Podcast: The importance of exercise for freelancers

Hannah Lewin talked all things fitness on the Freelance Corner podcast. Here are her top tips for getting and staying fit as freelancer.

Setting out on a journey to improve your health can be daunting. With adverts for the latest workout trend or weight loss shake always in our faces, it can be hard to know where to start. Here’s how to keep it simple and start your fitness journey on the right foot.

1. Start with a healthy mindset

Seeing your new exercise regime as a punishment will likely result in inconsistency and potentially giving up working out altogether. Instead, you need to be doing this as an act of self-care. Look beyond weight loss as your motivator and think about the benefits to your energy levels and mental health that could come as a result of better looking after your body.

Reframing why you work out in this way is essential. It will mean you’re much more motivated to go to those sessions and – most importantly – you are more likely to enjoy the activity you’re doing. After all, what’s the point if you’re not having a good time?

2. Don’t go from 0 to 100

Overdoing it in your first few workouts is setting yourself up for failure. If you want exercising to become a long-term habit, give yourself the time to build your routine. Ease yourself into working out in the way that feels natural for you. Again, this should lead to a more lasting lifestyle than if you try and burn yourself out at the beginning.

Often, there can be significant time between somebody considering starting a fitness journey and actually doing their first session. Reduce this mental obstacle by setting a low bar for your first few workouts: just turning up should be enough for now. Recognising your achievements throughout is really important – taking those first steps towards a healthier self should be something you’re really proud of.

3. Find the workout that works for you

Allow yourself to gravitate towards exercises that you like the sound of. Forcing yourself to go running if you’ve always hated it will do nothing for your happiness. Try weight-based workouts to see if they’re a good fit for you.

Experimenting with different exercises one at a time is a good place to start. If you’ve never implemented working out into your routine before, perhaps begin with short walks. Alternatively, you could book in a session with a trainer to help you establish the exercises that suit you.

4. Take advantage of your living room

YouTube boasts such a variety of home workout routines. Explore these if you’d prefer to work out in the privacy of your sitting room than the gym. The best part about this method is that you can find routines that fit in with your day – some are just ten minutes long. To enhance these workouts, you could purchase dumbbells or other home gym equipment for reasonable prices online.

Yoga is also a great (and often challenging) workout to try at home. There’s a myriad of online trainers, but Yoga with Adrienne is a popular choice. She is really encouraging and offers many different types of workouts tailored to particular moods, times, or injuries.

It’s important to make sure that you’re taking advice from somebody who is qualified and has good technique. Research their credentials before taking their tips on board.

5. Track your progress

Diet culture has us believe that progress should equate to instantaneous fixes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking your time to up the intensity of your workouts is the best way to go. Your tracking system should mirror this. Having goals such as aiming to do one workout this week and two the next week is a great place to start.

Taking the focus off weight loss is really important. As you work out more, you can instead record the duration of your workout, rest time, weight lifted, or speed (if doing cardio). There are many apps such as Strong that allow you to input your tracking data. Alternatively, you could just pop it in your diary or in a notebook.

6. What’s the best time of day to work out?

Science says that there’s no biomechanical reason for why working out at one time might be better than another time. You should simply exercise at the day or time that suits you best. Many like exercising in the morning as it gets the workout done before other aspects of the day interfere. This can also set you up properly and boost your mood for the day. However, if you’re not a morning person, working out later might be a better option.

There is often confusion over whether you can work out after eating. Again, this is down to you – if you’re feeling energetic after eating, go for it. If you’re feeling too full to work out, wait it out a while. There are no hard and fast rules here.