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These Are the Feel-Good Fitness Mantras Every Woman Should Follow

easy breathing exercisesWhile New Year resolutions are a great jmping-off point for beginning – or restarting! – your fitness journey, some well-intended goals can also fizzle out fast due to the unnecessary pressure to stick to them. A more sustainable approach is to introduce wellness and exercise habits which will keep you feeling good and staying motivated, says wellness advocate Louise Nichol. The former magazine editor-turned-fitness authority, Nichol now coaches spin classes at the UAE boutique fitness studio CRANK and is preparing to launch a new sportswear label, Allez Kit, with Dubai-based designer Barbaranne Heaton. Read on to discover the fitness and exercise mantras that Nichol swears by for a healthier lifestyle in 2024.

Photo: Louise Nichol for CRANK at Museum of the Future

Reconsider your priorities
By focusing on what is really important at a fundamental level – your physical and mental health and wellbeing – it becomes easier to prioritize beneficial movement and activity, letting go of drains on your time and resources that do not serve you. It took me to my 40s to make this switch and it has to happen in your own time. Just remember, it’s never too late – don’t let society dictate how you live your life. We only have one.

Do what you love
Think about your workout in more abstract terms than the actual movement. What is it that gets your endorphins flowing? It might be being out in nature, in which case horse riding or hiking will lift your soul. For me, it’s nightclub-style high energy music and community, so spinning in the dark while surrounded by likeminded cheerleaders to a banging soundtrack never feels like something to be suffered through.

Get those Zs
Sleep is the single most important element of healthy living for me. Get that right and I will be energised to bound out of bed early, work out enthusiastically, and my nutrition choices will stem from fuelling my body rather than chasing a destructive cycle of sugar highs and lows to try and beat tiredness. The bad news, you will have to sacrifice late night socialising (most of the time!), but if you find a workout tribe to become your community then fitness and friendship will go hand in hand. Get your sleep right and your fitness and nutrition will follow suit.

 

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A post shared by Louise Nichol (@louisenichol)

Find your rhythm
Time of day is key. Are you a morning or evening person? I have to work out first thing and have put structures in place to ensure that happens every day. From going to bed early, to organising school drop-offs, I will be in the gym first thing every day. Eventually it will become like brushing your teeth – an essential part of your routine that you don’t think twice about. If I have to choose between working out and washing my hair, I will work out (and grab some dry shampoo!).

Don’t skip breakfast
Start the day with protein. I have eggs, smoked salmon, full fat cottage cheese, avocado and cherry tomatoes for breakfast every day. Protein and healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar stable and avoid energy crashes, while keeping you feeling full.

Spend smart
We are all limited in time and money, and the wellness industry is charged with extracting both from us. Before spending either time or money on treatments that may or may not have any real effects, step back and consider whether you might benefit more by simply going for a walk or a run on the beach while listening to a podcast.

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