A PEEK AT MY WEEK NO. 25: MAKING EXERCISE A HABIT
I feel like I’m at a serious crossroads in my life. After two years of working independently and taking on a whole variety of different projects, I finally feel like I have found my path and I know where I want to go. I want to focus on both my blog and on interior projects. That’s where my focus needs to be and I am already overwhelmed by the requests I’ve been getting since talking more openly about my décor work. I recently got asked if I would decorate a dental clinic! How bloody exciting and utterly random is that? I love it.
Funnily enough, the “how to get there” doesn’t scare me. I know exactly what I need to do, but you know what I’m really struggling with? The adulting – that whole exercising regularly, feeding myself well, keeping the house clean and staying on top of life admin. I honestly don’t know how people juggle it all.
In the hope that her super-human habits will rub off on me, I’ve been spending lots of time with the wonderful Victoria Sardain, local health, fitness and wellness coach and consultant and just a bundle of energy, positivity and joy.
For those of you who don’t know her already, Victoria is the kind of person who makes you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to and has this incredibly determined drive while also being gentle and thoughtful. She shares a lot of her life and daily routines on Instagram and it always amazes me how amidst classes and back office work for BEAT Fitness (the studio where she works), her personal training clients and her work as a health and wellness consultant, she manages to meal prep every week and exercise regularly (amongst many other things that seem totally unattainable to me).
Towards the end of the summer, I started talking to her about making exercise a habit and a priority because it’s something that I really struggle with.
Much to my chagrin, I am not one of those people who craves exercise, I don’t jump out of bed early to go out for a crisp morning run (although I used to – what happened to that Sofia?) and I actually have to give myself a little pep-talk before heading to an intense spinning class or PT session.
Adamant to change my mindset, I booked one of Victoria’s 21-day habit kick-starter sessions, which is a package of 9 personal training sessions spread over 3 weeks. And I booked it during the busiest month of my entire year – the month before opening the Loxton.
I had this vague idea that if I could make time to exercise regularly during my busiest work period, I would never have a good enough excuse again. While that was a little utopic and unrealistic, I did learn a few things from our sessions together that I wanted to share for anyone else struggling to make exercise a habit.
Find someone whose energy levels work for you
A personal trainer, or whether you like a fitness instructor or not, is such a personal thing and their energy and choice of music has such a big impact on how you feel at the end of a class or session. Victoria has that voice and pace that just works for me and honestly, during our PT sessions, I felt like she was my very own personal cheerleader. It felt like she was pushing me for each individual exercise as well as everything else that I was trying to do work-wise at the time.
If you’re looking for a personal trainer, I’d recommend trying out a few of their group classes beforehand so you can get a feel for them first. People often ask me whose classes I like the best at BEAT and I always recommend Victoria’s RIDE (spinning) or FLOW (yoga) classes, Daniela’s BARRE classes and Enora’s RIDE classes. If you want to book a class at BEAT with Victoria or any other instructor and haven’t been before, you can follow this link to get a free trial with three free classes.
Pay upfront and book ahead
Let’s be honest, working with a personal trainer or attending a group class here in Switzerland is bloody expensive. I never thought a high price point would work in my favour, but it’s actually a huge motivator for me. I learnt that if I book sessions ahead of time and pay for them, I will be there as I won’t let that money go to waste and I don’t want to waste the other person’s time.
Putting “go for a run” in the calendar doesn’t seem to have the same effect – no one is holding me accountable and most importantly, no hard-earned money is going down the drain if I don’t go.
Just walk out the door and get to where you need to be
While Victoria may seem super-human to most, she too admits lacking motivation for workouts from time to time. She told me that sometimes when she wants to go for a run but really doesn’t feel up to it, she just walks out the door and gets herself to the starting point. If she doesn’t feel up to it when she’s there, she can turn back. I gave it a go with Victoria’s PT sessions and you never turn back around once you’re there because that’s the hard part.
Over dinner the other night, one of my best friends said that she felt we should be physically rewarded (you know, with toned abs for example) for the mental effort that it takes to get to the gym. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Adapt to your energy levels
I’m an all or nothing kind of person so if my energy levels are low, I typically won’t go to the gym or sign up for a class. When I was working out with Victoria, she would always judge my energy levels and adapt the session accordingly and remind me that it was better to get moving and do what I could than not do anything at all.
I guess it’s a bit like brushing your teeth, sometimes you brush really well, floss and use mouth wash and sometimes you have a lazy post-night-out-on-the-town brush but it’s doing it every day, twice a day that makes it a habit.
Remember that time you cried
It’s really hard to make exercise a priority when you’ve got a lot on. I find it hard to think that if I haven’t replied to all my clients, haven’t got far enough down my daily to-do list, or am running late on a project, I should still take time to workout. In those moments, I now I think about that time where absolutely everything went wrong with the restaurant renovation and I went for a PT session with Victoria and ended the session in tears. Pushing my body and taking my mind off the work was the best possible release for all the stress and the weight that was on my shoulders. It puts things into perspective and clears the mind.
Who knows how long these learnings will last but I honestly feel like doing Victoria’s 21 day habit kick-starter program did shift my way of thinking about exercise. I have been going to 2 classes a week for a decent amount of time now and it’s starting to feel like a priority. I’m not going to lie, turning 28 and experiencing the natural effects of gravity are also helping to make it feel like a priority.
If you have any questions about working with Victoria or anything about BEAT Fitness, ask away. I hope this has helped anyone else who is struggling to fit in any kind of exercise into a busy work schedule. If you want to follow Victoria on Instagram, her handle is @victoriasardain and have a click through her recently re-designed website to find out more about her work!
See you back here soon. Big bisous xS
Photos by Hannah Shan Photography