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Stay on the wagon! Top tips to keep on track fitness-wise this summer

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy, writes personal trainer David Last.

Image: Shutterstock/lzf

THE HOT SUMMER months can be a time where we fall off the wagon a little bit and get a little sidetracked from our fitness regime.

From summer holidays and festivals to sunshine in the beer garden, going to the gym might not at the top of your to-do list. Like I mentioned in a previous summer series article, it is good to take that one or two week break and come away from your routine, letting loose a little bit.

Drink that beer, eat that burger and forget about your daily workout. Go on holiday and let your body recharge. Get some rest, some vitamin D and nice food and drink, while spending good time with family and friends.

Then try to incorporate some of your fitness training back into your routine by ticking the boxes that actually do work.

Over the past 10 years I have seen many fads, myths and total nonsense that have creeped into the fitness industry. Not only are my own clients confused about certain things, but I guarantee there are many fitness professionals — including myself — who are also scratching their head while looking at some the stuff that is out there today.

From quick fixes, fat loss pills, steroids and supplements to the wild and wacky online Instagram trainers promising you their special formula workouts and discount codes on the products you don’t need.

These myths encourage people to go down different avenues. It is pretty normal to try them, get nowhere and then totally fall off the bandwagon.

I’ve put together a checklist of things that actually do work and things to be wary of, and hopefully everything here will come in handy for keeping you going nicely over the summer months.

A lot of these tips are really basic, but believe it or not it’s basics that will work all the time, along with consistency, some hard work and patience.

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is

We have all seen it; quick fixes, magic fat loss pills, 14 day abs, guaranteed results with this certain program along with certain supplement pyramid schemes that get you on board to sell and take outlandish products that you don’t need.

Your health and fitness is something that you really should be treating as something quite important for the rest of your life.

Signing up to a 14 day program or taking quick-fix fat loss pills for a beach holiday next month wont work in the long run. What will work is accepting your health and fitness is a lifestyle where you should live well by eating real food, drinking enough water and getting regular exercise.

Just eat real food

shutterstock_160379219 (1) Source: Shutterstock/Sebastian Duda

Having a realistic approach when it comes to your nutrition is what works.

70-80% of the time aim to eat real food full of protein, carbs and fats — things like meat, fish, eggs, green leafy veg and fruit. 20-30% of the time have that cake, beer or take away — enjoy it and allow it to be in your plan.

We live in a time where options are endless and some claim that you need to do paleo, go gluten free or even cut your carbs in order to achieve and sustain your goals. Time and time again I see people drastically cutting carbs in hope it can help their fitness levels or weight loss goals.

Carbs are good and we need them. Protein too is something we all need and its not just for the lads!

Most people underestimate the power of staying hydrated and drinking enough water. Believe it or not this is one of the most important things to have ticked off whether it comes to your weight loss goals, improving your fitness or performance to even controlling your nutritional habits and cravings.

My top tip here is start your day with a half pint of water and during the day, always have water not too far away, taking little sips every 20 minutes.

You think you need to be sweating during a session and be sore the next day

This is something I hear every single day. The fitness industry will constantly sell youth, intensity and generally going all out with your routine. It doesn’t seem to be cool to slow down, stretch and listen to your body any more.

Believe it or not you don’t need to be sweating and you certainly don’t need to be sore all the time after your workout.

From being around the gym floor a long time, I actually see that people need the quite opposite to this. Lots of people have poor movement and mobility while being constantly tight in their body. What people should really make sure to have nailed down in their sessions is some mobility work on the areas that need attention, doing some yoga or stretching sessions every now and then.

yoga Source: Shutterstock/De Visu

You might not need to be hammering the heart rate each training session and it’s good to back down and listen to the body every now and then. Believe it or not but doing really simple things like incorporating a long walk into your week, managing your stress levels by doing some light meditation, to a dip in the sea or even treating your sleep as priority is what you need to be worrying about.

Every now and then it’s good to get the heart rate up or even some weight training so that you might be sore the next day, but its not always at the top of the agenda

Do what makes you happy

That trip to the gym, class or programme should never be a chore and a part of your day that you dread.

Time and time again, I would see people three or four months into their new training regime totally fall off the bandwagon purely down to boredom, little to no results and perhaps it’s something they truly didn’t enjoy.

Sadly, we now live in a time where self image is all around and some people consider that what your body looks like is perhaps the most important thing. A lot of the time people follow a trend for this goal — join the gym, cut the carbs and so on, going all out for three months. And then getting nowhere, feeling crap and not liking the whole process.

There is far more important things in life than your image. Those 6 pack abs, big biceps or chizzled chest really isn’t that important.

How you feel on the inside is far greater and doing things that you actually enjoy and make you happy is what its all about.

I have always said its not about going to the gym. The choice is now endless and we can really go down any route here that will help your goal.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

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