Muireann Carey-Campbell — better known as Bangs to Boom Cycle regulars and her growing online following — is well-versed in new year fitness intentions falling by the wayside. “I used to be a champion couch potato,” laughs the writer-turned-workout guru (turned writer, again, since her new book launched this month).
Carey-Campbell began exercising at 29 after a decade spent inactive, isolated and unfocused. Then she took up boxing. She’s now master trainer and head instructor at cult spinning studio Boom Cycle and the capital’s go-to for a good-vibes, anti-#fitspo workout on the bike. ClassPass recently named her its most “moving” instructor of the year.
For Carey-Campbell, it’s all in the mindset. “When I started looking at exercise and my body differently, I got into a nice little groove of just building movement into my day in a really natural way,” says the former fitness editor, whose new badass bible, The Pocket Cheerleader, was published last week. The book is a guide to getting moving again — and not just until mid-February when your new gym card starts gathering dust on your dresser.
From daily micro-challenges to ditching your FitBit, here’s her anti-fad fitness guide to keeping those resolutions going all year.
1. Don’t watch the scales
Don’t make your goals weight loss or image related. Instead, try to switch the focus to learning what your body can do and seeing how you can improve those skills. Perhaps you start the year not being able to do a push-up, but by March, you can bang out 10 in a row. Boom! Now we’re making progress!
2. All types of movement count
Hate the gym? Cool, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t for you. It comes in all forms. As long as you’re moving, that’s all that counts. Go to that dance class, have a kick about with your kids in the park, take the dog for an extra long walk. These things are all exercise, sneakily disguised as fun.
3. Go easy on yourself
Not sticking to your scheduled workout for a day doesn’t mean you’ve buggered the whole thing up and should jack it all in. You’re allowed to have an off day. Be gentle with yourself. Tomorrow’s a new day. Try again then.
4. Get a workout buddy
Grab a friend and make it social. Friendship, encouragement and a built-in cheerleader — plus it makes it harder to cancel a workout when you know you’ll be letting your friend down.
5. Set yourself mini-challenges
Aiming to do a marathon or a Tough Mudder are great goals but they’re big challenges and can often be overwhelming. Give yourself small goals: holding a plank for longer, doing as many good quality push-ups as you can in a minute, perfect the yoga pose you’re longing to nail. Shorter goals keep you more engaged in the process and give you more regular reassurance that you’re on the right path.
6. Ditch your fitness tracker
While they can be a great way to stay motivated, fitness trackers can also have the opposite effect, plummeting you into a world of self-doubt if you don’t hit the targets you set yourself. Life is stressful enough. Give yourself at least one workout a week where you ditch the fitness tracker and just move for the love of it.
7. Go watch a marathon
If you don’t want to run one, you should definitely go to watch one. Nowhere else will you witness that level of grit, determination and spunk. Everyone running has climbed a proverbial mountain to even make it to the starting line. If you have a relationship with exercise, you know what it takes to get to the point of being able to take on this massive challenge. So if your own mojo is flagging, cheering on others at a marathon is all the inspiration you’ll need to get it back.
8. Make it fun!
Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment or a chore. The thought of it shouldn’t make you wince. Find an activity you enjoy doing, because while exercise does all sorts of wonderful things for the body, smiling your way through it does great things for the soul.