Category Archives: Fitness

A new year. A new resolution?

A new year. New resolutions. New challenges.

A new year. New resolutions. New challenges.

It seemed 2018 gave many people, including myself, a rough ride at times.  But with the new year comes a blank page and new opportunities to live our dreams.  New year. New Resolutions. Right? Given January is typically the most depressing month of the year, it’s a good idea to set yourself a challenge so you get a sense of  well-being and achievement when you smash your goal.

Life need not be spent working the same 9-5 job then slumping down in front of the TV night after night.

That is a life in dreary monochrome.

It is depressing and not fixed by setting the same old resolutions such as joining the gym or doing Dry January. Life should be a colourful and  glorious tapestry of all senses. To have a great sense of well-being you should aim to feel fulfilled in your career, have a good strong social network, get plenty of exercise and have lots of fun.

The secret to happiness is a life is full of rich experiences and great people. 

You don’t need max out your credit card on material possessions to keep up with the Joneses.  The latest diet, the new dating app and all the self help books in the world will not bring you happiness.

The first step  is to be totally honest with yourself about what you really love.

Now, I do understand that stepping into your dreams can be really scary at times.

I have been there.  

I moved to Manchester with nothing and no-one and then started a business from scratch.  But trust me when I say it can lead to amazing things.

If you have built a career in the office, it can seem too big a risk jacking it all in to chase your dreams. 

However, just taking small steps can reap big rewards.

Maybe a few dance lessons will light up your life.

Maybe a few dance lessons will light up your life.

Why not start that photography course? Take photos of friends, or when you are out walking in nature.  This will light up your life and all the wonderful windows of opportunity waiting for you.

Have you always poured over Strictly Come Dancing, and secretly wished you could dance?  Maybe you have always wanted to paint or learn more about art. Trying to pluck up the courage to get out and meet new people so you can find your soulmate?  

Well then I guess we are going to have to find a way of making sure you can do all those wonderful things and more 🙂

As for me, I focused too much on work and not enough play!  So this year I am combining my love of travel and adventure by taking myself and my fellow social circlers to the West Coast of Scotland to climb the mighty Ben Nevis.  It is definitely on my bucket list of things to do before I hit the big 5-0 in 2020.

Whatever your dream, it is important to take inspired action. That way 2019 can the best year of your life so far. 

So the big question is – what your your new year resolutions?

Want to get fit and lose weight? Ditch the Gym.

Getting fit and losing weight does not have to mean joining a gym.

Getting fit and losing weight does not have to mean joining a gym.

 

It’s that time again.  You look down at your slightly soggy bits and tell yourself that 2019 *is* the year you will achieve your dream body.  The ‘offers’ from local gyms look so tempting and you sign up for a year long contract without a second thought. The gym gear and protein shakes are on sales and on your shelves.   After all you will go this year, right?  Just stop. You know how this ends. If you want to get fit and lose weight this year: Ditch the gym.  Why waste money on expensive memberships when there is another way. 

Newsflash. Joining the gym is not the key to happiness.

Let us spell this out to you.  

Losing weight will not magically transform your life.

Your weight or shape does not define you, or your happiness. So don’t let any gym advert tell you otherwise.

You may feel miserable about the way you look.  But that is about a lack of self-love and compassion rather than what your body looks like. You deserve to feel happy and loved right now.  Just as you are.

We tell you this because if you tell yourself –I will be happy when …  you will put too much pressure on yourself which will ultimately lead to failure.

Likewise if you are putting off other goals such as joining a dating site or meeting new people until you see the magic number on the scales – you are placing too high a burden on yourself. Placing all those expectations on yourself a means that your inner bully has some real ammunition when you skip a session or have pizza. 

Ironically, allowing yourself to be happy and accepting yourself – just as you are – will lead to you taking steps to improve your sense of health and well-being.

So exercise  or lose weight because it makes you feel good – and in ways that you enjoy-  rather than pinning all our hopes on romance showing up when you hit that magic number.

Is it really a priority?

It is worth mentioning that even if you are carrying a spare tyre, be honest about whether you want or need to commit to achieving your best body now.  

