Michelle Bridges may be a celebrity personal trainer with a decades-long career in fitness.
The former Biggest Loser trainer and single mum spoke to 9Honey about squeezing fitness into your daily regime and the best way to kickstart your health journey for 2022.
While Michelle says she has been lucky enough to avoid the virus so far, lockdowns meant she and her clients needed to improvise her exercise routines with household items.
It’s possible to find ways to work out in your living room or bedroom, Michelle reveals —you just need to be creative.
“In my MB active wear range, I have a 10kg weight vest. I’d often put that on and just do the housework,” Michelle explains.
“It’s like double bang for your buck, it’s not even a formal exercise but I end up a sweaty mess. You have your workout done and your housework done.”
For those without equipment at home, Michelle recalls seeing clients using weighted backpacks or laundry detergent bottles for their indoor workouts.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people online who were filling up clothes washing bottles with water and using them as hand weights or walking around with a backpack full of heavy books,” she laughs.
“Sometimes all it takes is 20 minutes out of your day, make a plan and figure out how you’re going to move your body that day. I’ve found that people who walk into the gym or their living room or backyard with a plan, they’re the ones who tick the boxes and get it done.”
Take control of your day
Michelle is a single mum to her six-year-old son Axel and knows just how hard juggling parenthood with health and fitness can be.
The author and 12 Week Body Transformation coach says since having a child, even she has noticed her exercise regime slip a little.
“I’m gonna put my hand up here and be really honest, since having a child my exercise regime hasn’t been as routine and rigid as it used to me. It just happens,” she explains.
“There’s lots of reasons for that, one is that you need to spend time with your son, or suddenly something’s gone wrong and you’re pulled away from the gym because they need you.
“Going from a woman with a career and no child, to a woman with a career and child, it’s a big shift and I have to figure it out.”
For herself, Michelle finds time between school drop off and pick-up for workouts such as morning boxing classes or lunch time gym sessions.
She says organisation is key to keeping your routine in check, and that can mean planning your day alongside your partner or family member who can help look after the kids.
“The time’s not just going to fall into your lap, you should plan out a diary, set a schedule and be realistic,” Michelle advises.
“Get real about what’s going to work in your environment, it might be getting up a half-hour earlier for a quick workout or maybe your partner can take care of dinner while you go to a Pilates class or go for a long walk.”
With kids re-starting school in February, Michelle says it’s time to find routine and structure again in your health journey.
“It’s time again for bed time routines, morning routines and lunchbox preparation, the perfect time to start over.”
Shifting COVID kilos
Since the pandemic started, the term “COVID kilos” has been popularised.
It’s easy to pile on weight while you’re sitting at home and eating junk food, and Michelle says there are simple ways to combat these bad habits.
“We do need to be gentle with ourselves, but we also need to be honest and realistic,” Michelle explains.
“Keep it simple — it could start with a walk every morning or ridding your pantry and fridge of bad foods and soft drinks.
“We all turned into gourmet chefs during lockdown, so instead of an expensive takeaway think about a healthy meal you can make.”
Michelle, who is starting her 12 Week Body Transformation for clients in early February, says taking control of your fitness and health is “a marathon, not a sprint”.
It can be a tough slog changing your ingrained habits, but always worth it.
“It’s not going to be perfect, there’s always going to be lessons that come from it and opportunities to do better the next week or time around,” she says.
“The whole reason I built that program 11 years ago and have had the enormous success we’ve had, is because I’ve been there with so many clients and I know where their headspace is. I know where the moments are when you start to get a bit wobbly.
Michelle adds: “It builds gradually and feels stress-free for whatever fitness level you are at. All you have to do is follow it and it takes the thinking out.”
The next round of 12WBT commences on 7 February, 2022. Head to www.12wbt.com to join.
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