The gym is still full of high hopes and expectation. There are new faces, all keen and eager to lose a few extra pounds and get fit for the coming year. I see it every year, new recruits, January is wildy busy, it’s hard to find space to workout and you end up waiting for equipment and kit. As February rolls around, the enthusiasm wanes, gym visits drop and it’s all back to normal and for most people that monthly membership is wasted.
I wanted to get a few motivational tips from the experts to help maintain the good work, to keep people fixed on fitness for the duration of the year. It is hard, waking up in the dark pulling yourself out of a warm bed to face the freezing cold all before the sun has reared it’s pretty head. If it’s raining – then it’s worse. But the pay off is well worth it. My goal at the beginning of January was to lose 4 kilos (8.8 lbs) by 6th March when I head off to the beach in Thailand. I had to lose the beer belly. I am over half way there and really pleased with my progress. Get a goal and go for it.
John Williams from David Lloyd Leisure has put together some tips to help keep up the healthy habits – so they become that – habits, not a passing phase in your life.
I will be taking note of all of these:
- Write down all goals in a positive way and as though you have achieved them, such as: “I am X weight. I exercise 4 times per week.” rather than “I will lose or I will do”.
- Consult with a fitness professional who can discuss with you the best ways of exercising and eating to achieve your goals.
- Commit long term: it shows belief in yourself is absolutely essential to your fitness goals. Imagine your commitment as an endurance event: be cautious of coming out the blocks sprinting, as true fitness can’t be achieved in 2- 3 hard weeks. In fact, throwing everything at it early in the New Year is one of the surest ways to end up burnt out, de-motivated or even injured.
- Work out with others. If you like working out in groups, sign up to a group programme or go to group exercise classes with a friend or make some new ones at the classes. Research has shown those who do fitness as part of a group stick to their programs more than those that try to do it alone. Even if you don’t like groups, try to get a workout partner. Most gyms now do taster sessions or group PT, where you can get expert training whilst meeting new people.
Here are a few easy tips on how to stick to your fitness goals:
- Darker days and low temperatures can have a hibernating effect on us, particularly those sensitive to light. So prior to working out wrap up warm to increase your body temperature and spend some time in good light to increase energy and make it easier for you to get down to the gym.
- Put your workouts in your diary – this one is for all year round. Those that commit in writing are up to 6 times more likely to get to the gym and get that workout done. ‘Hoping you will get time’ and ‘you will feel like it’ aren’t going to work when you’re busy!
- Hydration is one of the most important things to get right for health and energy. Try to achieve an intake of 0.033ml per kilo of body weight per day. For example a 70kg person should aim to drink 70 x 0.033ml = 2.3litres.
- Time your indulgences. Okay, so there is never a great time to indulge in chocolates, but a better time might be 30 minutes pre workout as this can top up the tank to give you energy for your workout. And within 60 minutes after completing a tough workout your ideal post workout meal would constitute some protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It’s also a time your body is restocking the muscle glycogen, so a little extra carbs is likely to impact you less.