Ben Greenfield’s Ultimate Holiday Shopping Guide.
Yep, I know, I know. Holiday “gift guide” web pages and holiday product magazines are a dime-a-dozen these days, and pretty much a hodge-podge of random items that some blogger or magazine editor is getting paid to advertise to you. So…how is my ultimate holiday shopping list any different? Well, first, unlike the average gift […]

Yep, I know, I know. Holiday “gift guide” web pages and holiday product magazines are a dime-a-dozen these days, and pretty much a hodge-podge of random items that some blogger or magazine editor is getting paid to advertise to you.

So…how is my ultimate holiday shopping list any different?

Well, first, unlike the average gift guide author who is just hunting down stuff that pays a big affiliate revenue for them to list and sell it, I decided to instead choose, for this gift guide, only products that I actually own and use.

Second, I chose companies that I was able to sweet-talk into giving me some incredible, significant and unique discount codes you aren't going to find many other places, if anywhere. In other words, if you like to save moolah, this list is for you.

Third, rather than just telling you to go buy item X, Y or Z, I'm going to actually fill you in on the nitty-gritty practical aspects of how I actually use said product in my own daily routine.

Finally, I've given you a host of different gifting options and price-ranges that should fit just about any problematic, head-scratcher friend or relative who still remains on your holiday gift shopping list.

So without further ado, here are the products I use frequently, was able to get you a really good discount on, and will give any health enthusiast in your life a big satisfied smile when they open it. If you have more questions about what you should order or how I use any of this stuff, simply leave your comments below and I'll be happy to reply!

1. Beekeepers Naturals Hive Pharmacy Bundle

This year, immunity is on everyone’s wishlist—and you can easily give this gift that keeps on giving to your loved ones with Beekeeper’s Naturals.

Cleaning up the medicine cabinet one science-backed solution at a time, Beekeeper's Naturals is powered by—you guessed it—bees! Their remedies are effective, clean, and contain no refined sugars, dyes, or dirty chemicals.

Take their Hive Pharmacy Bundle, for example. It’s packed with Propolis Throat Spray, B.Powered Superfood Honey, and B.LXR Brain Fuel to help you elevate your every day. Whether you’re feeling run-down or battling brain fog, there’s a bee product in this bundle that can help you feel better. Plus, these best-sellers make the best gifts.

For a limited time, you can take 20% off the Hive Pharmacy Bundle, or any other Beekeeper's Naturals product, when you use code BEN20 at checkout.

The top way I use Beekeepers: get their bee pollen as part of your order. You can sprinkle it on EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. It tastes amazing on salad, smoothies, soups or just dumped into your mouth and crunched on as a low-calorie, immune-boosting superfood. 

Shop Beekeepers Naturals

2. Organifi Green Juice

Support the picky eater in your life's health with Organifi Green Juice.

It's honestly mind-boggling how many superfoods (ashwagandha, moringa, chlorella, matcha, wheatgrass, and lemon balm—just to name a few) the folks at Organifi managed to squeeze into one serving of this gently dried powder.

This stuff tastes delicious in just plain water; takes just 30 seconds to dissolve with no shopping, chopping, juicing, or blending; and is 100% sourced from clean, organic ingredients.

Organifi Green Juice is perfect for someone who doesn't have time to juice, but still wants to incorporate farm-fresh ingredients into their diet and lock in the extra vitamins and antioxidants they may not get from their diet.

You can save 20% on Organifi Green Juice, or anything else on their site, when you use code BENG20 at checkout.

The top way I use Organifi: I have an amazing wild plant pesto (recipe here on Instagram) that I make every week and I began to add a secret sauce to it that amplifies the flavor and nutrient-profile tremendously. That secret sauce is – you guessed it – a heaping scoop of Organifi Greens. 

Shop Organifi

3. Joovv

Giving the gift of healthy red light has never been easier or more affordable than it is right now thanks to Joovv. Since I started incorporating red light into my daily routine, I have more energy and testosterone, I recover from workouts faster, I sleep better, my skin is healthier, I feel positive and motivated after my treatments, and I can hit the workday running.

