Practicing self-care strategies during your workouts and in your free time can help you come back stronger, and in a more peaceful state of mind — not to mention they make exercise much more enjoyable. Compiled from Health magazine, here is a list of tips from top trainers who manage to sweat it out hardcore and still make self-care priority.
1) Try a breathing exercise
“In session, I connect to my breath. I try to practice 4-7-8 breathing [breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven, then exhale for eight] a couple of times every hour to help me reduce stress and regulate my parasympathetic nervous system,” says celebrity fitness instructor Matt Delaney.
2) Warm up, cool down and hydrate
“I practice self-care while exercising by including a dynamic warm-up before any workout and a good stretch after. I also have water with me at all times to stay hydrated,” shares California-based trainer and author of Exercise For Your Muscle Type: the Smart Way to Get Fit, Michelle Lovitt.
3) Get off Instagram at the gym
Holly Perkins, author of Lift To Get Lean, suggests blocking all social media forums out of your mind before checking into the gym. “The most important self-care action I can take during my workouts is to let my mind be in my workout 100%. I’ve had to create a rule so that I am not responding to emails, checking social media, or replying to texts when I workout. If I can escape and truly enjoy my workout, my life is fantastic.”
4) Keep an eye on the 'why'
According to senior lead instructor and gym owner Aly Raymer, it’s all about the whys behind the workout: why are you doing it, what will you achieve, and how will it make you feel. “I am not a numbers-oriented person, so this is a way I track my progress and motivate myself to keep going,” says Raymer.
5) Wear your favourite gear
Look good to feel good! Raymer recommends wearing your favourite sports gear in order to be in full force at the gym. “I am mindful of what I wear. I know that sounds silly, but when I feel good in my clothing and am wearing the right pieces for the workout, I will work out harder. If I am wearing something that doesn't fit well or is too thin, I will be distracted the entire practice.”
“I write in a gratitude journal every single morning, listing three things that I’m thankful for from the past 24 hours, and I also read a passage from a book that a good friend gave me called Journey to the Heart. It helps me get my mind right and I feel a lot more calm before jumping into a busy day,” reveals Emily Abbate, an ACE-certified trainer.
7) Have a Sunday check-in
Every Sunday, ask yourself: “What am I doing to take care of my mind and body this week? Can I add something to my daily routine that will rest or refresh me? Can I take something out that is no longer serving me?” Recovery and regeneration is the often forgotten third leg of a three-legged stool. When we check in both on and off the exercise mat and implement changes that benefit our health wellness, we leave our workouts and enter our personal and work lives refreshed and recovered.
8) Wake up with the birds
“During the week, I set my alarm 45 minutes to one hour earlier than I actually need to get up so I can enjoy some quiet time drinking fresh-ground coffee, enjoying a healthy breakfast, and writing in my journal. Being a small business owner, my days can be long and sometimes a little chaotic. Giving myself a little me time in the morning is a priority. It allows me to start the day off a little slower,” says Becca Lucas, owner of a fitness studio in Houston.
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