Here's how to stay in shape in your new schedule.
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There’s something about September, like January, that prompts us to make a change. Perhaps it’s the colour of the leaves, the slight drop in temperature, the ‘back to school’ signage everywhere or the fact we have just enjoyed the last bank holiday before Christmas. No matter what the reason, the shift in people’s attitude is palpable.
And yes, we’re leaving a long hot summer behind us, but there’s no need to approach the new season with caution—getting back into your usual exercise routine can be easier (and more fun) than you think! Check out our four tips to help you ease back into fitness after the break.
Our recent research reveals that half of the nation believes working out with a friend improves motivation and 57% claim it’s more fun, whilst 49% says it even makes time pass quicker. Scientists have also found that working out with a partner or in groups can boost your mood way more than if you work out alone. In some cases, it can even make you work out three times as long. So make sure you choose someone with a compatible schedule to you or with similar fitness goals to get the most out of your fitness routine.
Gone are the days when the only options we had to exercise were on a treadmill or in an aerobics class. There are so many ways to enjoy being active in 2018, so take advantage of all the different workouts and experiences that are available on the MINDBODY app. From aerial yoga to partying on a bike with Ministry of Sound Fitness, all types of classes can help keep you both mentally and physically engaged, even on the busiest day.
Find a fitness activity you can grow with and one you want to improve at to give you a stronger sense of purpose. “Choose to do something where you can build a new skill and master it over time,” says Gideon Remfy, Wellness Director at KX & KXU. “This is not only better for adherence, but also is shown to create a fitter mind and body. Think big, have fun and remember, exercise is for life—not just for September.”
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget to breathe. In between prepping for a new term, returning to work and facing a busier commute (because now the whole country is back to it!) it’s likely you might feel overwhelmed. In these moments, Zoe Bertali, from The Refinery, suggests closing the eyes and observing the breath. “When we are aware of our breath we anchor ourselves into the moment, we are able to tap back into the magic of our bodies and find a little gratitude,” says Zoe. “By controlling the breath, we start to calm the nervous system and bring a bit of balance back to the mind and body. Just to be still can be an amazing way of giving the mind and body a little reboot and a chance to clear some junk.”
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.