If you're not one of the 10.6m people that follow Kayla Itsines on Instagram, let us introduce you. Kayla is an Australian personal trainer and co-creator of the global fitness phenomenon, the Bikini Body Guides (BBG). Named the world’s most influential fitness identity, Kayla has workout and healthy eating guides which are hosted in the fitness app, Sweat.
Passionate about helping women become healthy, strong and confident, Kayla and her fiancé, Tobi Pearce, created the world’s largest and most supportive online female fitness community. In addition to the BBG program, Kayla has also published two books — The Bikini Body 28-Day
Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide and The Bikini Body Motivation & Habits Guide.
Each month, Kayla will be sharing her tips for living a happy and healthy lifestyle. In her first column, Kayla has shared her advice for staying fit and healthy over the holiday period.
During the holiday season, maintaining a workout routine can be difficult. A break from training can make it hard to restart, even if you’ve been exercising regularly. Add in the challenge of cold weather, trips away, lots of parties or opportunities to socialise and it’s no wonder it can be a struggle to find your motivation again.
There are many different reasons for wanting to improve our health and fitness but fluctuating motivation levels are something we all have in common. I think the question I am asked the most is how to stay motivated, and sadly there is no magic trick to increase
I want to help you learn how to create habits and to become disciplined so that you can continue a consistent routine, even on days when your motivation levels are low.
Motivation isn’t always enough
That’s right — motivation isn’t the whole answer. Maybe you think you’re missing the motivation chip. You’re not. Motivation is unreliable, your motivation levels can fluctuate frequently throughout the month, the week or even the day. There are many things that can influence motivation levels, such as your mood or the environment. Being able to leverage the motivation you do have and coupling that with good habits gives you a much better chance at succeeding.
For all of us (me included), there are going to be times when you don’t feel motivated to train or to eat well. This is something I explored in detail in my book, The Bikini Body Motivation And Habits Guide. Developing a disciplined approach makes it easier to get through these moments. Because it can be hard to know HOW to get to that point, I wanted to share some tips to help you get started.
Step one: Reflect on where you are
Before you begin to implement changes to your routine, reflect on where you are right now because how you feel can be an indication of what’s going on in your body. For example, if you have a headache or you are struggling to concentrate, it can be a sign you haven’t had enough water. Learn to observe when your body is giving you cues — it is really good at it.
As you become more in tune with how you feel, you’ll start to notice how particular behaviours or choices can have a negative effect on you. That makes it easier to start making small changes to your routine — which leads us to the next step.
Step two: Break down your goal into smaller increments
If you want to get into a workout routine, start small. Take a short walk to get used to moving your body again and build on from there. This approach is beneficial for two reasons:
1. It is easy to convince yourself to go for a quick walk because it’s not a huge commitment and it’s something almost everyone can do.
2. A walk gets your blood flowing and can help clear your mind. It makes you feel better because it can lift brain fog and energise you, which means you are more likely to do it again. Getting back into a routine doesn’t have to be complicated or a huge time commitment.
One reason why my BBG workouts are so popular is because they can be done in just 28 minutes, three times a week. It sounds achievable (and it is!) because short workouts can fit almost any schedule!
Step three: Focus on consistency
There are so many demands on our time that it can be hard to regulate your behaviour and to become consistent with a routine. Developing strong healthy lifestyle habits means you need to make a conscious effort to do so.
You can do this by slowly increasing the number of workouts you are doing per week and tracking them. Each time you complete a workout, tick it off.
You will be surprised by how much this small action can encourage you to keep going.
Step four: Plan for failure
It might sound counterproductive but learning how to cope with interruptions and setbacks is crucial to success. To keep your motivation levels high, it’s important to acknowledge that setbacks happen but they don’t have to completely derail your progress. This is particularly relevant during the holidays when routines are harder to stick to.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, say to yourself, ‘I need to take a day off to rest today and tomorrow I am going to get back into my exercise routine.’ That way, you’ve planned for a change to your routine. There’s no feeling of defeat for missing a session, so it’s less likely to compromise your motivation level.
When you really need workout motivation, remember that small strategies can lead to big results. Focus on making a small change that helps you to feel better each day and build on those choices. That way, you begin to develop habits that benefit you and when you do this consistently, it helps you to feel your best.
See you next month for more health and fitness tips!