Spending the last 3 years on the Formula One circuit as the Performance Coach for F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, Aussie-born Michael Italiano is now using his health and fitness experience to take his coaching skills from motorsport racing to personalised fitness coaching. Having worked with clients across the globe, Michael was quick to notice that no two people were ever faced with the same fitness journey.  “Everyone has their own challenges and setbacks to overcome, particularly after a year like this,” says Michael, “But through this we can learn to conquer our situations and grow from them.” To help prepare you for your 2021 fitness journey, Michael shares with us his 5 points of fitness wisdom below.

Choose courage over comfort.

It’s easy to get stuck in the isolation rut; snoozing your alarm, being stuck on the couch all day working, and having to order UberEATS for lunch and dinner. This is a comfort choice – a choice which can trick you into slipping into bad habits and going through the motions. People have never spent more time at home as they are now, and this lifestyle doesn’t seem to be shifting anytime soon. Choose courage as your main attribute rather than comfort to get you through the year of change. Wake up early and stretch for 30 minutes while you listen to your favourite podcast, or take a seat and work on some breathing techniques to reduce your work stress. Have the courage to break the easy pattern of being comfortable, and turn your house into a positive environment where you dictate the lifestyle you want to live, even during restricted times.

Use fear as fuel.

Preparing for an unpredictable year in 2021 may make you feel unstable or slightly anxious. This is your opportunity, however, to be slightly vulnerable and try something completely new and outside of your comfort zone. Push past the fear and use it as fuel. You might join that online Zumba class you always were curious about, or try a spin class that your friends can also take part in. Try participating in online cooking classes to start building some confidence in the kitchen to prepare healthier meals. The fear of change can be an exciting experience if you shift your mindset. Be mindful of what you are afraid of, and use it as fire to fuel your next lifestyle choice or fitness goal.

Embrace the suck.

Freedom is a big part of being happy and living a great life. The freedom to do what you want when you want. The freedom to explore new countries, eat different foods, or meet new people, are all aspects that you cannot replace. Our freedom has really been challenged this year, and is also set to be challenged in 2021. You may have heard the term ‘embrace the suck’ before – this simply means that whatever bad situation you may be in or think you are in, deal with it! It’s a concept used to teach the art of mental resilience, by dealing with something that is extremely unpleasant and to appreciate the situation you find yourself in. It’s a very military style attitude which I love. Yes, isolation sucks! Not seeing friends and family sucks, not being able to travel sucks, not being able to go to the gym sucks! But we can all work around our situations and learn to deal with it. Your own estimation of the situation is usually what creates external distress, and only you have the power to revoke your judgement at any given moment to keep moving forward.

Find clarity.

The most common internal problem I find with my clients when they approach me for help is that they lack clarity. Clarity of what they are trying to achieve and WHY they want to achieve it. If you lack clarity, the likelihood of you sticking to a fitness regime or healthy eating plans are slim, because the desire won’t outweigh the hard work required. Let’s be real, sticking to a training plan and meal structure can be difficult if your habits do not consist of either. I hear all the time, ‘I always lack motivation, which is why I cannot stick to something’. It’s not motivation they lack, it’s clarity. Be very clear on what you want to achieve and why, and decide what you are willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish your goal. Preparation is key to sustaining a positive healthy habit.

Lock in on alone time.

As daunting as it sounds, there’s the potential for more isolation periods in 2021, therefore this is the time to get in tune with yourself. Living alone, or spending time alone for long periods, is a serious issue for many people in society. Understanding mental health has never been as crucial and at the forefront of social discussion. Understanding oneself and appreciating the alone time you have can steer your mindset away from negative thoughts. When I first moved into Formula One, I struggled initially with the amount of alone time I had in hotel rooms, shifting from one room to another and living out of a suitcase. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t happy until I started utilising my alone time. Reading books of all kinds until I figured out what books actually interested me, sounds sad I know; however, I had no idea what intrigued me because I was never in tune with myself. I started by creating a positive morning routine, usually involving opening the curtains and catching the sunrise whilst I listened to a podcast or discovered new music on Spotify. I found a new love for hot baths where I could practice my breathing techniques and completely zen-out, which helped manage my stress immensely, something I never would have done if I didn’t luck in on my alone time.

The most difficult part of any fitness journey is remaining accountable and motivated, but with Michael’s guidance we’re sure you’ll be more than prepared to take on 2021!

If you’d like to learn more from Michael, click here.