Joovv is the only brand I use, and their new generation of devices are sleeker, up to 25% lighter, and packed with new features, like these first-of-their-kind light therapy modes:

  • Recovery+ Mode: Utilizes pulsing technology to give your cells an extra boost to recovery from a tough workout with rejuvenating near-infrared light.
  • Ambient Mode: Enhances sleep with lower intensity light you can use to light a room at night or in the early morning without all the artificial blue light that messes with your sleep and circadian rhythms.

The new devices are currently in pre-order status. For an exclusive pre-order discount, just use code BEN at checkout. (Exclusions apply.)

The top way I use Joovv: Though I stand in front of my giant Joovv panel every morning, if you get a chance to use this thing either A) pre-sex; or B) pre-workout, it is a total game-changer. Let's just say the blood flow enhancement is mind-blowingly impressive. Of course, take your clothes off before you use it. The more skin exposed the better.

Shop Joovv

4. Paleovalley Grass Fed Organ Complex

Liver, aka “nature's multivitamin,” is an excellent source of iron, phosphorous, zinc, copper, selenium, and vitamins A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12. The only problem (for organ-meat-fearing people) is that enjoying the health benefits of liver involves, umm, eating liver.

Thanks to Paleovalley, anyone can now enjoy all of the benefits of organ meats without actually buying, prepping, and cooking organ meats. In addition to liver, Paleovalley's Grass Fed Organ Complex contains…

  • Heart, which is abundant in vitamins A and B12, CoQ10, folate, iron, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, glycine, and proline. (It's also the #1 food source of copper.)
  • Kidney, one of the best sources of selenium (which helps support immunity, blood flow, thyroid function, and fertility), is also an excellent source of vitamins A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 as well as phosphorus, zinc, iron, and copper…

…all from healthy, grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. This amazing trifecta will give anyone on your list an instant surge of energy, enhanced immunity, and all of the vitamins and nutrients our hunting ancestors used to enjoy—in convenient capsule form.

You can save 15% on this “swiss-army knife” of supplementation as well as their delicious 100% grass-fed beef sticks when you use code BENGREENFIELD15 at checkout.

The top way I use the organ complex capsules: Break them open and stir them into bone broth with some sea salt and the squeeze of a lemon. I do this almost every day as a “side” to my lunch, and can literally feel the energy hitting my bloodstream almost instantly. It's nature's multi-vitamin, baby.

Shop Paleovalley

5. Vuori Ponto Performance Pants

Imagine walking around in super-soft, silk-like pajamas, but at the same time looking amazing, like you just stepped off of a fitness model photoshoot set.

Any item from Vuori is guaranteed to please just about anyone on your list, but their Ponto Performance Pants, in particular, are truly top-notch in terms of style, comfort, and functionality.

I play tennis in them, run, do HIIT kettlebell workouts… and pretty much any time I'm traveling (which I do sometimes), I'm typically wearing something from Vuori.

As you can see, Vuori's Ponto Performance Pants can take you anywhere and everywhere. Made with buttery-soft Dreamknit™️ Fabric, they blend both comfort and performance, making it the ultimate gift for anyone on your list.

You can get 20% off Ponto Performance Pants, or whatever your first purchase from Vuori is, automatically when you use my link below.

The top way I use my Vuori pants: I like to do “cold thermogenesis” walks with my shirt off in the winter. These pants are *just* warm enough to keep my junk from freezing, and some of the few joggers that look decent even if you're not wearing a shirt, fellas.

Shop Vuori

6. Kion Coffee

There are few gifts more perfect and well-received than good, high-quality, coffee, and—in terms of quality, flavor, and aroma—it doesn't get much better than Kion Coffee.

Let me tell you really quick what makes Kion Coffee so special: For starters, it is sourced from 100% organic Arabica beans that are grown and harvested on sustainable, fair-trade coffee cooperatives. Then, we go one step further and test each batch to ensure it is free of mold, mycotoxins, and pesticides. (Yes, as shocking and gross as it may sound, most coffees out there are not free of these contaminants.)

