ᵃᵈ Kickstarting healthy habits is hard, isn’t it? The January new year, new you ‘let’s make resolutions’ bandwagon doesn’t work for me.
Instead I need a bit of gentle motivation to remind me that I enjoy going to the gym, and my social life doesn’t have to suffer, works wonders.
The lovely team at Whiteley Shopping Centre knew I needed a bit of a boost post accident and invited me to spend the day discovering the great shops and to have dinner at one of the restaurants to help me get motivated.
Here’s how I spent my day, the new gym kit I picked up and where I had a spot of dinner…
Top tips for gym motivation
I don’t know about you but, for me any healthy habits have to be lifestyle changes so, my first step this year is to get back in the gym.
Are you struggling keeping your gym routine going or just starting back? I’m just getting started back in the gym after an accident at the end of last year and it’s ridiculously hard getting back into the swing of things.
Don’t worry, whatever stage you’re at, you’re not alone and I think a little motivation is the boost I need to keep me going in the right direction.
Here’s my top five tips to keep the gym motivation going…
Treat yourself to a bit of new gym kit – look good, feel good, being comfortable is key.
Going out is still an option – don’t restrict yourself to the point where it makes you miserable – dinner out is definitely still an option.
Get outside and go for a walk – soak up some Vitamin C and D.
Work out with a friend – push each other’s limits and give each other motivation.
Find out what kind of work out you enjoy – do you like dancing, gym circuits or HIIT? Find what works for you and do more of what you enjoy!
New Gym Kit
I headed to Whiteley to work on the first point, to find some gym kit. All my kit is old and very worn and I wasn’t feeling comfortable in it anymore. Confidence is key and my favourite Nike leggings had finally given up after a good 15 years of service. I knew I had to hit the shops!
A new outfit always makes going to work out that little bit better and gives me a little confidence boost when I’m getting my sweat on!
Whiteley has some amazing shops and it’s so convenient to get to, just five minutes off the M27, you don’t have to go into a town centre and there’s free parking for four hours.
I first hit a firm favourite for sports wear, Sports Direct. I was really hoping to find some new leggings to replace my old ones but it’s such a treasure trove that I just started to have a rummage to see what I came across.
Some really nice work out tops, sports bras with crossed back detailing and some more fun offerings from New Balance, Under Armour and Adidas.
But then my eye was caught by the legging section and I was off! There they were the updated version of my favourite leggings. BINGO! They were perfect and they were coming home.
Originally nearly £60, I picked these up for £40, which if you consider I had the last pair for so long, it’s really good value for money.
I did try them on to make sure they fit ok, and of course, like I’m sure many of you do too I did the bend test to make sure you couldn’t see through them when you’re pulling funny poses in your yoga class!
Whiteley is outside which it perfect for me to get a bit of fresh air and cool down between shops. I’d got a bit warm trying lots of things on, and was very happy to be outside while taking a look around some other shops.
I was actually looking in Topshop at some other things when, to my surprise, I noticed it had a sports section.
The sports section was relatively small but it had some great pieces in it, I need to go back fore the leggings above and this gorgeous dusky pink t-shirt below.
On the first rack was a lovely hoodie in black, khaki and grey, so I picked up one in grey. It was £20 and is a reliable staple that I know I’ll get a lot of use from. While I like patterns and colour, a plain hoodie that goes with everything is always a must have item.
It’s really important to look after your muscles after the gym and not allow them to get too cold too quickly. Post gym wear is important, plus it will be a great jumped for throwing on to go walking or for other activities – it’s a great all rounder.
I also found a large dark khaki Adidas top that’s long enough to go over leggings – I’m not here for the cropped or fitted trends for the gym. But, pass me an oversized t-shirt and we’re on to a winner.
I don’t want to be worried about lifting my arms over my head and the world seeing my tummy! This t-shirt means I won’t have that worry and it’s such a soft cotton which is nice and breathable. It was also £20.
The tops and leggings fit well and together it’s a good balance between being suitable for actual gym activity while still channeling a few of those sports luxe vibes.
Most important is that the outfit is very comfortable and I feel good in it!
I topped the whole look off with a cute pale pink head band for £3.99 from H&M to tame my fly away tresses and keep my ears warm. Anyone else get very cold painful tops of their ears when they go for a run or workout outside? No, just me? I always need a headband!
There’s plenty of other places to look at sports and outdoor clothes at Whiteley like Marks and Spencer, Next and the outdoor shops like Mountain Warehouse, Trespass have some good tops too. (The M&S is brilliant and does have a food hall!)
Dinner at Wagamama
Being able to still socialise and eat out while embracing more healthy habits is still really important and if you eat out regularly you can still make healthier choices – you need not make yourself miserable! Hello to working on point two on my gym motivation list!
After a day hitting the shops it was time to refuel with a trip to Wagamamas to try their vegan menu. You can still eat out and make healthier choices, and picking a vegan meal can support that.
I tried tofu for the first time in a very long time and while I adored the curry, the texture of tofu is just not for me, I have since had this meal with the chicken and cauliflower and it’s quickly shot to the top of what I’d pick off the menu.
It’s called the yasai nikko curry which is a fragrant coconut, lemongrass and turmeric soup with tofu, roasted butternut squash, turmeric cauliflower, tenderstem broccoli, mangetout, bok choi and beansprouts. Topped with chilli, coriander, fresh ginger, lime and chilli oil and served with a side of white rice with sesame seeds, glass noodles or brown rice.
Henry, my other half tried the seitan, which he’s done a lot of research on and was thrilled to see that it was in collaboration with famous vegan cook Gaz Oakley.
He had the avant gard’n. It’s barbecue-glazed seitan served with a coconut and sriracha vegan ‘egg’, grilled shiitake mushrooms and asparagus on a bed of brown rice. It’s topped with edamame beans, carrots and spring onions and dressed with a sweet amai sauce and garnished with sesame seeds and fresh lime.
We both preferred the texture of seitan and he said the meal was very tasty. I think perhaps seitan is my way into liking a meat substitute!
Wagamama is such a great place to go to get a balanced meal full of vegetables, protein and carbohydrates without guilty for eating out. It’s a firm favourite.
Whiteley Shopping Centre
What a successful day out! A new gym outfit and dinner out spending quality time with Henry. Finding some new kit has definitely given me some renewed enthusiasm and I can’t wait to hit the gym.
Keeping healthy habits going can be hard but a little perk like looking good and a treat meal out can keep you headed in the right direction.
Whiteley is great, it’s literally got a little bit of everything – a great selection of shops, restaurants and a cinema. The ease of design, location and free parking make it seriously convenient and practical. It’s also open until 7pm, so perfect for grabbing things after work.
I’ve been a customer for years so when I was offered a collaboration it was a no brainer for me – Whiteley is fantastic!
A big thank you to the team for a fun day shopping and some new clothes to keep me motivated, it’s definitely done the trick. I’m going to be looking so good when I hit the gym next!
AD – Full disclosure, this is a paid collaboration with Whiteley Shopping Centre, who gifted me some items from the stores for review purposes. However, all opinions are my own, otherwise what’s the point?
Everything was gifted except for the headband which I purchased myself.