The number 1 obstacle to getting fit is actually starting. The journey is a lifelong one and starting right now is always the best choice. It is so easy to miss a Monday, and then say ‘I will start again next week, I want a proper start where I give it 100%’. What do we mean a proper start? How many times have you said that, just start! Yes even if it is 8pm on a Thursday, the kids are screaming and hubby just got home. Every day is a chance to improve your cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength.
2. Set goals.
Set a fitness or training goal that is achievable within a few weeks and put it in your diary. Give yourself a time period within which to be accountable. Plans made in your head on a whim are rarely followed-through. Remember those New Years’ resolutions you made and re-made? Write down a goal you can easily work on each week. These goals could be a certain number of sprints on the cross-trainer, an amount of push ups, a barbell squat weight etc. Consult a Personal Trainer if you have questions about technique.
3. Understand your goal.
So many times I have heard something along the lines of ‘I need to lose at least 20kg by June’. Hold on, where did you get that number? Most of the time it was a number chosen by the member while looking at the scales. A safe amount of weight to lose per week can range from under 0.5-1kg per week. If that date is in a month it is very unrealistic you will reach that figure and you will likely give up after a week or two. Some transformations take months so it can be far more effective to figure out exactly what needs to be done and set activity goals. For example, My overall goal is to drop some body fat. I will do two resistance sessions and attend two cardio classes per week along with sound changes in daily nutrition. Then track your progress. If you are getting results then continue, if not then perhaps seek some professional help from a trainer.
4. Book in with a Personal Trainer.
Invest in a proper program and/or some training sessions. The amount of time I see members come into our gym and do the same thing…every single week. The result of this is, well, not very much at all. You are not challenging your muscles or your cardiovascular system if you do the same low intensity cardio and the same resistance work every week. It is similar to finishing year 7 and then re-enrolling in year 7. Yes you will pick up on information that you may have missed in the first year, but it will not be challenging or stimulating and therefore it is more effective to upgrade your knowledge base and enter year 8. Trainers are there to help, yes they cost money, but they are providing a service based on knowledge, training, science and proven results with past clients.
5. Stop setting limits on time spent training.
Some days we only have time for 20-minutes of exercise…so? Does that mean you should just skip it? Of course not. We have had members rush in to our club and rush out saying ‘I only had 20 minutes but I had to fit something in’. Good on them and good on you for when you implement this tip. A brisk 10 minute walk, a 40 minute resistance session, a 30-minute cycle class, it all adds up.
6. Work out with a buddy.
Having one or a group of like-minded friends who want to train can be really helpful in getting you out of the house. If you have a date and time set you will be less likely to back out of training. One note of caution, if your friend becomes less accountable than you are make sure you either go it alone or find a new training partner. You may be a gym member and meet a fellow member who is just as committed as you are. Sometimes your gym buddy will not end up being the same person as the one you started with!
7. Use a pedometer.
Studies have shown 70,000 steps per week is the starting point for general maintenance of health. From experience I have found it takes most people 50-80 minutes of continuous walking to complete 10,000 steps. An office worker may do 3000-4000 steps. Unfortunately that means some of us are doing well below what is needed for maintenance. A previous client of mine joined a group within her office where they would walk every lunch break during the week, she clocked up 80-90,000 steps per week. As a result, with proper nutrition and resistance training, she saw changes in her girth measurements and progress pictures.
8. Make it fun.
On a nice weekend get a group of friends together and play a game of footy, soccer or netball. It is best to score points as you will all try that little bit harder. Especially your competitive friend(s), you know the one, you can name them right now! Make sure you do an adequate warm up in the form of a few light oval jogs and perhaps some mobility work. As kids we could jump straight into a match with little to no warm up, but for some of us, the joints are not as well-oiled as they used to be.
9. Increase your metabolism.
The word metabolism is thrown around a lot, basically it means the break down and use of energy within the body. An effective way to increase the metabolism through exercise is resistance training. Weight training increases the amount of metabolically active tissue, muscle. So basically the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn even while resting. Weight training is a great tool which should be included in most, if not all, adult training regimens. Proper form will always be important, approach a local trainer for correct technique.
10. Take progress photos and measurements.
Many of my clients focus their entire success on their scale weight number. Yes it can be a useful tool in tracking your progress but it is not the only one, progress photos and girth measurements should also be considered. An example of a recent client of mine was when we did her second set of monthly measurements. She had been complaining that she had ONLY lost 0.3kg and was devastated. We did her waist measurement and she had lost 7cm off her waist. She ended up leaving the gym that day excited and ready to continue making changes. A small change in perspective of what is important can reassure you that you are on track.
2 BONUS TIPS
11. Get fitter in less time.
If you are short on time High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be very effective. Please note, due to its intense nature it is best to try once you have a base level of fitness. During a HIIT workout you alternate between maximal effort and recovery rest in timed intervals. For example 20:10, this is 20 seconds work followed by 10 seconds rest. Note 2-3 sessions of HIIT training per week is sufficient.
12. Look the part!
Get down to your local sports store and buy yourself a nice pair of shorts/tights and a t-shirt. This is because when you dress the part you feel it and that confidence is conveyed when you walk into the gym and you should be comfortable in the way you look and feel. You do not want to be half way through a set of squats and stop to readjust your top or constantly pulling your pants up during burpees…seriously not fun.