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New Year, New Me

I’m back: “New Year, New Me”, right? The 2023 edition LOL.

If you have yet to read my recent articles, my name is Mark, and I am the founder of Workout with PRIDE, a London-based LGBT+ workout group that provides everything from strength training to spinning and personal training. Check us out on INSTA @Workoutwithpride and use code QXfriend and try a class for FREE.

January is here!

“I’m just getting back into it” is the sentence I hear more frequently than a new Drag Race season announcement.

Over the past ten years that I have worked in the fitness industry, I have consistently heard the same sentence. It gets mentioned mainly in January, September, and October. Once the holiday season is over, you hear it. Be it Xmas or summer, and depending on what queer social standing you have, you’ve either spent the summer in Mykonos or Grand Canaria or the last two months or so on the common with endless bottles of prosecco and deli-style bites from Tesco local, all be it at the same time, the gyms franticly await your return, sending out summer offers while the gym staff give the equipment a much-needed deep clean.

In September or the new season, you dust off the membership card and get back on the wellness grind. You rummage through the kitchen cupboards, salty foods out, Hello Fresh subscription in. You start to wonder why you even took that break or didn’t start earlier as the pounds drop and the number of INSTA posts increases. 

One month later, your friends have adjusted to the change, the comments and likes are dropping, and so is your motivation. You start to say things like “I’ve been good this week” and “I deserve this treat”. Oh, the entitlement. And there you have it: the two-month honeymoon is over, and we have returned to our old routines.

The process of maintaining good health daily can take some time.

Look, I get it, and I’m in no way throwing any shade. I’m here to support you on your journey. Without further ado, here are my top three recommendations for your well-being in January.

TIP ONE: Consistency is the key!

Stop looking at endless 6packs on Instagram to motivate you to turn off Netflix, get up, and move around. Motivation is fleeting, yes, it may spark a flame inside you, but it won’t kick your ass in gear all year. Create habits around being more disciplined. That way, you’ll show up even when you don’t feel like it yet but later reap all the benefits. 

Look at your goals: are they set up for the short term? Instead, start making smarter goals; for example, if you want to run a marathon, the goal should NOT be to run the marathon. The goal should be to be a good runner, that way, you will surpass the marathon and make lifelong habits, as mentioned by James Clear in his fantastic book Atomic Habits. 

In 2022 I started journaling. Let me tell you, it’s a complete game changer and affordable to everyone. Start by listing everything: your wants, goals, what’s going well, and why it’s going well. Write down all the obstacles and your strategy for getting around them. Honey, let me tell you something: if you’re anything like me, you might even start crying because the solutions are always inside us. We simply don’t enjoy seeing them. 

2022 had some challenging moments for me; there were times when I felt overwhelmed, but after reading back through my journal, I was able to put things into perspective. I had previously made a list of things going well and what I was doing then, so I revisited those and got back on track.

Finding a training partner or joining a fitness community like Workout with PRIDE is another fantastic way to hold each other accountable. Booking class passes through Workout with PRIDE is an option. You can always use the expiry date as a motivator and move before you lose the credits.

TIP TWO: How to find the perfect Personal trainer.  

There are many reasons to get a personal trainer. For some, it’s accountability, knowledge, rehab or just some company whilst you train, all are valid reasons, but before you go ahead and part with your hard earned cash, be sure they are qualified, that’s right! The fitness industry is the most unregulated. You can flick through Instagram and YouTube and find many people claiming to be personal trainers who do not have qualifications selling generic programmes and online coaching. Always be bold and ask for testimonials and certificates. Believe me. I’ve seen many issues stemming from picking the wrong Personal trainer, ranging from long-term physical issues to permanent injuries.

If the first thing the trainer does when you meet is lead you straight to the gym floor treadmill or a resistance machine, turn around and leave, sis; that personal trainer isn’t the one for you.

Before starting any program, your personal trainer should begin with a consultation, movement and screening and ask every health-related and habit-related question. Your new trainer should be able to identify your triggers and obstacles and assist you in getting past them.

Another tip is to stop booking personal trainers based on how THEY look. Yes, you want a physical appearance that could rival a Love Island contestant, but every BODY is different. Just because your personal trainer is in good physical shape doesn’t guarantee that you will have the same results. Everyone has different genetics, muscle memory, diets, and even extra supplements (hint hint), no shade!

There are so many Pts out there that want to take your money, it’s a business, after all, and a challenging one to stay in. However, most of them forget why they entered the field in the first place, which is to help people.

If money is an issue, consider pairing up with a friend: many personal trainers will give discounts for training two or more clients simultaneously. 

At Workout with PRIDE, we provide affordable small-group personal training sessions for four individuals at a time. 

And if training individually is not your thing, London is home to a variety of queer fitness groups, including Lunges in Leggings and the Queer Running Club.

Visit their websites or Instagram pages for more info and to discover your community where you’ll be able to reach your goals and find new friends.

@lungesinleggings @queer_running_club

TIP THREE: Advice for training into your 40s, 50s, and beyond. 

You are now into your forties and have come to terms with Twink’s calling you Daddy.

Perhaps you are concerned that you will lose muscle mass or that training won’t help you. WRONG. 

There are many advantages to strength training in your 40s and beyond, including better stamina (wink wink) and increased bone density. Strength training can also help maintain testosterone, which typically declines in your 40s.

True, it may be a little harder to gain muscle, but that’s not to say you can’t. 

My advice would be strength training at least three days per week, working on a full body approach comprising compound moves (multijointed exercises) like the squat, deadlift bench press and bent over row. Save the other days for LISS (low-intensity steady state) cardio, a brisk walk, run or bike ride. Yep, that’s right, HIIT has had its day; now athletes are more likely to work out at slower paces which helps the body recover quicker, which is perfect once we hit the forty.

For additional guidance, I will host a FREE 15-minute Zoom call to address any questions about fitness, training, programme design, or general well-being-related topics.

Book via Workout with PRIDE website.

Final thoughts 

As queer people, the emphasis has always been on our bodies. Look back through the years to see so-called muscle Marys posing on the front cover. This has ultimately caused us to develop a terrible self-image complex. 

However, times have changed, and now our top priority should be feeling good in our bodies at any size. Remember: anything you set your mind to can be accomplished. 

Take care, and see you in February.

Article written by Mark Hugues
Mark is a 40+ fitness fanatic and founder of Workout with PRIDE. He is a fitness veteran with over 10+ years in the fitness industry.

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