If you've got someone caffeine-sensitive on your list, don't worry, Kion still has you covered.

Using the unique “mountain water process,” we have recently produced the purest, smoothest decaffeinated coffee you're ever going to taste. It's still the same, certified organic, specialty grade, mold-free, delicious coffee, just with almost zero caffeine.

Save 20% on your first purchase of Kion Coffee, Kion Decaf Coffee, or anything else on the site, when you use code BGF20 at checkout.

The top way I use Kion coffee: Well, *ahem*, there's this.

Shop Kion

7. Ra Optics Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Give the gift of better light with Ra Optics, manufacturers of the absolute best blue light blockers I've found.

What makes them so special?

While most lenses on the market do not block any meaningful amount of the most damaging wavelengths of light (despite having hefty marketing claims), Ra Optics excels at actually eliminating these wavelengths completely with two models to choose from (that come in a variety of styles):

  • Day Lenses reduce strain and damage to eyes from screens and artificial lights, while increasing energy levels and keeping hormones balanced.
  • Night Lenses improve sleep quality by aligning your circadian rhythm and increasing your body's natural production of melatonin.

To save 10% on any pair of Ra Optics Blue Light Blocking Glasses, just use my link.

The top way I use Ra: get one yellow daytime pair and wear it during the day. Amazing for screen glare, headaches from device usage, etc. Then get a red pair for nighttime. That's my one-two combo and it works perfectly.

Shop Ra Optics

8. Dry Farm Wines

Don't be “that guy” who rolls into holiday parties with a $5.99 bottle of wine you snagged from your local liquor store a few minutes before arrival. If your friends don't notice right away, they definitely will the next morning when their hangover hits.

See, there are 70+ FDA-approved additives that could be lurking in your bottle of bargain Cabernet or Rosé. Yes, contrary to logic, wine often contains more than just fermented grapes. So, if you're clueless about wine and don't want to subject your loved ones to harmful and hangover-inducing additives, allow the wine connoisseurs at Dry Farm Wines to do the work for you. The good folks at Dry Farm Wines…

  • Find organically-grown, natural wines from small family growers…
  • Independently test all of their wines…
  • Taste each and every bottle (tough job, I know) to ensure they're all refreshing and delicious…
  • Ship your wine to you in curated selections–for free.

With their special holiday gifting options, you can send 3, 6, or 12 bottles of reds, whites, or both as a one-time order. Or, for someone who's been extra nice, you can send a subscription of 6 or 12 bottles on the schedule of your choosing.

The best part is, Dry Farm Wines offers a 100% Happiness Promise, meaning they will replace or refund any wine you don’t love, no fees or loopholes.

The top way I use Dry Farm: I *actually* do indulge from time-to-time and have more than one drink. Although I don't do it often because the calories add up, I can actually drink *an entire bottle* of Dry Farm and get zero hangover. Listen to my podcast with Todd White in which we discuss why this is.

Shop Dry Farm Wines

9. Chilisleep chiliPAD & OOLER Sleep Systems

Is your spouse always cold, but you “run hot”—or vice versa? Do they (we'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say “unknowingly”) steal the covers from you in the middle of the night, or complain that they couldn't sleep because the room was too hot…while you were snug as a bug?

End nighttime temperature quarrels with your loved one once and for all, and finally get a good night's sleep with a chiliPAD or OOLER system from Chilisleep.

Even if you don't have conflicting temperature requirements, ChiliSleep technology can assist with:

  • Increasing sleep quality + quantity…
  • Resetting your circadian rhythm…
  • Increasing natural melatonin production…
  • Activating brown fat (the fat that burns fat)…
  • Eliminating night-sweats…

You can save 22% on an OOLER or chiliPAD system with code BEN22. They also have heating/cooling weighted blankets, pillows, and more.

The top way I use OOLER: I keep mine at 55 degrees all night, but then I also got their super cool gravity blanket, which I put on top of me, and which has it's own separate water tube, so I get cold on the bottom, then cold *and* weight on top. It's like sleeping in a cold, dark cave.

