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To Move or Not to Move?  That is the Question!

Weight Loss

To Move or Not to Move? That is the Question!

Let's Go!

If the thought of hitting the gym or running 10k makes your blood run cold, it’s okay.  If you have never been into exercising, it’s not something that comes naturally, it’s not something that you’ve been able to easily fit into your daily routine, so instead you’ve decided that you will just give that part of your well-being and health a miss, we get that too.  If adorning lycra and a trainer just isn’t a vibe and something you wouldn’t be caught dead in, fair enough.  If, when you see a wrist dressed in a smart watch and its wearer diligently checking their Beats Per Minute, all it does is make you think they must have too much time on their hands, they mustn't have kids, or a life, we totally get that too. 

However, just because you have never been into fitness, it doesn’t mean you can’t find your pathway into it. It’s never too late to make small tweaks for the benefit of your body and brain.  The beauty of it is, once you start to feel the benefits of exercise, you will want to keep going and you never know, you too might be diligently checking your smart watch whilst dressed in lycra.  Fancy that! 

Not only will dabbling in a little bit of movement impact the way your body looks, but your mental health too. Sometimes, it’s often not until you start feeling better that you realise how rubbish you felt before.  It’s totally understandable that it’s difficult to find the motivation to move when you are depleted in energy, which is why addressing how you’re fueling your body should be your first priority.  When you cut out insulin spiking and inflammation inducing foods, your energy stores will be replenished in a sustainable way.  When you begin to feel the impact of eating well, giving your body what it’s crying out for, your thoughts about yourself start to change, your motivation and thoughts surrounding self care shift - hell, you may even start to feel lighter and the drudgery that shrouds the thought of moving dispelled. It’s about capitalising on these changed thought processes and allowing yourself to maximise the impact of eating well with a little bit of movement thrown in for good measure. 

You’re Not Lazy - You’re Surviving 

Understand that when you can’t be bothered to exercise it's just your brain telling you to preserve your energy and that is an evolutionary thing.  It can be hard to fight this mode of survival, but you can overrule and override your primal brain and get moving.  After a few minutes of exercise, your brain will adapt and the endorphins will start to roll. These rewards and highs will be the only incentive you need to give it a go again. Your energy will naturally increase and you will find yourself wanting to do more. The more energy you put out to exercise, the more energy you will get back. 

How to Trigger your Brain into Exercise Mode

All movement starts in the mind, you just need to fire it up! 

  • Sometimes, getting yourself kitted out in some get up that you feel confident in can trigger the motivation you need to get moving.   Wearing your new attire around the house will make you exercise ready and ready to go when you get the urge. Psychologically when you’re wearing fitness gear, you are telling yourself that you are someone who exercises. 
  • Focussing on how you feel rather than what the scales are telling you is a good place to pop your brain and thoughts. Scales, or the Sad Step can determine whether you feel happy or miserable in your skin; often the numbers are a result of where you are in your cycle, what time of year it is, how hydrated you are, or how good your sleep was, making the scales completely unreliable and not worth your time. 
  • If you’re someone who has never entertained, or sustained an exercise routine, start by walking.   Walking up an incline as you listen to your favourite music playing, or watching your faves on Netflix will not only be a massive motivator, but you will also find yourself completely distracted. 
  • Understanding how and why your body responds might be the change in mindset that you need.   Flip this narrative in your head: When you give something up that you're addicted to, you will likely experience cravings. If you think of this physical reaction as a pull to whatever you are craving, you will likely give in.  However, if you think of this physical pull as your body’s way of expelling and detoxing whatever your addiction was, you are more likely to enjoy that craving feeling because you know it’s your body working for you.  It’s the same with exercise! Rather than thinking of the sweat and the puffs and pants as a reaction to the movement, or an indicator of your fitness levels, relish the feeling and the sweat and be safe in the knowledge that this momentary feeling is doing you good.  Fast forward to the mood boost!
  • Be kind to yourself! if you’re too hard on yourself, you’re more likely to throw in the towel. We have to accept the fluctuations in our physical strength and moods because you’re not going to feel amazing everyday and like you can take on the world. Remember, you are in control of how you feel - if you are fuelling your body with the right stuff, the likelihood is, you’ll feel capable of moving most days. In order to stay on track you need to feed the brain.  To learn how to look after your body on the inside to allow you to take care of the outside because you cannot outrun an inflammatory diet, check out our Mood and Food blogs to help you get started on your WillPowder’s movement.  
  • If you really can’t face exercise, trigger your adrenaline by engaging in a bit of cold water therapy instead - our dedicated Cold Water blog will teach you all about the benefits and might see you turning down that temperature dial gradually. 
  • Whatever you choose to do, it has to be sustainable.  It’s not something you can pick up and put down willy nilly. Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals - make it a lifestyle choice not a fad. If the gym feels completely out of the question, find an at home work out on YouTube.  Start to identify exercise opportunities in your daily routine that will make exercising less of a chore and something you have to squirrel time out for.  You could bash out a couple of squats whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil; use your kitchen broom for some broomstick exercises; use your smaller kids as some weights during play time; add an incline to your dog walking route; maximise your time during the adverts by engaging in some crunches.  Every little helps to change your mindset and get you moving. 
  • Set yourself a goal - this doesn’t have to be climbing Everest or running the London Marathon.  Instead, decide that you’re going to complete 5 workouts in a week, or you’re going to build up to running 5K. It will soon become 10. 
  • Join a team!  You’re more likely to fulfil a promise to others than yourself. We are designed to please people, so the likelihood is, you won’t jib. 
  • Give yourself 2 full weeks to get into an exercise routine - once you get over that initial hurdle, you’ll be gagging to put on the lycra. 

