I’ve never been much of a gym-goer. I used to pay for memberships, get stuck in a contract for a year and go for a month before my holiday thinking I’d be super slim and bikini ready within that time. These days I’m much more realistic and determined to look and feel my best, not just in summer.

As a woman, I think you hit a certain age where it’s much easier to put weight on rather than lose it and I’ve noticed this over the past few years. My issue is, I struggle to diet. I’ve tried before to cut out all bad foods from my diet and stick to salads, veg, fruit etc. and I’ve put way too much pressure on myself which ultimately ends up in me stopping the diet and going all out binge! I’d never try any of these fad diets because I don’t think they’re healthy and they seem to be a ‘get slim quick’ option which I know isn’t good for your health. This time around I’m doing what’s right for me!

Living abroad I didn’t go to the gym, they were too expensive monthly and I’ll admit I didn’t do much exercise but Jake and I went walking for hours on a weekend so I classed that as my cardio, however I did put on weight, being sat in an office all day and eating what I wanted. When we moved back to the UK I knew one of the first things I wanted to do was get a gym membership. I felt a bit down about myself and wanted to get back to feeling fit and healthy. Before moving away I went to GymWorks in Chorley and whilst it was a good gym and it was a cheap membership I wanted to try somewhere different, so I decided to join Bolton Arena with Jake. A few of our friends had already joined with the same mission as me, to get healthy and trim so it’s much easier going knowing I have people to work out with. Circumstances have changed also. I now work from home with Creative Individuals so I enjoy going to the gym to get out of the house, plus I have a wedding to get ready for and even though it’s 2 years away it’s best to get trim now and keep it up.

I tend to go to the gym around 3 to 4 times a week mainly weight training because I’m not the biggest fan of cardio (even though I know I need to do it). Me and Becki (my gym partner) follow a weekly routine with different exercises for each day of the week incorporating upper body, legs and abs and we both really enjoy it. A quick tip for any new gym-goer, save pictures on your phone of each exercise, because it’s easy to forget the names of them! Now I’m used to this routine I can start switching it up a bit, whether that’s adding more weight or trying new exercises and I feel much more confident trying different routines now. The huge benefit of having a gym membership is the classes available. I only have time to do one a week so Becki and I chose Boogie Bounce, best decision ever! It’s exercise on trampolines, how good does that sound! The first class was tough and it does take some time to get used to exercising on a trampoline but it’s so much fun and once you’ve done a few classes you really get into the swing of things. Our instructor mixes it up a lot meaning you’ll do different routines every few weeks and even though it’s really exhausting, because you’re having so much fun you don’t realise until the end when you’re all red and sweaty and out of breath.

When it comes to diet, I wouldn’t say I’m on one. I like to keep it balanced. I’m a sucker for bread which I could never cut completely out of my diet, so instead of cutting it out I’ve just cut down a little. For example on curry night (every Thursday night in our house) I’m cutting out any snacks and bread because I know I get full just from the curry. That’s my tactic going forward, instead of stuffing my face I’m eating just enough and keeping it relatively healthy. Sometimes I’ll have a salad for lunch, sometimes I’ll eat chocolate in bed. Balance. One major factor of putting on weight is alcohol and in recent years I’ve started enjoying a few beers at the weekend which is one of the worst alcoholic drinks for your belly fat so I’ve decided on cutting down the beers I drink and replacing it with something slightly less calorific like G&T (because I’m not cutting alcohol out completely, I’m not crazy!). It’s the little changes that make the difference.

I’ve been going to the gym for about 2 months now and I have to say I’m already feeling and seeing a difference! My fitness levels are much better and this shows as I was able to climb Ben Nevis a few weeks back, which I didn’t think I’d be able to do! The biggest difference in my appearance is my belly, arms and face, the three main areas I had been slightly self conscious about. My face naturally became slimmer when I started exercising but for my belly and arms I’d been focusing a lot of my exercises on these areas in particular, knowing this is where most of my insecurities lie as I wanted to feel better in myself. If anyone is interested, I’ll breakdown my gym routine below as it’s really helped me these past couple of months. I’m not saying this routine will fit everyone but it’s definitely a great starting point to find what routine best fits yourself.

MONDAY

(4 Sets, 15 Reps)
Incline DB Press
Arnold Press
Reverse Fly
Skull Crusher
Rope Push Down
Cable Fly
10 Minutes of Abs

TUESDAY

(4 Sets, 15 Reps)
Glute Bridges
Weighted Glute Bridges
Glute Kickbacks
Dumbell Lunges
Sumo Deadlifts
Leg Curls
10 Minutes of Abs

WEDNESDAY

BOOGIE BOUNCE
(45 Minutes of Cardio)

THURSDAY

(4 Sets, 15 Reps)
Deadlifts
Dumbell Hammer Curls
Lat Pull Downs
Seated Rows
10 Minutes of Abs

When I’m not able to go to the gym, usually because of time, I find routines that I can do in my back garden. Most people would go for a run but I really don’t enjoy running and find myself getting bored so instead I like to make up my own routines that can be done in 30 minutes, with little or no equipment in my back garden. I get a lot of inspiration from Gabby Allen and Lucy Mecklenburgh as I follow them both on Instagram. They post short clips of quick HIIT routines that anyone can do. I tend to take a few exercises from their videos, incorporate my own and make up my own routines. I did one last week and I couldn’t straighten my legs properly for about 3 days (sounds intense but I’m quite soft so that’s probably the reason why!) It’s really hard for some people to get in to exercising regularly and I used to be that person saying how much I hated exercise and i couldn’t get in to a routine. Now I’m in a routine and regularly working out I’m actually really enjoying it, which I never thought I’d say!