Ship Chilisleep

10. Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil

Olive oil as a gift? It's actually perfect for that person who “has everything.” Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil is practical, healthy, and—most importantly of all—delicious!

Harvest-fresh EVOO is virtually impossible to find in supermarkets, which is why my good friend T. J. Robinson (he also goes by “The Olive Oil Hunter ®,”) searches the world for the best small-farm extra virgin olive oils, then flies them straight from the new harvest at their peak of flavor and nutritional potency.

I was honestly shocked when I got to try real olive oil for the first time. It's a spicy, complex explosion of flavor and I now know why they're so darn healthy over there in the Mediterranean. Once you try it, you'll realize what you were missing!

T. J.’s harvest-fresh olive oils are pricey, normally $39. But the super-fresh flavor will blow you away.

When you use my link, T. J. will send you a $39 bottle free if you’ll pay just $1 to help cover shipping. Try a free bottle and discover for yourself how top-of-the-line artisanal EVOO is meant to taste. No commitment to buy anything, now or ever. It’s a super deal from a great little company you can trust.

The top way I use Fresh Press EVOO: It actually works as an amazing face moisturizer. Just smear some on after your next bout in the cold or sun exposure and it instantly returns moistness and color to your skin.

Shop Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

11. Apollo

With Apollo, you can give the gift of feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually safe.

Sounds, crazy, I know, but this thing actually works.

Created by a board-certified psychiatrist and translational neuroscientist, Apollo is an indispensable and safe tool for increasing mental performance under stress, access to meditative states, relaxation before bed, and more.

What I like most about the Apollo is that it has a setting for almost any purpose (even increasing physical endurance), and the device is only getting better!

By using inaudible sound frequencies (which people could feel against their skin, but not hear) Apollo actually induces a flow state, like people experience when they are deep in meditation. It does this by inducing your nervous system’s parasympathetic state (rest and digest) the same way human touch can.

Remember how a hug from your mom made you feel when you were a kid? This device channels that same energy, but in a much more high-tech way. In a parasympathetic state, your body is safe so you can respond, not react, to stress.

Save 15% on Apollo when you use my link below.

The top way I use Apollo: It's a total nap and meditation biohack. I write about how to do that in a very unique way here

Shop Apollo

12. Levels

Have your cake and eat it too—and get real-time feedback on how it impacts your health.

Levels has taken world of continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGM) to an entirely new level. In addition to making it easy to get a CGM through their website, the Levels app automatically scores your meals and lifestyle choices so you can finally understand what is and isn’t healthy for you.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, maximize exercise performance, or build a diet that’s optimized for longevity, real-time blood sugar data is critical. I’ve been using CGMs to personalize my diet for a couple of years now, and I’m thrilled to finally see the technology go mainstream.

They’re also backed by a world-class team including a Stanford MD, top engineers from SpaceX and Google, and metabolic health pioneer (and repeat podcast guest of mine) Dom D'Agostino.

Levels currently has a waitlist of over 55,000 and is running a closed early access program. Fortunately for you, when you use my link, you can skip that line and join Levels today.

The top way I use Levels: For one week, track your blood glucose after EVERY MEAL. I did this, and subconsciously shifted my eating habits to be the healthiest I've ever eaten. There's just something incredibly self-satisfying about eating a meal that doesn't spike your blood glucose and actually *seeing* that on an app. It's like healthy eating motivation on steroids.

Shop Levels


So that's it!

Hopefully, this holiday shopping guide will serve you well as you begin your shopping. And hopefully my insider tips helped too. 

From bee-powered superfoods… to ultra-comfy performance pants… to delicious, organic, energizing (or not-so-energizing) coffee… to solutions for better sleep… and everything in between, I tried to include something for just about every type of health-enthusiast out there.

Now it's your turn.

