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10 Tips for a Fitter 2021…

This year has already been off to a very rocky start! Here in England we’ve been placed into a full lockdown once again following the rapid spread of a new variant of COVID-19. Children are once again being home-schooled and there is a stay-at-home order in place.

Usually, January is the month of gym membership discounts and offers on the most stylish gym clothes but this year many of us are faced with a new challenge: how do I get fit at home?

We’ve put together a few handy tips for getting started as a beginner… or finding new motivation if you’ve fallen off the fitness wagon over Christmas. Skip to the end for some examples of our gripping aids in use!

cartoon clock pointing to 7 o'clock
  1. Schedule. If there’s one way to guarantee you won’t have time for a workout, it’s by failing to plan it into your day! It may be tempting to ‘just watch one more episode’, but if you’ve planned to do a workout at 7pm, do it at 7pm… you can always change your workout schedule around once you learn what works for you.
picture of wooden floor with a free weight sat on it
  1. Designate a workout space. This doesn’t have to be a permanent gym space… although if you have the space you might consider it! But if you always workout in the same area your brain will start to make that association. Say you always workout in the living room in the evening: the second you enter the room and grab your workout towel your brain will switch into workout mode and you’ll start to find it much easier to get going. If gyms are open where you are, the physical act of going to the gym is amazing for putting you in the mental state of being ready to exercise.
cartoon scientist holding test tubes
  1. Experiment. It may take some time to find what works for you. Some people LOVE to get up at the crack of dawn for some intense cardio… others prefer evening yoga, it’s different for everyone! Trainers often recommend not doing cardio too close for bedtime so that you’re not too warm when you hit the hay, but really it’s just about listening to your body and finding what’s right for you. Remember that no body is the same and no disability is the same, so something that works for your friend or someone you follow online might not be the best way for you… experiment and find out!
An owl with a gradutation cap, holding pencils and standing on books
  1. Learn. What works for you! It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you should be doing, but if you love weight training and hate cardio then don’t force yourself to do 5 cardio sessions a week! Exercise comes in so many forms and anything that gets you moving is great for your overall fitness.
warning sign saying "self care"
  1. Respect your body and your needs. If you’re undergoing a vigorous new fitness regime, that’s great! But remember that this might be a bit of a shock to your body. It may be that you need to go more slowly than you’d like to. If you have any health concerns it’s important to consult a doctor before starting a new regime.
cartoon of the word "help"
  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, or you can’t seem to make exercise work for you, you can find many free or low-cost programs online to help you. We love Ben Clark’s @AdaptToPerform channel for workouts to follow, and our social media is a steady stream of workout and meal ideas! And remember, you could always get advice from a qualified personal trainer or nutritionist.
football entering the back of the net after a goal has been scored
  1. Set manageable goals. Setting manageable short & long-term goals is a great way to keep track of your progress and stay motivated. Remember, even if you have weight goals, it’s great to set goals that have nothing to do with scales such as increasing the weight you can do bicep curls with, maintaining a cardio workout for longer without running out of breath, or simply feeling healthier within yourself.
Gym pack deluxe 'bigger and better'. pair of General Purpose aids, pair of looped aids, pair of d-ring aids, 2x heavy use gripping wraps, 2 x thumb protectors, pair Hook aids and a 'get a grip' slogan gym bag. Adaptive gym equipment. Suitable for reduced hand function: tetra, quad, cerebral palsy, SCI, spinal cord injury, stroke and more.
  1. Invest. Fitness (hopefully) isn’t a fleeting hobby, so if there’s a piece of equipment that might help you then it’s worth investing in. What better to invest in than your health?! Whether it’s a gym mat, some dumbbells, some of our gripping aids, or a bigger piece of kit.
ben clark gym wheelchair workout with spinal cord injury
  1. Adapt. If you’re on our website it’s probably because you, or someone you know, have a disability affecting your grip. This may mean that some ‘typical’ gym exercises aren’t accessible to you. We have LOADS of videos of different exercises on our YouTube channel, some done in the gym and some at home. We also highly recommend Ben Clark’s @AdaptToPerform YouTube channel for some adapted wheelchair workouts from a qualified personal trainer who has a Spinal Cord Injury.
Cartoon arm flexing muscles
  1. Be patient. You’re not going to be a world-champion weight-lifter overnight, nor are you going to look like a supermodel after eating 1 salad. That said, you are doing something incredible for your body and your wellbeing, you just need to accept that it might take time to see the drastic results we so often see online.

For motivation to get moving check out our YouTube channel, or join us on Facebook or Instagram.

Looking for some gripping aids to help you on your fitness journey?

The General Purpose gripping aid is the ultimate all-rounder: it’s ideal for gripping anything that you would hold with a fist grip… which includes most gym equipment! If you’re just getting started with fitness at home you can’t go wrong with some free weight exercises, with the General Purpose aid to help you keep a firm grip on the weights. You can also use the General Purpose with resistance bands, which are cheap and easy to use – just loop them around something stationary (like a closed door, or a solid table).

Our Looped aids are ideal if you like to row, or if you do any weighted or body weight exercises using an open-ended bar. The looped aids can slide on and off open-ended pull-down bars easily, so you can attach and detach yourself from the equipment independently.

If you have access to a gym, or gym equipment, then the D-ring aids might be your gripping aids of choice. They attach directly to the karabiner on cable and pulley machines allowing you to access a multitude of resistance exercises without needing to mess around with handles or put strain on your hands.

The Hook aids are the newest addition to our gym pack, and they haven’t disappointed. These are ideal for any close-ended bars – for example to do pull-ups, for rowing or for pull-down bars!

All gripping aids are available from our website. Why not check out the Gym Pack Deluxe for a massive saving, some great accessories for comfort in the gym and a free Active Hands branded gym bag?

Jo Walters