You may find that your focus is best served by focusing on more pressing matters such as money or relationship issues as these often drain us of energy and resources.  Of course, regular exercise can increase your sense of health and wellbeing.  But over committing yourself only leads to burn out. 

If this is the case be kind to yourself.

Focus on your main goals for now as you can decide to exercise more and be healthy any day of the year.

Even if you do want to focus on your body and wellbeing, you don’t need to go to a gym every day or go on a strict calorie controlled diet.  In fact fitness professionals advise against this as you need to rest and recover between exercise sessions. 

Sticking to a consistent routine gives better results in the long run.

Be SMART to be successful.

Do you want to know why most people fail their new years resolutions? It is often because their goals are not Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based.

Saying you need to lose 20lbs is missing key motivating factors. Dropping a dress size by the end of January may not be realistic either. Fails also come from joining gyms or trying out a new diet because you have told yourself you *need* to get fit, or lose weight, when you have no endgame in sight.

Therefore, figure out what you really want. 

Why do you want to get fit?

What will you be able to do when you achieve your goal?

Drilling down on your dreams will give you a better insight.

If you think ‘getting fit’ looks like being able to run a race then  it is better to say ‘I will run my first 10k by June 2019.  Likewise, the goal to lose weight a can be replaced by ‘ I will lose 10lbs by my holiday in April or ‘I will be wearing a size 12 dress to my best friends wedding in September.’  

Even just general goals can be made SMART. I need to get healthy can be ‘ I will incorporate exercise into my routine at least 3 times a week.’ or ‘ I will go out walking on a weekend’.

 

Find your sweet spot.

 Gyms are not bad places, but  be realistic about whether you want to go – rather than thinking you *should* go. For some, the gym is a personal retreat, for others it is clinical and isolating. If you are really undecided you could always get a free pass.

The good news is that there are  fun ways to get fit without joining a gym.  You can achieve your best body ever – but as a side effect of enjoying an overall healthier lifestyle.

walking can help you get fit and lose weight

walking can help you get fit and lose weight.

So lets look at how you could do this;

  • If you find yourself excited by the prospect of a goal such as climbing Ben Nevis, then the best way to train is to get out and walk as much as possible. In fact walking is said to be as effective for weightloss as running and carries less risk of injury.  You definitely don’t need a gym for that.
  • If you would rather exercise in a group setting rather on your own –  Joining a class will give you both a chance to try something new and an opportunity to meet new people.
  •  Signing up for a triathlon or a race?  you could join local running clubs where you will get excellent advice on training and preparing for an event.
  • Maybe you have always wanted to try a new activity and can incorporate that into your fitness goals.  Some of our members swear by Man v Fat football, we also have keen riders and dancers too.

Don’t forget to reward yourself.

No we don’t mean that you can inhale a chocolate bar for simply getting a sweat on.  But you do need to plan rewards for reaching major milestones.  

Aiming for a 10k race?  Why not have a nice massage when you are able to complete 5k. 

Wanting that beach body?  Take yourself on a city break  when you have lost 10lbs. 

Or you could do all these things, meet new people, and try all those healthy new activities right now.

No gym needed.

How to Beat the January Blues.

January! The dark nights, terrible weather and the fact payday is a long way away can really drag the most cheery of folks down.  Not to mention, the excesses of the Christmas season finally catch up on us.  Today, Monday the 15th January is officially Blue Monday.  But don’t let that get you down.  Fortunately, we have rounded up the best ways to put the spring back in your step.

Look after No. 1

If you are anything like us, you probably look as terrible as you feel.  The best way to feel better is to start from the inside. Ensure you get your 7 hours of sleep a night, drink plenty of water and green tea, and eat healthy home-cooked food.  If your cooking skills are lacking, why not join us at a Masterclass and learn how to cook up a storm?

Giving yourself a good old pamper will also lift your spirits. (Yes, gents you too!)  Whether it is a long soak in the tub or a massage, being gentle with yourself will have you back on the road to recovery in no time.

Laugh More!

Science says that a big hearty belly laugh is actually good for you. Laughing floods your your system with feel-good hormones that reduce your stress levels and help you beat off the seasonal coughs and flu.  