I made this list, and I checked it twice—but if I happened to miss anything, or if you have any great gift ideas to share, please leave them in the comments section below, along with any questions you might have about any of the products mentioned above. 

click here to discover more

How to stay fit forever : 25 tips to keep moving when life gets in the wa

When it comes to exercise, we think about how to “get” fit. But often, starting out is not the problem. “The big problem is maintaining it, ” says Falko Sniehotta, a professor of behavioural medicine and health psychology at Newcastle University. The official UK guidelines say adults should do strength exercises, as well as 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 60 minutes of vigorous activity, every week. According to the Health Survey for England in 2016, 34% of men and 42% of women are not hitting the aerobic exercise targets, and even more – 69% and 77% respectively – are not doing enough strengthening activity. A report from the World Health Organization last week found that people in the UK were among the least réactive in the world, with 32% of men and 40% of women reporting inactivity. Meanwhile, obesity is adding to the chronic long-term diseases cited in Public Health England’s analysis, which shows women in the UK are dying earlier than in most EU countries.

We all know we should be doing more, but how do we keep moving when our détermination slips, the weather takes a turn for the worse or life gets in the way ? Try these vingt cinq pieces of advice from experts and Guardian readers to keep you going.

Work out why, don’t just work outOur reasons for beginning to exercise are fundamental to whether we will keep it up, says Michelle Segar, the director of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center. Too often “society promotes exercise and sport by hooking into short-term motivation, guilt and shame”. There is some evidence, she says, that younger people will go to the gym more if their reasons are appearance-based, but past our early 20s that doesn’t fioul détermination much. Nor do vague or future goals help ( “I want to get fit, I want to lose weight” ). Segar, the author of No Sweat : How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, says we will be more successful if we focus on immediate positive feelings such as stress diminution, increased energy and making friends. “The only way we are going to prioritise time to exercise is if it is going to deliver some kind of benefit that is truly compelling and valuable to our daily life, ” she says.

Get off to a slow startThe danger of the typical New Year resolutions approach to sport, says personal se reproduire Matt Roberts, is that people “jump in and do everything – change their diet, start exercising, stop drinking and smoking – and within a couple of weeks they have lost motivation or got too tired. If you haven’t been in shape, it’s going to take time. ” He likes the trend towards high-intensity interval training ( hiit ) and recommends people include some, “but to do that every day will be too intense for most people”. Do it once ( or twice, at most ) a week, combined with slow jogs, swimming and fast walks – plus two or three rest days, at least for the first month. “That will give someone a chance of having recovery séances alongside the high-intensity workouts. ”

You don’t have to love itAdvertisementIt is helpful not to try to make yourself do things you actively dislike, says Segar, who advises thinking about the genres of activities – roller-skating ? Bike riding ? – you liked as a child. But don’t feel you have to really enjoy exercise. “A lot of people who stick with exercise say : ‘I feel better when I do it. ’” There are elements that probably will be enjoyable, though, such as the physical response of your body and the feeling of getting stronger, and the pleasure that comes with mastering a sport.

“For many people, the obvious choices aren’t necessarily the ones they would enjoy, ” says Sniehotta, who is also the director of the National Institute for Health Research’s policy research unit in behavioural science, “so they need to look outside them. It might be different sports or simple things, like sharing activities with other people. ”

Be kind to yourselfIndividual détermination – or the lack of it – is only part of the bigger picture. Money, parenting demands or even where you live can all be stumbling blocks, says Sniehotta. Tiredness, depression, work stress or ill family members can all have an impact on physical activity. “If there is a lot of support around you, you will find it easier to maintain physical activity, ” he points out. “If you real in certain parts of the country, you might be more comfortable doing outdoor physical activity than in others. to conclude that people who don’t get enough physical activity are just lacking motivation is problematic. ”

Segar suggests being realistic. “Skip the ideal of going to the gym five days a week. Be really analytical about work and family-related needs when starting, because if you set yourself up with goals that are too big, you will fail and you’ll feel like a failure. At the end of a week, I always ask my clients to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Maybe fitting in a walk at lunch worked, but you didn’t have the energy after work to do it. ”

Don’t rely on willpower“If you need willpower to do something, you don’t really want to do it, ” says Segar. Instead, think about exercise “in terms of why we’re doing it and what we want to get from physical activity. How can I benefit today ? How do I feel when I move ? How do I feel after I move ? ”

