Traditionally, the New Year is a time reserved for getting back into the flow of fitness and nutrition. And yet, as the calendar flipped to 2022, many Canadians were forced to reconfigure their resolution plans following the announcement that gyms would be temporarily closed to kick off the new year. However, if these past two years have taught us anything, it’s that a healthy lifestyle can be maintained from home if given the right tools and insight. One particular tool that quickly became a popular fitness staple throughout the pandemic was Peloton, the exercise equipment and media company that allows its users to work out alongside charismatic instructors like Adrian Williams.
Through the isolation of lockdowns, Williams and his fellow instructors became something of interactive friends, supporting their users as they embarked on their new fitness journeys. Since then, a lot has changed throughout the world, but Williams and Peloton remain as committed as ever to helping you reach your 2022 goals. Users fell in love with Williams’ patented friendly, no-nonsense personality and penchant for making people work harder than they ever bargained for, making him the perfect sidekick to transforming this year into your healthiest yet.
Below, Williams offers nutritional insights, recovery strategies, and the programs he recommends to those hoping to lead a fitter lifestyle through 2022.
For those new to the space, what are the most common obstacles to an active lifestyle?
Adrian Williams: For most, time is always the factor. But I also think confidence and community are huge. Those are three core pillars that we try to provide at Peloton. Most people I know have families, they have a full-time job, or they’re going to school. They just don’t have much time. I think where Peloton really shines is that we have things that are short or long. So, if you have just 10 minutes to exercise, we have you covered. If today’s one of those days where you can hit 45 minutes, amazing. I think the community and confidence aspects are two really integral things that someone needs when trying anything new. I always say in my classes, “Try to connect the fun to the fitness.” First, find the thing that you have the most fun doing because that’ll be the thing that sets you up for success and builds your confidence. Once that confidence is built, find a community that welcomes you. I think Peloton offers the perfect solution with so many instructors; if one person isn’t your type, then maybe the next person is. If this class isn’t what you’re into, there’s always another one for you.
What tips would you offer to keep someone’s fitness resolutions alive through the winter months?
Adrian Williams: Community matters most during the winter months. Right now, we’re doing a lot less; we’re going out less, we’re connecting with people less, and people tend to stay inside. But that makes it the perfect time to reach out to your friends and family and connect with them on a fitness journey because it just makes it so much more fun. It’s funny how Peloton has almost become the new Happy Hour. I teach these DJ Runs on Fridays where people can spend a happy, healthy 30 minutes with me and go about the rest of their day. You’d be surprised how people really ban together just to have this joyful experience in a healthy environment. Finding people online and going to classes together is so easy now.
In what ways has your fitness journey impacted your life aside from just your physical health?
Adrian Williams: The mindfulness I get from exercise is probably my most valuable takeaway from the lifestyle. That’s always what I’m trying to teach in class. Don’t focus on how you physically look, focus on how you feel. There are a lot of things that tend to come up when we work out. People find themselves emotional and they don’t know why and it’s because we bury so much on a day-to-day basis, so when you get to a place where you’re challenging yourself and naturally uncomfortable, these emotions start to come out. They can come out through tears, curse words, or joy. But as you’re working out, try to be present and reflect on how you’re feeling. Then, realize that what you do in your workouts can translate to the outside world. Take that confidence or acceptance and bring it into your place of work or being in a new space. Whatever it is, let those lessons translate.
A large part of fitness is the gear that we perform in. Can you talk about the functionality of your new Adidas x Peloton collection?
Adrian Williams: I’ve repped Adidas since my track days and it’s always been about form and function. Those are the two things, especially as an athlete, that you’re constantly searching for. I think Adidas does a great job of providing those things holistically. I’m a very sweaty person, so when I put on the gear, it needs to be light, extremely comfortable, and breathable. It also needs to be fitting because, when I work out, I’m moving in all planes of motion. I want it to be almost like a second skin. But it also has to look good or else no one is going to want to wear it. It’s a balance but Adidas has always done it so well and this collection speaks to that.
For someone looking to transform their diet, what are some tips for creating a sustained shift in nutrition?
Adrian Williams: I think the most important step is finding an expert. There’s no single solution that’s going to work for everyone, so you have to find a balance that works for you and there are professionals who can help build that. Next, you have to figure out how you can create a structure for yourself without being unhappy because, most of the time, when we hear “diet,” we immediately associate it with unhappiness. You have to find a happy medium. But diets are also often approached with an “all or nothing” mentality, which just sets you up for failure. Life is constantly about pivoting, so you should always live life with room to manoeuvre. You should be able to have pizza or a glass of wine without it changing your entire lifestyle because, if there isn’t a happy medium, then it will never be sustainable.
What is the biggest misconception when it comes to New Year’s fitness resolutions?
Adrian Williams: I always tell people to stop thinking seasonally. People go away for the summer and it’s rosé all day, then they come back in September and want to train hard, then go away for winter vacation and it’s the same thing – rosé all day – then they want to work hard for their summer body. How can anyone balance that? You need to create something seamless where you can enjoy life and still train simultaneously. You don’t want to constantly be shifting between highs and lows. That’s a recipe for disaster. Find something fun, healthy, and sustainable and keep it going through the calendar. That way, nutrition becomes fulfilling and we’re able to erase the dread around it.
What are some keys to recovering from workouts?
Adrian Williams: This is my favourite thing. I speak to this all the time. Mobility is so key. It’s the essence of youth, being able to move well as we get older. In terms of recovery, it’s a healthy balance of paying attention to your needs and addressing them before they’re an issue. Whether that’s practising light yoga or stretching, those are things that everyone should emphasize. Tissue mobility and tissue health are really important. Those don’t really have the “cool factor,” so a lot of people keep it out of their training. But it’s those uncool parts, the parts that you don’t upload on Instagram or your fitness app, that you really need to be focusing on. Allowing yourself 10 extra minutes after every exercise for a proper cool-down will allow you to sustain your lifestyle for far longer. Ice baths and saunas are incredible, but not everyone has access. Everyone can stretch.
If you had to pick a Peloton instructor to fire up someone just embarking on their fitness journey, who would it be?
Adrian Williams: Jess King always gets me hyped because she’s an EDM-head and I love that. It’s always a party. But I also love hip-hop, so Alex Toussaint is militant and amazing for me in that sense. Andy Speer – I call him The Scientist – always brings it with his class. Denis [Morton]‘s voice and approach are amazing. I could listen to his voice every day. He has a style of teaching with yoga and meditation that I’ve never run into before.
How can people keep themselves motivated to maintain their active lifestyle long-term?
Adrian Williams: I think keeping a journal is important to creating a real structure for yourself. Writing things down is really helpful in terms of sticking to your goals. But more than anything, being kind to yourself is key. Some days you’re going to have it, some days you won’t. Sometimes, the workout is going to be amazing and other times, it’s going to suck. That’s okay, that’s just the way the journey goes. You have to balance the joy. There are workouts where you should be uncomfortable, but also workouts where you should just enjoy the process.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.