With the holiday season behind us, finding the motivation to hit the gym or go for a run is often a challenge. But picking up or returning to a healthy lifestyle in January does not have to be a slog. In this guide, we highlight some tried and tested tips to help you get your routine up and running, along with some common mistakes you should avoid.

Start Slowly

You may be a little rusty coming into the new year, so it’s important to start slowly to avoid injuries and to keep up the motivation. Depending on your current level of fitness, begin with a number of weekly sessions as low as one, and start with short, easy workouts. Slowly work your way up, increasing frequency, duration and intensity as you improve. Always follow a training plan, as this will help you stay disciplined when you have a specific goal in mind, and will optimise your results.

Set Yourself a Goal

The key to training successfully (and what many of us struggle with) is discipline. It can be hard to motivate yourself after a long day at work or when the weather is bad. This often leads to abandoning your fitness regime altogether. While completing a workout always makes you feel good, the best way to motivate yourself is to set yourself some goals. Do you enjoy lifting weights? Set yourself a target and gradually build up your strength. If spin classes are more your thing, set a time or distance that you want to achieve. The same goes for running; why not sign up for a local race or that (half-)marathon you always dreamt of completing?

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Technique is Key

While you might not be at your fitness peak after the holiday season, it is a great time to work on your fundamentals, whether you’re just getting started or resuming your training. Technique is in most sports the basis upon which you can develop your abilities. Getting it right is therefore key to enhancing your results down the road. Improving your pedalling technique on the bike, your foot strike on the treadmill or your weightlifting form is guaranteed to make you faster, stronger and will get you further once you’re in prime shape. The internet is full of great content for autodidacts, but attending classes or working with a personal trainer can also be very effective ways to master the specific set of skills you seek to acquire.

Warm Up and Cool Down

The importance of a proper warm-up and recovery should not be underestimated, regardless of the duration and intensity of your workout. Warming up allows your muscles to stretch and your heart rate to increase, enabling your blood vessels to expand, facilitating blood pumping and oxygen intake while reducing the risk of injuries. Cooling down by jogging, cycling or stretching will allow your body to transition smoothly into a state of recovery, particularly after a demanding workout session. It will decrease post-exercise muscle soreness and increase flexibility, help to release those “feel-good” endorphins, eliminating lactic acid, and avoiding any dizziness or even nausea you might experience when turning the gears off abruptly.

Whenever possible, you should dedicate about 15-20 minutes to both warming up and cooling down. If you’re short on time, keep in mind that a short warm-up is better than no warm-up at all. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

TREAT YOURSELF

The best part of setting yourself a new challenge is undoubtedly getting the gear to achieve it. It would be a shame to let your equipment hold you back when you’re willing to put so much effort into your preparation, so why not treat yourself with a new outfit? Whether you’re an all-weather athlete or prefer the warmth of indoor training, our curated assortment of sports apparel, footwear and accessories is waiting to carry you throughout the year. Discover the newest collections from Adidas by Stella McCartney, Casall, Asics, New Balance, 2XU, Puma and many others. Stand out from the crowd and dive into 2020, head first.

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