Making a difference – every damn day

One of my long-term clients made a big change to his life recently.

To complement his resistance-training – weights and bodyweight – he bought a month-long pass at a yoga studio in south Hackney and resolved to go every day one way or another. He is a middle-aged, hands-on dad who works long, hard hours, and certainly doesn’t fit the cliché of the yoga bunny.

But he is determined and wants to be as strong and mobile as possible for his whole life and he succeeded in his daily goal … and then repeated it the next month. The yoga is feeding into his strength training, and he is feeling increasingly flexible and light of mood.

As we discussed this, I found myself inspired, and it got me thinking about ‘daily practice’.  I remembered another client, a mum of two in her late 30s, who did a month of at least 30 minutes of exercise a day – weights, swimming, running, circuit training in her garden – and the journalist friend who ran three miles a day for a year (1,095 miles in total) and is now a respected ultra-runner.

Too often, when we, as a society, talk about exercise we do so in the form of prescriptive guidelines – what’s the minimum we can take to be fitter?

We are advised to do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) and do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

This is great. Maybe, though, we should be thinking more about doing exercise every day. Not necessarily an hour of intense weights or Spinning, but something – even if for just 10 minutes – significant.

One hard-as-nails American trainer, Bobby Maximus, encapsulates this in the phrase: ‘Every damn day.’

A nutritionist friend puts at the heart of his weight-loss plan doing something – anything – daily.

I am also reminded of the London Fields osteopath who told a client, who feared that getting into his 40s was making him creaky, not to be ridiculous and that, if he did 50 press-ups a day from now on, he would still be doing 50-a-day at the age of 80.

So, as we launch into January, how do you start your daily practice?

You could go for the monthly yoga pass. Stretch, off Broadway Market, and Yoga on the Lane, in Dalston, among many others, offer unlimited yoga for just over £100 a month.

For variety, London Fields Fitness Studio do a £35-a-month pass offering an eclectic mix, including circuit training, yoga and dance. You could mix the classes up with your own practice at home.

For free, you could resolve to do 10,000 steps or 10 burpees or three sets of press-ups every day.

This may not be what you do all year, but it would get you started.

For me, I have two daily practice resolutions for 2020. One is to get better at using parallettes – low parallel bars – so will aim to do holds on them daily. Also, I would like to do another 100km walk this year, so I will be stretching my hamstrings … every damn day!

Roger Love is a personal trainer based in Netil House E8.