Derval O’Rourke, Olympian & creator of healthy lifestyle platform Derval.ie, shares her experience and advice on taking those all-important first steps on your journey to a healthier lifestyle …
Keeping fit is a big part of my life but it needs to slot into everything else I have going on. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, like many people, I’ve been juggling a lot more and trying to squeeze in time for myself has become tougher but it is doable. Whether you’re getting back into fitness after a few weeks or months of a break or you’re a total newbie and don’t know where to begin, my top five tips for getting you started will be a huge help. If there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this, it’s to keep it simple – life can be complicated enough already. Your biggest asset is you, and giving yourself the mental space you need to focus on your own fitness in the coming weeks.
Here are my top five fitness tips to get started:
1. Back to basics in your movements: Think about where your body is at right now and what it is currently capable of. Don’t push it so hard that you will hurt yourself and get turned off fitness, but move it enough to make it work for you. I focus on a few simple exercises that target all the major muscle groups and have ‘getting started’ variations. An exercise that I incorporate into my warm ups is jogging with high knees. If your starting point is at a beginner level, I recommend marching with high knees, ensuring that you’re driving your arms while you move. This is a great movement that we can all do. Aim to do this for 40 seconds, 10 seconds rest, and repeat for 40 seconds – you will be warm I promise!
2. Quality over quantity for your time: I aim for 15 minutes minimum a day. I know this seems like very little but if you are in a fitness slump it is a great place to start. You might be thinking that exercising every day is a bit intense for getting started but consistency in building a foundation will really work for you. Also the habit of moving each day is a really great one to form and will help you reach your goals. Members of my healthy lifestyle platform Derval.ie who are completing my 8 week Beginner Fitness Plan complete a circuit three times per week, with a 15 minute brisk walk on the other days and everyone has agreed that it’s genuinely very manageable.
3. Acknowledge your limitations, turn them into opportunities: We all have lots of commitments in our lives and acknowledging what these are is really helpful to find the opportunities that do exist in your day to day life. If your normal day is quite sedentary find ways to add movement into these days. Add more steps into your day by walking where possible or getting away from your desk for a lunchtime walk. If you are minding the kids all day try to think of activities that increase your movement as well as theirs. Identify the time of the day where you can fit in a home workout and not be disturbed. For me that is early morning or in the evening. Knowing this is my time to focus on a home circuit makes me more likely to do it.
4. Comparison is the thief of joy: I try to minimise how much I compare myself to others online and offline. If you are starting your fitness journey do not compare yourself to other people’s fitness routines, this is your life not theirs. It’s not comparable. Keep a note either on your phone or in your diary every day that records your daily fitness. This is whether you walked, did a circuit or even when you don’t get much exercise done. Each week look back and identify your wins but also be honest with yourself about areas you can improve on.
5. Be open to change: Whether it is trying a new online class or joining a private group to post about your fitness, be open to doing things differently than you have done before. Members of Derval.ie hold themselves accountable in my private members Facebook group, where they post about their good or bad days and this has been a brilliant source of support. I also encourage people to try new types of fitness on site, a great example of this has been my online Pilates classes. Over 1,000 people have tried my online Pilates class in the past who never did it before and they’ve loved it, this has given them a new way to move.
Below is a simple circuit to get you started that you can do anywhere, anytime:
– Jumping jacks
– High knees
– Bum kicks
– Reverse lunges
– Squat pulses
Do each of these for 30 seconds
Repeat by 3
Slow Cooked Sticky Soy Chicken
I love to make this dish on busy days. It’s great because I can just pop everything into the slow cooker in the morning and there is a delicious healthy dinner ready in the evening. Plus the longer it’s in, the nicer it gets. It’s a great lean recipe choice that’s economical too. It’s delicious served on a bed of leafy greens or with some green veggies and brown rice.
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 2-5 hours
? 600g chicken pieces, on the bone
? 4tbsp Soy sauce
? 4tbsp honey
? Thumb size piece fresh ginger, grated
? 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1. Place all of the ingredients in slow cooker and set it to high
2. Leave alone for 4-5 hours.
3. If you’re using a large casserole pot, put it on a low heat (150°C) in the oven for 2 hours.
Check back in next week for the next steps from Derval O’Rourke …
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