Train first thing in the morning
“Wake up and work out before your brain figures out what is going on,” says Sheena-Lauren. You will be less likely to skip a workout than if you leave it to the end of a day. “There is less chance for ‘things’ to pop up during the day, and often we have less energy at the end of a day, so we tend to dread a workout we could have conquered in the morning.” There are other advantages to getting it done first thing. Studies show that exercising can help to boost metabolism, which can encourage efficient calorie burning throughout the day. It can also promote endorphins in the brain and elevate mood. Getting your workout done early can also give you a sense of accomplishment, motivating you to make healthy food choices for the rest of the day.
Not punitively. Not minimally. Well. Which means honouring your body’s needs for fuel (you can’t expect it to perform well when you’re winging your nutrition). Contrary to common imaginings, eating enough to fuel intensity and recovery is key to burning fat and sculpting muscle – warrior style. While your taste buds matter, for the next four weeks, Sheena-Lauren suggests viewing your food as a need and fuel rather than a want. “When it comes to building lean muscle and tone and stripping fat, it’s important that you have the energy to undertake the intensity of cardio required and are giving your body adequate amounts of nutrients and protein to build muscle tone. “Don’t let all that hard work in the gym building tone and shape be undone because of poor nutrition choices,” Sheena-Lauren says. Prepare for success by shopping on Sunday and preparing Sheena-Lauren’s fit food recipes (there are more in her e-book, Eat like a Warrior Queen at sheenalauren.com).
Make it a thing
When you’re the only one who knows about what you intend to do, it’s easy to pike when the going gets tired, busy, rainy or hungry for a chocolate éclair. By recruiting one or more friends for the challenge, you’ll not only be less likely to back out of a workout, you’ll experience the challenge in a way you wouldn’t if you did it solo. (Did we mention that laughter is an essential part of the challenge?) If you don’t want to recruit a buddy, make sure you keep close ties with the WH&F #RawFitspo community on Instagram and Facebook. They will want to see your training pics. “Studies indicate that joining forces can increase fitness success dramatically,” Sheena-Lauren says. “Just remember to choose your workout buddy wisely. Ensure they share similar goals, are at a similar fitness level and are just as committed.”
Active recovery Sundays are not a nod to laziness. Training too much or failing to take time out for simple pleasures is as counterproductive as under-training. We are asking a lot of our bodies throughout this four-week challenge, so it’s important for body and mind to take a day to unwind. To maximise the benefits of active recovery Sundays, make sure you don’t let them slip by in a blur of chores. Consider it a KPI to do something good for your body – whether it’s a massage, a yoga class, a swim or beach walk.