This week’s post is a special one! I’m sharing my super awesome, surprisingly easy fitness and weight-loss strategy with you guys. I’ve been pretty consistent in following this self-made plan for the last six weeks now and I’m happy to say that I’m already seeing results!
I’ve lost 7kg (15 pounds) so far, without major changes to my diet. I’ve got more energy, plus, I feel more confident and productive. Most importantly, despite the current corona-chaos, I’m managing my stress.
So, before I get too excited, I’ll give you some more details; what it is, where the idea came from and if you wanted to give it a try, how to make it work best for you!
What is the Golden Triangle?
The Golden Triangle is a, you guessed it, three-point fitness plan that I try to use every day to improve my fitness, de-stress and lose weight. Everyone’s Triangle will have different points based on your goals. I’ll use mine as an example!
The three points of my Golden Triangle are cardio, training and steps!
To tick this off, I basically need to get my heart rate rising for at least 10 minutes. I usually follow a HIIT workout on YouTube, hike, dance around like a fool or run 5k. Cardio is great for calorie burning but the main reason it’s in my Golden Triangle comes from its link to stress management.
“There have been consistent findings that people report feeling calmer after a 20- to 30-minute bout of aerobic exercise, and the calming effect can last for several hours after exercise. “
Now you’ll notice I’m using training instead of ‘toning’ here. The reason is that according to Well and Fitness writer, Lisa Elaine Held,
“there’s actually no such thing as “toning.””
I’ll focus on different areas of my body every day, either using dumbbells or doing bodyweight exercises (which are NOT as easy as you’d think!) I’ve even started doing group yoga on Zoom!
A minimum of 10 minutes per day is manageable and I’m already seeing results: feeling stronger, getting less injuries from running and I’m starting to see noticeable definition. Guys… I’m even getting the bicep line!
Unless you’re a centipede, this step will take a bit longer than 10 minutes.
My daily step goal is 10,000 per day, which also meets ‘the CDC’s recommended 150 hours of moderate exercise per week’, says Lara Rosenbaum, for Fitbit.
To achieve my Golden Triangle, all I have to do is try and hit all three targets by the end of the day. That way I get an adorable little triangle in the ‘exercise’ section of my daily habits tracker.
The amount that you want to do is going to change from person to person. What all Golden Triangles will have in common is the attempt to implement your routine as a daily goal or habit.
While it would be sufficient to aim for just 10,000 steps or just a bit of cardio every day, for me and my goals, that’s not enough. I want fitness to become part of my lifestyle, not just a way to lose weight.
Believe it or not, there’s also a fair bit of brain work behind it!
Where Did it Come From?
Anyone who read my recent post, ‘Why You Need a Morning Routine Now More Than Ever’ knows that lately I’ve been well into morning motivation and productivity. I used the app, Fabulous to help get me started.
It’s a brilliant app and it’s actually from here that I first heard the phrase ‘Golden Triangle’. In one of the app’s letters, I read that the ‘Golden Triangle’ is basically three essential points you need to hit to start your morning right.
The Fabulous ‘Golden Triangle’ consists of:
1. Drink Water
2. Eat a Great Breakfast
3. Exercise (8 mins)
Using Fabulous, I found it easier to establish those morning habits and I could tell from the get-go, that this app would help me to build a long-term routine. Plus, the app’s letters and information are genuinely interesting and backed by science. I would definitely recommend this for anyone hoping to get a good start in their morning.
What’s My Motivation?
With the help of Fabulous, my morning routine was coming along a treat so next up was my fitness. To kick anything off you need a spark of motivation. From there you build determination.
‘Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.’
Christmas is always a time for indulgence, so imagine mashing together Christmas, homecoming and the excitement of finally having access to a WIDE range of food that you can actually eat (halloumi).
This was my glorious Christmas of 2019, which I spent back home in the UK. Which is also (not surprisingly) where the plumping began. This is not, however, where the plumping ended. It continued into January through to March, during Ste’s trip to Japan.
When Ste flew back with me to Japan for, what he planned to be three months, we were pretty active. We’d go to the gym a few times in the week and do home workouts on other days.
‘So, how then did you plump’ I hear you ask. The fitness soon started to be replaced by travelling and eating out. I have no regrets, it was an awesome time and I’m glad I got to do it before COVID-19 stomped its way onto the scene.
I did, however, get chunky af and so when Ste left and corona was gaining momentum, I decided that now was the time to get back into it.
The drop in my fitness meant more than just a bigger number on the scale. My mood dropped, stress levels peaked and the self-esteem that I’d worked so hard building up last year, slid right back down again.
My biggest reason to get back into fitness was to manage my mental health.
