By Scott Woodley
I don’t know about you, but every year I start off with the best of intentions. I join the gym, cut out – okay, cut down on – the biscuits and set myself a ludicrously ambitious target for the year: marathons, triathlons and even Amazon jungle exploration have been part of my previously failed plans.
And, in the first week of the year, I am an absolute machine. I run my heart out, do more press ups than ever before and feel great. Seriously, by the end of week one, I look like an off-season, retired, post-night out Freddie Flintoff.
The trouble comes when I go back to work. I’m knackered from the day and, quite frankly, can’t be arsed to go to the gym when I could go home and chill out with a beer in front of Netflix. When it comes to a world of pain or ‘House of Cards,’ there’s simply no competition.
Sound familiar? If so, all hope is not lost!
The biggest issue with exercising, for me, is that the only time I used to try and fit this in my schedule was in the evening. I often pencilled in time to go to the gym at the end of the working day, but, when the time came I’d feel too tired and my scrawled plans were quickly erased.
This year, however, I’ve taken a new approach and have started working out in the mornings. I set my alarm, whose terrifying notes are a lot less forgiving (treacherously so) than my diary etchings, grab a quick bite to eat and head out.
I find each morning when I wake up almost feels like New Year every day and my motivation is higher than any point thereon. Let’s face it, when we wake up no-one thinks to themselves, ‘Okay, today I’m going to be really unhealthy, eat crap, do no exercise and pile on the pounds… bring it on!’ No, each day I wake up with the best of intentions, but, I’m weak.
By exercising straight away, I avoid letting my poor commitment to fitness and the brutal demands of work take their evil hold on my pathetic mind. This has allowed me to keep up my exercise regime (largely) and seems to be the secret to my (partial) success at getting in shape.
And it doesn’t seem to only be me who has found this way of tricking my mind and body. Many other 9-5 workers have started to pull on their their iridescent fitness wear before their suits and ties.
Gyms, and biceps, are bulging earlier and earlier, as workers seek to fit in time for a workout. Like the more evolved early-morning swimmers who seemed to have worked this out years ago, professionals of all levels see their early morning efforts as more conducive to their working lives.
For me, this has largely come in the form of Lucy’s HIIT classes. Wednesday and Friday mornings, when lethargy has well and truly started to hit, sees her run 7am and 7:30am classes.
Lucy is so welcoming and cheerful each morning… until the class starts and she turns into a monstrous torturer (think Smaug meets the Terminator). Seriously though, she’s so encouraging that I find I put in twice the effort that I would on my own. She gives great advice on how to perform each exercise and is patient with those of us who flounder around.
The classes are only thirty minutes long, but by the end of each I’m generally marooned in a sea of sweat and left hyperventilating in a corner. ’Why start your day in such a horrific manner?’ I’m sure many of you will shout, or quietly mumble if in front of fitter friends or colleagues. Often, mid-burpee or whilst attempting a trembling plank, I ask myself the same thing.
But, once the class is over, I’ve wiped myself down, lay in a darkened room, showered, and eaten a copious amount of muesli, I feel amazing. Gone are the stresses of the day ahead, replaced by an enviable feeling of utter smugness. I lord it over my envious/patronised peers and indulgently upgrade from a coffee to a mocha (who cares, I’ve already burnt the calories off earlier!). Life is sweet.
And, when the end of the working day comes… ‘Hello, sofa!’
Scott is the Co-Founder of Tutora (https://tutora.co.uk), a growing startup in the city, which helps learners of all ages find a great tutor.