Spring is sprung, so it’s time to unwrap your blanket, stand up off that couch (creakily, I’m sure) and take a long hard look at the results of a bit too much mash munched as you binge-watched Game of Thrones, and decide to make a change. Whether it’s Jon Snow’s tight little bum that you’re aiming for, or Daenerys’ abs forged in dragon-fire – winter has come… and gone. And now summer – and swimsuits – are the real threat! (by the way GoT fans – if you enjoyed that check out our Game of Gyms post)

Kicking the habit and starting anew

Some say it takes 21 days to break a habit and form new ones (more like 66); some swear there’s no teaching an old dog new tricks. But, like Lassie, you are young and eager to learn (and maybe a little hairy after all that cold). Science says it all – the dopamine and serotonin rush you get from eating that chocolate is easily reproduced when you run that mile… except in hyper-drive.

Exercise boosts the brain like nothing else (that’s legal), and it’s even good for you to boot. And much cheaper than cocaine. You don’t have to start off able to bench-press twice your bodyweight (we promise not to ask how much you bench, bro) or hop the Comrades on one leg – but healthy habits build healthy bodies so pretty soon you’ll be on your way – whether you want to outrun the White Walkers or swing at them Thor-style.

1. I think therefore I am: It’s all in the mind, my friends. If you can think it; you can do it. You’ve already taken the first step by signing up to the best gym in town – you know you want a change; you’ve thought about where you are now and where you want to be in a month… a year… a decade. You want to be Jon Snow or with Jon Snow, and that six-pack you want can’t be bought at a bottle-store.

2. Size does matter: Especially length. We’re looking long-term here. A seven-day cleanse will benefit you for, oh, about seven days. And by benefit, I mean turn you into a hangry monster who will devour everything in sight on day eight (or two, if you’re anything like me). Look to the future and ask whether you’ll be able to keep it up in six months. Build your life around your lifestyle – you can choose to take the stairs today, and tomorrow, and when you’re eighty. You can sign up to a gym that leaves out all that costly BS and offers all you need in a good workout. You can put down the potato chips and pick up the kale chips (or even better, the homemade courgette baked fries) and lead a life that’s tastier and better than ever before.

3. One small step for man: Moon walking was once seen as impossible, but we went there. Not in a day. First we sent up unmanned rockets. Then a dog, or a monkey, or something… Then man. Small steps led to a huge victory. So celebrate each time you turn off the newest episode of the Real Housewives of Wherever and head to a spin class instead. Congratulate yourself even if, instead of the spin class, you’ve cycled an extra five minutes on the lowest setting. Next time maybe you’ll manage ten – and that’s great! We have amazing six-week fitness challenges to get you moving wherever you’re starting from at http://vivagymsa.co.za/fitness-programmes/.

4. Stairway to Heaven: you have to know those stairs are going somewhere… which is where joining Viva has added value to your new life. Right now, you might be panting at the top of the two flights of stairs, but soon you’ll be stepping up with the best in class. With generous opening hours and a multitude of classes and equipment, your gym time can grow along with your muscles. Right now you may be able to picture an hour in the gym five times a week, but remember that awesome little cocktail of dopamine and serotonin that exercise delivers straight to the brain? You, too, will find more Nirvana in one of our yoga classes than on VH1.

5. When the couch looks more inviting: Motivation ebbs and flows like the tides, so sometimes even that promised high might not be enough to get you off that ass and out the door. That’s where community comes in. At Viva, the social support provided by both our awesome interactive team at http://vivagymsa.co.za/blog and the amazing members we attract can get you going when you’d really rather stay home. And coming back even if you have taken a timeout. Remember, just because you stumble doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself down the mountain!

6. Only you can make the darkness bright: You can stop being your own worst enemy and become your own best friend. You’re doing this for you. You’re only accountable to yourself, and you can be a better cheerleader for you than any else could. You know what motivates you – when you’ve made that clever decision to hit our Express Bootcamp instead of hitting the snooze button a few more times, only you know whether you’d rather reward yourself with sushi or a catch-up Facetime with an overseas mate. We can also help you tailor-make your programme according to your own fitness goals: remember to check out our fitness programmes at http://vivagymsa.co.za/fitness-programmes/.


7. Joy to the World: This is really the final key, that last note that keeps you coming back for a lifetime of health and happiness. You have to enjoy what you do. You need habits that you love. You might cry at the thought of an hour on a bike, but feel uplifted as you dance the night away. We have a class for that. Actually, we have a few: from Cardio-dance through Salsa all the way down the alphabet to Zumba. Traditional weights may weigh you down, but kettlebells could give you a swing in your step. The thought of meditating might give you cold sweats, so skip the yoga and release pent-up energy Fight Club style in a kick box class instead. Check out our varied classes at https://www.vivagym.co.za/fitness. Winter has gone, but maybe we are all special snowflakes, after all.


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