Susannah Taylor: Stuck in an exercise rut?

Recently, I didn’t just stumble, I fell right off the fitness wagon. I’ve exercised three times a week for years, but work, parenting and the mania of real life post-lockdown pushed my fitness habits right out of the window, and, boy, did I notice it. When I don’t exercise I feel stagnant, my anxiety levels creep up and I feel overwhelmed. And I’m not alone – speaking to friends, it seems motivation is at an all-time low. Suffice to say I used all the tools I’ve learnt over the years to get my fitness back on track. If you’re struggling to exercise, here are my top tricks…

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Choose matter over mind

I know the situation well. You tell yourself that you’ll go for a run/to the gym first thing but when it comes to it, you make any excuse to skip it. My trick is to stop, see that your brain is the devil on your shoulder, put your trainers on and just do it (as Nike would say). Focus on what matters (getting fit), not what your mind is thinking. Override the brain chatter.

Walk out of the door

We all have those days when it feels like an invisible wall is stopping us from getting going. In this situation, put your gym kit on, go outside and shut the door before you have time to think. You’ll feel too much of an idiot to turn back. Note: if you really do feel unwell, leave it.

Lie to yourself

Sometimes we can build up the idea of a run or a workout into the size of a marathon. The antidote is to tell yourself you’re going for a short walk or to the gym for a few stretches. When you get down to it you will undoubtedly do more. This is what fitness coach Bebe Beachus (@bebefitnesscoach) does if she’s having an off day. ‘I don’t put too much pressure on myself,’ she says. ‘I start with something easy or that I like and, before I know it, I get into it.’ If she only does 20 minutes, that’s OK. ‘Every little bit of fitness helps – it’s always worth it.’

Set goals

Whether it’s Couch To 5k or there’s a dress you want to get back into, goals are proven to keep you accountable. So commit to something and keep it in mind when your motivation is wavering.

Upgrade your fitness wear

That greying pair of leggings and holey T-shirt are not going to inspire you to get fit. When I dress better (even in the gym), I feel better about myself, which makes me more likely to feel energetic.

Prioritise it

‘I’m too busy to exercise’ has to be the top fitness excuse. The reality is that we are ALL busy, but the ones who prioritise fitness are the ones who stay on track. Pilates teacher Chloe Hodgson (@chloespilates) says she makes her workouts nonnegotiable – she puts them in her diary and does not move them.

Download a new playlist

Even your favourite songs can grate when you’ve listened to them too many times. So if your playlist is tired, it’s time to get a new one. Bebe says she uses music to motivate her before she goes to the gym as well as in it.

Hold on to the high

When she’s feeling unenthusiastic, Chloe (as do I) reminds herself of how good she feels after a workout. ‘I know that I never fail to feel great,’ she says.

No nasties? No sweat

I tell everyone I can about Wild’s deodorant. It is aluminium-free, uses natural ingredients and genuinely keeps stinkiness and sweat at bay. It also comes in refillable plastic-free packaging. There is now a sensitive range, too, for delicate skin. From £12,

Comb away your stress

Kansa combs have been used in Ayurvedic practices for hundreds of years. Created by master craftspeople, kansa is a metal alloy that is said to act like a magnet between the scalp and the underlying tissue, activating healing energy, relieving stress and inflammation. Grow Strong Kansa Comb Massage Tool, £82,