If you are feeling so low that you feel you lost your sense of humour, then go out to a comedy club.  Studies show that laughing is contagious so before long you will be laughing so hard your ribs will hurt, and any stress will melt away.

Why not  join us on one of our jaunts to Manchester’s best comedy clubs and you get the added bonus of a confidence boost from meeting new people too.

Book your next Holiday.

There is a wealth of research to suggest that planning and anticipating your next holiday is as good for you as actually going on one. Whilst your post-Christmas budget may be tighter than your post-Christmas jeans, it is surprisingly easy and affordable to plan a European getaway. So within a few weeks you could be exploring the best Europe has to offer.  Now your in-tray does not appear as bad does it?

Did you know Social Circle loves organising exciting weekend breaks?  We know it can be a pain organising everything or even travelling alone. So now you can have a great time exploring new cities with other Manchester-based singles knowing every detail is planned (we even source the best pubs and clubs!). Best of all, our breaks start from as little as £75!

 

5 Ways to Exercise for the Gym-Phobic.

Rather hide under the duvet, than head to the gym?

It’s that time of year again.  That dreaded time where we stand naked in a cold bathroom and stare at the scales in utter disbelief.    We all know the importance of keeping fit and healthy.  If your doctor has not recommended you lose a few pounds, then the endless stream of media telling you that weight loss will make you irresistible/an internet celebrity/immortal* will probably have burned itself to the inside of your eyelids.   

Admit it. You hate the gym. You would rather gnaw off your own arms off than lift weights, and you cannot see the appeal of pounding the hours away alone on a treadmill.

Fortunately, there are numerous gym-free ways of exercising in Manchester that are so fun you may actually enjoy yourself.

 

Get some Action on a Night Out.

 

Not that kind of action! We are talking about bringing a bit of sporting fun to your weekly social with friends.  You can burn 68 calories** playing a crazy golf for half an hour at places like Junkyard Golf.  Hit the bowling alley to lose 100 cals over a few rounds, and tone up those bingo wings at the same time. Just swap the usual beers and nachos for healthier alternatives m’kay.

Strictly Come Dancing.  

If you enjoy Strictly then you may secretly harbour ambitions to get on the dance floor yourself.  We do.  There are lots of dance classes popping up around Manchester where friendly teachers will show you a few smooth moves and let you work up a sweat and meet new people on the dance floor.(197 cals per half hour to be precise)  The good news is you can bring a friend and grab a (low calorie) drink at the same time.  Those of you who love salsa  should join us for a free class. 

Appeal to your Adventurous Side.

If you have always wanted to try more adventurous sports, there are some great places in Manchester to learn the basics.  You can try Kayaking (186 cals)  or Wakeboarding (223 cals) at the Helly Henson Watersports Centre in Salford.  There are indoor rock climbing facilities that can literally show you the ropes whilst you burn off 298 cals.  In Trafford Parks Chill Factore you can learn the basics of Skiing and Snowboarding (up to 298 cals) and go shopping (130 cals!) for your new clothes afterwards.  

Walk the Weight Off.

Walking is free, and you can already do it!  Even better is that it is recommended by medical professionals due its extensive benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes to improving mental health. Make time in your diary for a 20-30 minute brisk walk (83 cals for 30 mins) even if it is just around the block at lunch time.  If you fancy more of a challenge, and want take in some great scenery, why not join us on a hike?  You can burn a whopping 225 cals every 30 minutes which means you can enjoy Sunday lunch with new friends knowing you haven’t ruined your diet.

Pay-As-You Go Fitness

Ok. We admit it. This is slightly gym-like but group exercise can be a great way to work out and meet like-minded people. In Manchester, you can find everything from Ashtanga Yoga (176 cals)  to Zumba (350 cals) available on your doorstep where you can join in with zero commitment, so you could try something different each week until you find a class that suits you.

Psst, on a budget?  Did you know if you cut out a latte and a shop-bought sandwich per week you could not only save a whopping 500 cals per week, you would have enough spare change to go to a class.  If you want to try over 150 leisure activities including gym-free fitness for less than a fiver per week. Click here.

*Slight exaggeration, but it feels that way.

**Cals based on 150lb person for 30 minutes of exercise.  You may burn more or less than this, but it’s all good.