How to get back on the fitness wagon

Getting back on the fitness wagon after the Christmas break can be tough!

You’ve been indulging in copious amounts of chocolate and booze that the idea of putting on your workout gear and heading back to the gym is daunting.

We’ve sat down with Personal Trainer Adrian at The Gym to give you some advice on getting motivated and easing your way back into working out.

Start slow

The key to getting back on the fitness wagon is to start slow. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise according to Adrian.

“Make a conscious effort to get your step count up, this could be getting off the bus two or three stops before your usual stop and walking home.” 

He suggests stepping up your walking “by increasing your speed, known as power walking.” This will get the heart beating quicker, therefore increasing the amount of calories burnt. The recommended step count a day is 10,000. Make this your goal to hit.

“If you’re working out in the gym, find a machine in the gym you are most comfortable with”

“These could be CV machines such as the cross trainer, bike or rower which is low intensity work. Use these for 10-15 minutes and gradually build up your stamina, which is called body conditioning.

“It is important to stay in your comfort zone for a while when you first start and eventually you should become fitter and stronger then start progress further” said Adrian.

Having a personal trainer when you are getting started can really help if you’re a little stuck. At The Gym, they have 15 dedicated personal trainers including Adrian. Each member is offered free 3 half an hour personal training sessions when they sign up.

A personal trainer will help define your goals and assist you with achieving them through a specialised workout routine and nutrition plan.

Set realistic goals

Before you start working out, it’s important to sit down and write down some goals you want to achieve. Adrian recommends following the SMART goal setting method to focus your mind.

This is broken down into “Specific, Measurable, Agreeable, Reasonable and Time.”

Specific“Your goal must be clear and easy to understand”. To start with, set a single goal and stick with it. You can change many things and set too many goals but you will run into the trouble of feeling overwhelmed and quit.

Measurable – If your goal is to lose weight, then you need to know how you’re going to “track your progress and how you will know when you have reached your goal”. To make your goal measurable, add a number to it.

Attainable – Before you add a number to your goal, you need to know if you can achieve it. Make your goal too hard then you won’t succeed but make it too easy, you will not be motivated enough. Only you will know your limits.

Reasonable – Make your goal reasonable. You need to make the goal something that you know you can achieve and keep re-evaluating it as you go on. Is it still relevant to you? If so, keep going. If you are not concerned about weight loss anymore, change it. If your life has become too hectic and you can’t achieve it anymore, choose a different goal that you can achieve instead.

Time – Setting yourself a deadline will help motivate you to get started. “Think about whether you want to have a short term goal (4 weeks), medium short term (8 weeks) or a long term goal (3 months or longer).”

“Think about how many times a week you can dedicate time to work out.”

“If you’re struggling to find time, you can get smart by training at home and combine workouts or exercises for maximum impact.”

Get a work out partner

Adrian suggests having a good training partner in or outside the gym can “help to motivate”.

“Some people don’t take pride in coming to the gym because they are ashamed of working out in front of others.

“There are workout videos you can buy so you can exercise at home with family and friends. From there, you can ease your way into the gym feeling a bit more confident.”

This is a popular method with many members at The Gym who have worked out at home before joining a gym, with some feeling more “comfortable in their own skin”.

Downloading fitness apps such as MapMyRun and Nike+ Training Club is another great way of monitoring your progress and seeing how your friends are doing. You can even make it a fun healthy competition to see who can run for the furthest.

Nutrition is key

Working out is just one part of getting fit. Nutrition plays a key role in achieving your fitness goals which Adrian describes as being very important to getting right.

“If your nutrition is bad, you can stay stuck. You need to be burning more than what you consume if you want to lose weight or stay fit.”

Many gym-goers tend to cut out the wrong types of food that are essential to helping you get the best workout.

“A lot of people tend to shy away from complex carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and bread.

“However, those carbs are really essential when it comes to training because when you’re doing a physical activity, complex carbs will break down slowly, giving you energy for a long period of time.”

Adrian recommends getting some advice from a personal trainer before you start your process to work out the best nutrition plan for you. This is offered to members at The Gym for free.

For limited time only, The Gym are offering membership for just £11.99 a month with no joining fee! You can sign up by visiting them at 79-84 High Street, via their website or giving them a call on 0330 056 3911.

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