts, approaches and fitness personalities a simple click away.
“There are so many resources available online. Now’s the time to try different things, explore what’s out there and find a form of exercise that excites you. That is the most powerful way to find your workout motivation and get back on track.”
Mapule adds that buying a few simple pieces of equipment to store at home can also make workouts more challenging.
“I design home workout programs for my clients based on what they have available at home. While we can work with just their bodyweight, adding some resistance offers numerous benefits.”
This insight also speaks to the value in getting guidance from a trained and experienced fitness professional. They will also support you through the process and motivate you to stick to the plan.
“I touch base regularly with my clients to motivate them, especially as we don’t see each other as often. Technology makes it so convenient to train at home, which also means there are no excuses to put off your goals longer!”
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.