14 Aug A Simple 5-Step System to help you Get Fit
Over the years I have tried many different ways to get fit and while some of them worked for me, a lot of ways didn’t. I eventually came up with what I called the ‘Unit System’ and it works for me. Its a very simple system and I assumed lots of people did similar, but after talking to some friends and clients I realised it wasn’t as used as I thought. So today I am sharing my simple 5-step system for keeping fit.
People trying to get fit and struggling usually highlight two main issues:
- Finding the time
- The monotony of the exercise
Finding the time
We’re all familiar with how difficult it is to carve out time in our busy lives. Between jobs, families, friends, keeping our homes in order, any voluntary activity… It can be really difficult to find the time.
Then you have the added disadvantage of not only finding time, but finding specific time. So you love that new kettle bell class but its only on at 5.30pm, and you don’t finish work until 5.30pm, so you’ll never make it. The next class isn’t until 7pm, so then you have to kill an hour in town, so you buy dinner… and suddenly you’re in a vicious circle of getting unhealthy while trying to keep fit.
It’s a catch 22 situation; you need the structure to meet the fitness goals, but the structure is so rigid you can’t manage your life around it.
Listen, I’m as much as a fad fan as the next woman. TRX? Kettle Bells? Cross Fit? We’ve all fallen for the ‘Next Big Thing’. And they’re great, for a while, until monotony sets in. Suddenly the thought of doing the same thing week in, week out, is just DULL! And boring. Suddenly it becomes easier and easier to talk yourself out of a class on a wet and windy 6am Monday morning, and another one bites the dust.
The time thing was always an issue for me, but when I hit the horrible Time + Monotony situation I knew I had to do something. So this is how I developed my simple system.
External Fitness Options List
My schedule has always been a bit odd; working in Events does that. So I had managed to find a few places that had flexible options, at unusual time. For example, my local YMCA did Pay As You Go classes at 7am every morning. These were varied throughout the week, Step Aerobics, Boxercise etc. I’d also found a yoga studio, and I was training at the weekends with Red, who runs different class times that you can also Pay As You Go.
Even with this flexibility, I still couldn’t make structured classes every week, I needed more options.
Self-Directed Fitness Options List
First I found a great Yoga app, (paid), that I could assemble Yoga classes based on my ability, and also what I was hoping to achieve. I could time these to have one 50 minute yoga class at home.
Then I decided I needed to learn how to run, so I did the Couch to 5k programme. It worked and it takes me ages but I can indeed ‘Jog’ 5k.
I found an aerobic instructor online, (Tiffany Rothe), who does short 10 minute videos based on different strength areas. Then I made a playlist of a couple of these videos that I could watch and which took 40 minutes in total to complete.
And I allowed for the fact that I’m not a machine and sometimes fun is fit, so I counted a hike with the family, anything over an hour counted.
Whats the next step in the system?
Soon I had a list of about 10 different ‘units’ of how to get fit. Some were attending classes, others were things I could do at home or with friends. So instead of committing to a 10-week class I’d bail out on after 6 sessions, I developed my own ‘programme’ of options.
Finding the time MAKING the Time
The next thing I did was work out how many ‘Units’ I could commit to every week. In 2015 before I got knocked up, it was 5. Nowadays I aim for 3 a week.
Every Sunday evening I check my diary for the coming week, see where I need to be for work, check if I need a babysitter etc., and I also plan where I am going to fit in my three units.
Since I began the system I moved office to a location a bit closer to my home. Its 5k now, so some mornings I walk to work and count that as a unit. Then I just need to find another 2 slots. Perhaps a jog at the weekend when Red has AJ, and maybe a yoga session one of the evenings that the boss goes down early. The key thing for me is having options.
Make it work for you
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones and this one definitely works for me. It has also worked really well for any of my clients that have used it. Its can also work for other areas of your life that you’re having trouble carving time out for like Personal Development or being more Mindful.
Develop your own System now
- Make a list of 5-10 activities that count as getting-fit options; make sure there’s a good mix of structured options, (such as classes), and things that you can do yourself, such as going for a run.
- Look at your weekly schedule, is there one time a week that you can definitely commit to?
- Can you identify a couple of other ‘Maybe’ Slots that you can schedule on a week to week basis?
- How many ‘Units’ of Health are you committing to completing each week? Set yourself a Goal here, Goals are so motivational, I talk more about that HERE.
- Set a reminder in your phone for every Sunday evening to schedule your Units for the following week and pop them in your calendar.
Some people might find it really obvious, but for me, having my own pick-n-mix of options as well as the freedom to schedule my activity on a week to week basis means I address my two barriers to getting fit, Time and Monotony.
In 2015 when I first started this system I reached the peak of my Health and Fitness ever and it happened quite naturally without impacting on my social life or making me hate exercise. Nowadays its a little bit harder, but its still a great way of keeping an eye on my fitness and setting myself realistic goals.
If you have a system or any questions about my system I’d love to hear them!