The re-emergence of gyms is here! After a year of sporadic lockdowns, they will once again reopen alongside hair and beauty salons, outdoor seating at bars and restaurants as well as theme parks and zoos. The weather forecast also looks like it will support this step of reopening which may lead you to think that summer is on it’s way. What hopefully follows this thought is one of excitement, but instead it could be dread of not being in the physical shape you may hope.
We all have 168 hours per week, so why is it that some people have healthier lifestyles than others? What we do with our time is completely up to us. You might have a full on job, a family to support or other people depending on you but if you don’t look after yourself you won’t be able to help anyone else. There is a reason you should put your own oxygen mask on before helping others if a plane starts to malfunction. If you faint whilst helping someone else, you’re useless. The same goes for everyday life.
Taking the first step is always the toughest. The first time getting in the pool, the first day at school or the first time committing to a change. We make assumptions that it is going to be much worse than it actually is and we usually look back and think there really wasn’t much to worry about. There is also the guilt of letting others down especially your family or your work colleagues. The same goes for making a healthy lifestyle change. Here are my steps to follow to ensure you take the plunge and stick with it:
1. Decide what it is you want. Your first thought may inevitably be that you want to lose weight. But let me ask you this. If I gave you 2 options, which would you chose?
Option 1: To lose 2 stone in 2 months with but clothes feel similar on your body and no real noticeable changes in your body circumference.
Option 2: To drop a combined 12 inches from your waist, hips, legs and arms and feel stronger, healthier and have more energy and not know your weight.
For those of you who chose option 1, ask yourself why? Is your weight tattooed on your forehead for everyone to see?
If you chose option 2, well done you passed.
2. Set a realistic target. Measure yourself with a tape measure so you know where your starting point is. Set yourself a realistic target of somewhere between 1-5cm loss from each area. By all means you can set yourself a weight goal, but this should be lower on the priority list. Remember if you don’t eat for a day you will loose weight, but obviously this is not sustainable. Also most of the weight you will have lost will be water, not fat!
3. Set a time frame to achieve your goal. Look at your calendar for the next 6 months and identify whether or not changing your shape by the amount you wish is realistic. If you find that you have holidays, weddings, birthdays lined up, take these into account so guilt won’t set in and you can enjoy them. Humans are generally sociable creatures, so unless you are planning to become a bodybuilder (which I wouldn’t recommend), make sure you enjoy these events guilt-free as we have all earned it after the last 12 months!
4. Find time to train. You won’t just wake up one morning, put the trainers on and head out for a run. It takes planning, so find time in your day by either getting up 30 minutes early, taking a lunch break or swapping your TV time at the end of the day to fit in 20-30 minutes of exercise. Don’t think the only way to get results is by committing to 60 minutes of exercise every session. Involve your family or work colleagues too as they will support you and help you find a way to fit it in.
5. What is tracked gets measured. How many calories have you eaten over the past week? I imagine you have no idea which means you don’t know how much food you’re eating. If I asked you how much food you give your pet each day, you would be able to tell me. If the dog is carrying some extra weight, you give them less food and exercise them a bit more. Humans are no different in that way, so a good place to start is awareness. If you can find out what you are eating on a daily basis, you can consider what changes you could make.
One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘can you help me with my food, I just don’t know what to eat?’. The media tells us that certain foods are classed as good or bad, but I disagree. Instead, foods are either more, or less nutritious and easily or not easily over consumed. Think of it this way, if you eat 50% of your maintenance calories from just chocolate you would lose weight. But this comes at a nutritional sacrifice. You won’t have much energy, you will be deficient in most vitamin groups and you would constantly be on a high then a deep low from the amount of sugar. If the goal is weight loss, this will work, but if it is sustained weight-loss over a longer period of time which is more enjoyable and healthy, don’t just eat chocolate. Before looking at what you’re eating, track how many calories you’re consuming. You could eat the most nutritious diet, but you still won’t lose any weight if your calories are too high!
You will notice I haven’t said you need to go to the gym. That’s because you don’t have to. If you enjoy going to the gym, by all means do it but if not, don’t force yourself. Over the past year we haven’t had access to them and believe it or not some of my clients have got into the best shape of their lives from home training.
Getting results is about understanding where you are, where you want to get to, making a plan and sticking to it. The tools you use can be different to your friends and that’s ok as long as they work for you. So get started today, your future self will thank you for it.
If you need help getting back to the gym and need a personalised programme, or want some help without the gym, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on instagram (@robcarr11) or Facebook (@robcarrrpt).