The benefits of exercise go way beyond just the physical transformations that take place but extend far deeper into the emotional and mental well being of our health. I know myself that after a workout it clears the fog in my brain, stabilizes my moods and allows me to clear the lens and refocus again. Embarking on any new fitness journey can bring up a whole host of insecurities around the way you look, your fitness levels, what to do and for some it can be quite intimidating stepping foot into a place that has a bunch of toned bodies everywhere and some scary looking equipment.
If you are embarking on a new exercise regime here are my top 5 tips to get you started and to help keep you going:
1. Moderation is not failure
When embarking on any new exercise regime it is important to remember you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. If it has been a significant period of time since you laced up your trainers, begin with some low impact activities such as cycling, swimming, walking, Pilates or Yoga. It is important to recognize that there is not just the physical benefits of exercise such as increases in strength, endurance and fitness but also the emotional benefits of exercise such as improvements in mental and emotional health
2. Set Realistic Expectations
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be your body. As a Personal Trainer I encourage my clients to set goals that are realistic and achievable in terms of their exercise and nutrition. You really need to check your expectations when it comes to the ‘big picture’ of what you are trying to achieve. If you are have a major event you would like to train for ensure you don’t leave it to the last minute before you join a gym or embark on that running program.
3. Get a Support System
Research tells us that the reasons the majority of people leave gyms is not because they move away or cant afford it but because of a lack of motivation. If you find it hard to be self motivated on the best of days try training with a buddy I guarantee you are less likely to hit the ‘snooze’ button if you know you have committed to meeting someone at 6am. If the thought of stepping into the weights area feels intimidating, or you are not confident around what to do, enlist the services of a Personal Trainer who can specifically design programs based around your strengths and weaknesses. You will be surprised at what your body can do and how hard you can push yourself when you have someone encouraging you to do so. Personal Trainers provide accountability and will ask you the difficult questions around food habits, stress, sleep and exercise. Join a gym that provides plenty of variety in terms of it’s service offerings, clubs such as Fitness First have small group training classes and group fitness classes that make working out social and fun.
4. Participate in Exercises or Sport that you Enjoy
Lets face it, if exercise feels like a chore or you are mentally ticking off the minutes before you can get out of there, chances are you wont last long. Not all exercise has to be structured or in the gym, you may love training outdoors or playing sport several times a week, these are great ways to keep fit plus they are social and enjoyable. Participate in small group training classes, join a running club or a Bootcamp you will be surprised at how quickly the time goes.
5. See How You Measure Up
Wearable technology has transformed the way we can measure heart rates, outputs, distances, pace, sleep and even body fat. Measuring our heart rate for example provides clear cut results around how hard we are working or perhaps how not. The ability to measure our results allows us to take responsibility for each and every workout, it also allows us to accurately compare our results over a period of time and to track our progress. Most wearable technology is easily synched to mobile devices and some even provide you with programs on what to do in the gym. Another great way to provide some insight into where your strengths and weaknesses lie is the “Bio-Score’. The Bio-Score available at Fitness First, is a holistic analysis of your health which allows you to see where you stand before you set out to improve.The Bio-Score measures your lung function, agility, strength, cardio, functional strength, core strength, waist to height ratio, muscular power, blood pressure and metabolic blood testing. These results are then formulated into a software program which provide us with a Bio age vs our chronological or actual age. Set yourself a goal to improve these markers in 12 weeks and retest again.
Take it from me, exercise does have the power to not just transform your body but it has the power to transform your life.
These tips will get you well on your way to improving your health and wellbeing, remember exercise should be a habit like brushing your teeth or combing your hair. The hardest part is getting started, remember some exercise is better than none and to be kind to yourself, self compassion will increase your likelihood to succeed long term.