Anything that allows you to exercise while ticking off other goals will help, says Sniehotta. “It provides you with more gratification, and the costs of not doing it are higher. ” For instance, walking or cycling to work, or making friends by joining a sports club, or running with a friend. “Or the goal is to spend more time in the countryside, and running helps you do that. ”

Try to allie physical activity with something else. “For example, in my workplace I don’t use the lift and I try to reduce fax, so when it’s possible I walk over to people, ” says Sniehotta. “Over the course of the day, I walk to work, I move a lot in the building and I actually get about 15, 000 steps. Try to make physical activity hit as many meaningful targets as you can. ”

Make it a habitWhen you take up running, it can be tiring just getting out of the door – where are your shoes ? Your water bottle ? What route are you going to take ? After a while, points out Sniehottta, “there are no longer costs associated with the activity”. Doing physical activity regularly and planning for it “helps make it a sustainable behaviour”. Missing sessions doesn’t.

Plan and prioritiseWhat if you don’t have time to exercise ? For many people, sérieux two jobs or with extensive caring responsibilities, this can undoubtedly be true, but is it genuinely true for you ? It might be a question of priorities, says Sniehotta. He recommends planning : “The first is ‘action planning’, where you plan where, when and how you are going to do it and you try to stick with it. ” The deuxième type is ‘coping planning’ : “anticipating things that can get in the way and putting a plan into place for how to get motivated again”. Segar adds : “Most people don’t give themselves permission to prioritise self-care behaviours like exercise. ”

Keep it short and sharpA workout doesn’t have to take an hour, says Roberts. “A well-structured 15-minute workout can be really effective if you really are pressed for time. ” As for regular, longer séances, he says : “You tell yourself you’re going to make time and change your schedule accordingly. ”

If it doesn’t work, change itIt rains for a week, you don’t go course once and then you feel guilty. “It’s a combination of emotion and lack of confidence that brings us to the point where, if people fail a few times, they think it’s a failure of the entire project, ” says Sniehotta. Remember it’s possible to get back on track.

If previous exercise regimes haven’t worked, don’t beat yourself up or try them again – just try something else, he says. “We tend to be in the mindset that if you can’t lose weight, you blame it on yourself. However, if you could change that to : ‘This method doesn’t work for me, let’s try something different, ’ there is a chance it will be better for you and it prevents you having to blame yourself, which is not helpful. ”

Add resistance and balance training as you get olderAdvertisement“We start to lose muscle mass over the age of around 30, ” says Hollie Grant, a personal training and pilates instructor, and the owner of PilatesPT. Resistance training ( using body weight, such as press-ups, or equipment, such as resistance bands ) is important, she says : “It is going to help keep bourrinage mass or at least slow down the loss. There needs to be some form of aerobic exercise, too, and we would also recommend people start adding balance défis because our balance is affected as we get older. ”

Up the ante“If you do 5k runs and you don’t know if you should push faster or go further, rate your exertion from one to 10, ” says Grant. “As you see those numbers go down, that’s when to start pushing yourself a bit faster. ” Roberts says that, with regular exercise, you should be seeing progress over a two-week period and pushing yourself if you feel it is getting easier. “You’re looking for a change in your speed or endurance or strength. ”

If you have caring responsibilities, Roberts says you can do a lot within a small area at home. “In a living room, it is easy to do a routine where you might alternate between doing a leg exercise and an arm exercise, ” he says. “It’s called Peripheral Heart Action training. Doing six or eight exercises, this effect of going between the upper and lower body produces a pretty strong metabolism lift and cardiovascular workout. ” Try squats, half press-ups, lunges, tricep dips and glute raises. “You’re raising your heart rate, sérieux your groupes de muscles and having a good general workout. ” These take no more than 15-20 minutes and only require a chair for the tricep dips – although dumbbells can be helpful, too.

