To say the last 2 months have been a whirlwind for me would be an understatement. I tried, but admittedly failed miserably,  to maintain a routine while spending 3 days a week out of the country, and as a result my anxiety and confidence took a huge knock.

Managing a huge project in Ireland saw me taking 2 flights a week, for a duration of 6 weeks, all with my band of merry men in tow.  While I managed to keep somewhat of a structure throughout this time – mainly professionally to ensure I didn’t get completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task at hand (i.e. lose my shit) – my personal life remained somewhat chaotic and as a result, so did my fitness and diet. I divided my time during the 4 remaining days a week between sleeping, unpacking, repacking, washing clothes, working in the office, attempting to have a social life and sleeping some more. I did get in at least 1 gym session a week, however it felt more like a chore and lacked any structure. I aimlessly walked into the gym and found solace in the stair-master and squat rack week after week.

It was such a far cry from my usual routine; methodical gym sessions 3-4 times a week, meticulously planned meals and set meal times. My body was literally, and metaphorically, picked up and flown out of its comfort zone. I never had myself down as an anxious flyer, however the last few months have made me realise I am. As a result my IBS would be agitated and by the time my body would adjust to ‘normality’ I would be back on the plane ready for another flight.
A top tip: anyone that suffers with IBS, Senocalm is an absolute god send!

Throughout our countless trips to the hospital for work, I did manage to avoid catching a bug though, so alongside the promotion I got recently, I think avoiding a hospital stay has got to be up there in my top accomplishments!
All hail hand sanitizer!

Learning to GYM

Getting back into the full swing of things is always hard. I could feel gym fear creeping in for me at the thought of returning to the gym ‘properly’; I’d seem to have momentarily forgotten what the best tricep exercises are, or how best to strengthen my lower back muscles.

Learning to gym is much like learning how to ride a bike. You start off with stabilisers, these could be in the form of a personal trainer, a gym class, or your friends – let’s call them Charlie and Jamie (gender neutral names as I like to keep things PC here at Squats and Sunsets). You go to the gym with them, learn how best to use a variety of machines and perform exercises with the right technique until you build up the confidence and knowledge to go at it alone. Naturally, being out for a while means gym fear can creep up on you without you even realising. You may need to borrow some stabilisers for a few weeks/months, but your confidence will build up again before you know it.

If you’re completely new to the gym, try some home workouts or going to the gym at off-peak times to avoid the testosteronefuelled grunting men that can be intimidating for any new, or frequent, gym goer.

Snap back to reality, OH there goes gravity:

Breaking from a routine that I had been following for a good 6 months was a little haphazard for me: I was 90% asleep 100% of the time, feeling as though I wasn’t seeing friends and family enough and I could tell I was losing the definition I’d spent a long time working hard on in the gym. The realisation that metabolisms are earned hit me square in the face when I realised I couldn’t maintain my physique without working out like my body was used to. As a direct result, my confidence started to dip: I felt demoralised that I was eating healthily and yet was losing my condition and I found myself wondering if I will be able to feel confident on my upcoming holiday.

I’ve now fully returned to my pre-Ireland routine and I couldn’t be happier. Never did I think a full weekly shop for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat would bring me so much contentment. My confidence is on the rise once again and not only do I feel more alert during the day, I’m eating a and sleeping better.

I never knew how much a messy routine would affect my general health and well being. If you lack, or have a messy structure to your lifestyle I would strongly suggest sitting down and planning your week ahead. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, simply making a note on the calendar of your phone of things you plan on doing will go a long way in improving what may be a lack of routine in the way you approach your fitness and health.

So to sum up: we’re having fun, you look young

(10 brownie points if you got that reference!)

The moral of the story here is to create a lifestyle and a routine that you is not only manageable, but you are happy with; don’t over do, yet always try to challenge what your body, and mind, is capable of. Don’t view the gym as a place you go to punish yourself for eating a cookie, or somewhere you dread going because you don’t enjoy it. There are SO many ways to be active and healthy; lifting weights or running on the treadmill isn’t for everyone. Instead, go to a fitness class, try a new dancing class, go swimming, or do some exercise in the privacy of your own home.

However which way you choose, just try to keep it regular. Say to yourself that every Thursday you will go swimming, and every Tuesday is pilates. Don’t let the fear and anxiety of exercising creep up on as the effects can be detrimental to your physical, and mental, wellbeing. Give Charlie and Jamie a call and get back onto the metaphorical saddle!

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