IN EVERY ARTICLE I write, my aim is to provide you with as much relevant information I feel is useful towards building and sustaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.
In an industry where there is more misleading information than ever, it’s incredibly important to be receiving the right kind of advice and that’s always been the goal of my fitness column.
Like I’ve said so many times before, fitness to me isn’t just about lifting weights, going for a run and living off a diet of chicken and broccoli. There is a far bigger and broader picture to it and in this week’s piece I’ll go through five hurdles people often encounter on their fitness journey.
1. Pick something that you will enjoy first
There really is no point in doing something that is going to be a chore for you.
Having worked in a gym for the last decade, I see people signing up for year-long memberships in January knowing full well that they hate the gym and won’t enjoy going; more often than not they’ve been down this route before and have got absolutely nowhere.
It’s so important, and I cannot overstate it enough, that you find something that you enjoy first and foremost. There are so many different activities out there to suit you, it’s just about picking the right one as opposed to forcing yourself to do something you hate.
2. Training matches the goal
I’ve seen all sorts of training programmes over the years including strength, sport-specific, bodybuilding, weight-loss and weight-gain routines.
A pretty big thing I come across quite often is training programmes not matching up with the actual goal intended. I don’t always blame the individual for that.
There is a lot of misleading information out there nowadays and while it’s great they are following a fitness plan, it’s paramount that it’s the right one for your goal and fitness levels.
If you are unsure the best thing is to seek out a trainer that has a good pedigree and a proven track record of working with clients face-to-face and not some online trainer who sells their progammes over the internet.
3. Don’t get sidetracked
A lot of the time I see people falling by the wayside if they’re not making progress or if a programme isn’t working for them. Anytime I get a client in who has hopped from trainer to trainer, and programme to programme alarm bells go off in my head.
To be honest it’s invariably not the trainer, gym or progamme that hasn’t worked but the individual has either taken on too much or launched themselves into the wrong programme.
I have always said if you are working with a good trainer that it’s always a 50/50 approach with client and trainer and you have to be consistent in sticking to the plan.
There are so many different avenues you can go down so again it’s important not to go with the cheapest or most convenient programme.
4. Have a smart and realistic approach
We should be taking a long-term health approach to exercise yet too many want the ‘easy’ quick fix.
The quick fix isn’t realistic a lot of the time and perhaps not the smartest or best approach either.
Your fitness is something to be working on for the rest of your life and in order to be living a fit and healthy lifestyle means it’s something that you should be constantly working on.
With that approach, it’s not a big deal if you fall off the wagon a little bit. Get back up and go again, aiming to get to grips with all the basics that will work over a long-term period.
Sleep: Shooting for eight hours is a good start.
Stress: Invest at least 15 minutes each day to yourself. Slow down, breathe, stretch and just switch off. It could be doing some yoga poses, going for a walk or playing with your kids.
Hydration: Aim for 2.5-4 litres daily. Little and often throughout the day.
Nutrition: There is no single diet solution for everyone. We have different metabolisms so it is really important to work out a diet plan that works for you. Focus on getting the basics right first; cut out the junk food, go easy on the wheat, gluten and sugar, and keep alcohol and caffeine in moderation.
5. Don’t rule it out until you have tried it
This is an area I was guilty of in my earlier days. A lot of the time it’s the basic stuff we really need and not the most fancy, intense or complicated training plans.
Things like yoga, doing some mobility work, practicing some meditation or even bringing in basic low intensity active recovery sessions into my gym work were always ruled out until I realised the importance of it. It took time and experience.
Growing up I always felt that quantity always beat quality and that high volume/intensity was the best approach for my training.
When you’re younger you’re a little naive and I guess I didn’t always appreciate the other areas that might just be more beneficial to me. If I could turn the clock back I would try to listen to my body better, structure my training week a little better leaving and bring in some yoga or mobility work.
Vary your training up or try things that totally bring in a new fresh approach for you. Change is good.
You can also see some of his previous articles here.
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