Get out of breathAdvertisementWe are often told that housework and gardening can contribute to our weekly exercise targets, but is it that simple ? “The measure really is you’re getting generally hot, out of breath, and you’re working at a level where, if you have a conversation with somebody while you’re doing it, you’re puffing a bit, ” says Roberts. “With gardening, you’d have to be doing the heavier gardening – digging – not just weeding. If you’re walking the dog, you can make it into a genuine exercise séance – run with the dog, or find a route that includes some hills. ”

Be sensible about illnessJoslyn Thompson Rule, a personal se reproduire, says : “The general rule is if it’s above the neck – a headache or a cold – while being mindful of how you’re feeling, you are generally OK to do some sort of exercise. If it’s below the neck – if you’re having trouble breathing – rest. The key thing is to be sensible. If you were planning on doing a high-intensity workout, you would take the pace down, but sometimes just moving can make you feel better. ” After recovering from an illness, she says, trust your instincts. “You don’t want to go straight back into training four times a week. You might want to do the same number of sessions but make them shorter, or do fewer. ”

Seek advice after injuryClearly, how quickly you start exercising again depends on the type of injury, and you should seek advice from your doctor. Psychologically, though, says Thompson Rule : “Even when we’re doing everything as we should, there are still dips in the road. It’s not going to be a linear progression of getting better. ”

Take it slowly after pregnancyAgain, says Thompson Rule, listen to your body – and your doctor’s advice at your six-week postnatal checkup. After a caesarean section, getting back to exercise will be slower, while pregnancy-related back injuries and problems with abdominal groupes musculaires all affect how soon you can get back to training, and may require physiotherapy. “Once you’re walking and have a bit more energy, depending on where you were before ( some women never trained before pregnancy ), starting a regime after a baby is quite something to undertake, ” says Thompson Rule. “Be patient. I get more emails from women asking when they’re going to get their stomachs flat again than anything. Relax, take care of yourself and take care of your baby. When you’re feeling a bit more energised, slowly get back into your routine. ” She recommends starting with “very basic stuff like walking and carrying your baby [in a sling]”.

Tech can helpFor goal-oriented people, Grant says, it can be useful to monitor progress closely, but “allow some flexibility in your goals. You might have had a stressful day at work, go out for a run and not do it as quickly and then think : ‘I’m just not going to bother any more. ’” However, “It can start to get a bit addictive, and then you don’t listen to your body and you’re more at risk of injury. ”

Winter is not an excuseAdvertisement“Winter is not necessarily a time to hibernate, ” says Thompson Rule. Be decisive, put your trainers by the door and try not to think about the cold/drizzle/greyness. “It’s the same with going to the gym – it’s that voice in our head that make us feel like it’s a hassle, but once you’re there, you think : ‘Why was I procrastinating about that for so long ? ’”

Keep it bite-sizeAlex TomlinI’ve tried and failed a few times to establish a consistent running routine, but that was because I kept pushing myself too . Just because I can run for an hour doesn’t mean I should. Running two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes each time has improved my fitness hugely and made it easier to fit in.

I keep a grande bag of Midget Gems in my car to motivate myself to get to the gym, allowing myself a handful before a workout. Sometimes I toss in some wine gums for the element of surprise.

I tapped into the vast network of sport podcasts and online communities. On days I lacked drive, I would listen to a fitness podcast, and by the time I got home, I would be absolutely determined to make the right choices. In fact, I would be excited by it. Your brain responds very well to repetition and reinforcement, so once you have made the difficult initial change, it becomes much easier over time.

I have kept a “star chart” on my calendar for the past two years, after having three years of being chronically unfit. I put a gold star on days that I exercise, and it’s a good visual motivator for when I am feeling slug-like. I run, use our home cross-trainer and do a ski fitness programme from an app. My improved core strength has helped my course and ability to carry my disabled child when needed.

If, like me, you need to get up early to exercise or it just doesn’t happen, move your alarm clock away from your bed and next to your kit. Once you have got up to turn it off, you might as well keep going !

I have one simple rule which could apply to any sport activity – I do not allow more than four days to elapse between séances. So, if I know I have a busy couple of days coming up, I make sure I run before them so that I have “banked” my four days. With the exception of illness, injury or family emergencies, I have stuck to this rule for 10 years.


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