There’s a lot to worry about right now, so a good workout to dissolve stress lets me either distract myself from things I can’t control or approach whatever issues I can control with a clearer head.
Dr Wendy Suzuki, professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, gave a TED Talk on the metal benefits of exercise, it’s worth a watch.
While we all know the general benefits of exercise, it’s easy to fall out of rhythm or lose steam, especially now. To get going or keep going, it’s important to have a reason to workout. It gives you that little push when you’d rather be doing anything else.
What’s your reason?
How to Make it Work for You
My Golden Triangle might seem a little intense. Trying to squeeze in cardio, training and 10,000 steps every day might seem over the top and it is…if you try to do it all at once.
There are some key points that help make this routine work. I’ll go into them in more detail in a later post, as I think they apply to most fitness routines, but let’s look at them quickly.
1. Be Flexible
The Golden Triangle is the Bane of fitness routines. Where others merely adopted COVID, the Golden Triangle was born in it, moulded by it. This routine was made for these difficult times and it works because it lets you keep things interesting.
I like to break up my steps throughout the day. I start every morning with a walk and squeeze one in on my lunch break too. That way, there’s not so many steps to get at the end of the day.
For people still in quarantine, I know that in the UK at least you’re allowed out for one hour of exercise per day. My advice would be to make the most of that hour. Use your exercise slot to rack up those steps and tick off cardio at the same time, maybe a 5k run, followed by a walk to cool down?
If you can’t or don’t want to go outside, get creative with your workouts indoors. How many times can you get up and down the stairs in 15 minutes? There are plenty of workout videos on YouTube too, I’ll link my favourites at the bottom.
Be flexible not only in your exercise, but also in your goals. Your Golden Triangle doesn’t have to be the same as mine. If you’re more focused on building muscle, your Golden Triangle might have less steps and more strength training? Before you start, work out what you want to acheive and what three things you can do to reach that goal.
2. Keep it Varied
The beauty of the Golden Triangle is that it’s meant to be flexible and with flexibility comes variety. Mix it up!
Around 5pm is when I do my last blast of exercise. One day it’ll be YouTube workout another it’s a dance tutorial, a 5k by the river or maybe it’s an uphill walk (which is very accessible for me because I live up a mountain).
Trying a variety of new things keeps it interesting and makes consistency more likely. I recently tried Pamela Reif’s dance cardio workout and it was pretty different to my usual style of workout. It wasn’t too intense and I genuinely enjoyed it!
3. Reward the Victories
Keeping the drive to stay fit is difficult now I know, which is why it’s important to reward the victories. Keep a track of what you get up to and reward it!
Completed your Golden Triangle four or five times this week? Brilliant. That’s four or five times more than you would’ve done otherwise. Managed to do 1/3 of the triangle? Awesome, better than 0/3!
One of my rewards, for sticking with the routine for 6 weeks and uploading this blog post is that I’m finally buying myself a Fitbit!
I’ve wanted to get one for so so long. Until now I’ve been using my phone to count steps, so I can’t wait to be able to track them more accurately. I’m a complete Fitbit beginner so, Fitbit users, do you have any advice for me?
4. Don’t Agonize
This goes hand in hand with rewarding the victories and also just happens to be one of my biggest weaknesses.
If you don’t hit the goal you set yourself, no matter what your triangle looks like, don’t lose your head. If you set yourself time to practice a sport, strength train and get in 5000 steps a day- it’s ok if one day you don’t get round to perfecting your backswing.
Putting yourself down and getting stressed out because you missed a day or two won’t make you excited to get back into it the next day.
As I said, I still have lots to learn with this one. I remember about 3-4 weeks into the Triangle I lost steam. I got my period, started back at school and was calling home to catch up with family a lot more often.
One night I saw that I’d got 9783 steps (dum dum dummm) and I hadn’t done my training. I put it off and off and the next day realised that I hadn’t done it.
I was so upset with myself- over 217 steps and ten minutes of training! I felt bad for most of the day and it actually made getting back into routine more difficult. But I did get back into it and since then I’ve been working towards being a little kinder to myself.
This post was an introduction into my latest scheme; I’m looking forward to writing more about it as the weeks go on and to keep you up to date on my progress!
What do you think about my Golden Triangle? What will yours look like? Let me know!
Some of my favourite workout channels are below:
For more info on the Fabulous app, visit their website
For the science behind exercise and stress:
“Why toning is a big fat lie we need to stop believing”, Well and Good
“The brain changing benefits of exercise”, Dr Wendy Suzuki (TED Talk)
“STRESS RELIEF: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management” Jackson, Erica M. Ph.D., ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal: May/June 2013 – Vol.17, Issue 3