Ultimate Fat Burning Mode  

In order to burn fat, you don’t literally need to feel the burn or feel like your heart is going to explode out of your chest; in fact, this actually takes you out of fat burning mode. Walking on an incline for 30 minutes is far more effective than running at full pelt for 30 minutes, which is just music to the ears, really! 

If you want to shed the pounds quickly, you need to assert less effort and not more, otherwise your body will go into survival mode and cling on to fat with all its might. Not only this, undue stress on the body will increase your cortisol levels, which can lead to sleep issues, digestive issues and weight gain. 

Often your body will hold on to excess fat  when you put it through a gruelling and cortisol spiking exercising routine. By slowing down your exercise routine and making your body feel safer, it will start to loosen its grip on the survival fat it thinks it needs. 

Your Optimal Fat Burning Zone

To work out the BPM (Beats Per Minute) that you need to maintain to burn the most fat, subtract your age from 220 and multiply that number by 0.7. Any time your BPM goes over this number, you are out of your fat burning zone.  To stay within your optimal fat burning zone you will need to use a smart watch or a BPM monitor.  

Walking on an incline is far more enjoyable than sweating your guts out during a HIIT workout.  A 6% incline at 6km per hour for an hour followed by a 30 minute walk at 3% incline at 3 km may take you longer, but your fat burn will be greater and less arduous. Throw in a dog, a family and the outdoors and voila, joy! 

Ramping it up!

Believe it or not, we are built to run long distances, more so than animals.  We have sweat glands all over our bodies which allow us to keep ourselves cool.  Think about it: our historic selves were hunters and gatherers and we used to run long distances to catch our prey. We really are more “animal” than you think. 

Stopping and starting is perfectly fine when you’re running. Get yourself some headphones and start running to the chorus of your favourite tunes.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your body adapts and how quickly you’ll be able to run, or jog to the whole song.  

If you have any sort of knee problems or injuries, making running an absolute no no, stick to walking on an incline.  You could ramp it up with a speedy walk - set yourself a target of 7,000 steps a day and build up from there. 

As we get older, resistance training is really good for you, as your muscle mass decreases and your fat mass increases. Not only this but our bones become weaker as our oestrogen levels drop. Lifting weights helps bone production and regeneration, meaning you will maintain your strength and stamina. This is something you can do at home until you’ve built your confidence up. By throwing in some weights, tins of beans or the shopping bags you will activate your muscles in a far greater way.  

Nootropic Energy Boost 

Firstly, if you train on an empty stomach, you will feel lighter and sharper and you will go into fat burning mode much quicker; however, you may feel you need an energy boost from somewhere.  Nootropics are a great way to avoid sugary, or sweetener heavy energy drinks which put an awful lot of pressure on your liver after exercise when it’s busy trying to pump out free radicals.  Our Brain Powder is the perfect burst of energy which won’t spike your insulin and will actually aid your post workout recovery. Our ElectroTide will give your mental energy a spur and help you to find the focus you need. 

Intermittent Fasting

If working out in the morning is impossible because you’re busy getting the kids to school and then yourself to work, try ramping up some everyday movements - a speed walk to school, perhaps, or some leg lunges as you walk from room to room are easily insertable into your morning.  

If you push back your eating window by engaging in intermittent fasting, you may find more time to get a pre-eating workout done.  Our fatty coffee is the perfect way to avoid those cravings, stopping you from chowing down on a croissant when you get to the office. 

However you fit in some movement, be sure to eat as close to nature as possible when you do eat, post workout. 

Exercising During your Cycle 

Every woman knows that there are definitely times in the month when all you want to do is bury yourself under a duvet with a packet of biscuits and the TV remote.  However, in order to avoid, or at least support these lulls in energy and crazy hormonal cravings, you must feed your body the good stuff.  Our blog on the Hack your Hormones chapter ‘WTF is up with my Cycle? will help you to understand how to nourish your body throughout your cycle.  If you need a quick fix, our Avocado and Chocolate Mousse recipe is great for those pesky sugar cravings that seem to creep up on us. 

Your Cyclical Energy 

Days 1-7 ish (The Bleed) 

This is when your energy is most likely to be low, so stick with gentle and slow movements. Yoga is a great option, or a simple stroll around the block.  You might consider throwing in  some light weights, but avoid cardio because it’s only going to put even more stress on your body. 

You might feel really uninterested in moving on some days and that is totally fine.  If the day is tough, there is no point forcing yourself to do exercise as you will only inflame your suffering body more. 

After day 7 ish

You should be feeling more like yourself by now, which is when you can start to ramp up the exercise a bit. 

Day 14 ish (Ovulation)

This is when your energy should be surging.  Your oestrogen and pain threshold has increased due to the declining levels of progesterone, meaning you can move your body more, benefiting from faster recovery times.  Ramp up the exercise with a HIIT or a run and follow our fasting plan, which can be found in our How to Guides using MCT Powder or Oil 

Days 14- 28 (The Luteal Phase)

As you near closer to day 20, you might find your energy levels beginning to drop a little, so stick with a steady fat burning pace and slow it down a little.  This is when those inclines or speed walking is going to keep you moving and motivated.  You’ll probably be craving carbs during this phase, which is normal, but by sticking to Cruciferous veggies you will keep your hormones as balanced as possible.

The Benefits  

When you exercise enough to increase your heart rate, you trigger adrenaline, noradrenaline and endorphins, which are the body's natural pain killers.  Not only that, you will activate the body's natural amino acids and stimulate your brain.  The healthier your brain is, the less likely you are to contract neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsons, Dementia, Depression and addictive disorders.  So, by engaging in a little bit of movement, you really are doing your future self a massive favour.