The joy of movement and putting yourself first

Simple but effective tips for better living (from a professional personal trainer)

Written by Hyde Phillips

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We caught up with Pearl from At Home Fitness Gloucester to ask for her opinion on how best to approach health and fitness, including some simple tips for healthy living that you can start today.

I like to package health and fitness up into four distinct areas: exercise, diet, mental wellbeing, and motivation.

From working as a personal trainer for over 6 years, I’ve found that the people who’ve had the best results and been most successful in their on-going health and fitness journey have been those who have been kind to themselves – and who have thought about health & fitness as part of the whole, rather than some extra thing to squeeze into their lives.

Here are some tips and insights that I’ve learnt, to inspire you to kick off your health and fitness journey, and keep it going for years to come!

Let’s start with exercise

It’s interesting to me that so many people think they don’t like exercise. If this is you, here’s something you might want to hear: there’s no need to force yourself to run on a treadmill or lift weights if you really don’t enjoy it! 

The key (like all things in life!) is to find an exercise that you enjoy! The best thing you can do for your body is to find a fun activity that gets you moving… and even better if it’s something regular that you genuinely look forward to every week!

Kettlebell squats with Pearl

Pearl taking Tom through a new routine

My exercise top tips:

  • My top exercise tip is simple: find something you enjoy doing. Then you’ll be excited to build it into your routine!
  • Haven’t found an exercise you love yet? Try the one-a-month challenge! Try a new sport or exercise once a month. It could be something as simple as stretching at home, or as ‘out-there’ as rock climbing or ice skating! The aim here is to try out a load of different activities and see if there’s one that you fall in love with. The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll do it!
  • If you find exercise too difficult, expensive or time-consuming, it will be hard to incorporate into your lifestyle. Start small, and be realistic about your monetary and time commitments! Rather than travelling far away, could you exercise a little closer to home? Instead of investing in expensive equipment, can you get creative and use things you already own?

Nutrition (aka healthy eating and drinking)

When people start to get busy in their lives, nutrition is often the first thing to fall down – takeaway after a busy day anyone?!

There are healthier, quicker and simpler solutions out there for every meal and every occasion (yes, really!), and I love helping my clients to find new and nutritious meals that suit them and their lifestyle.  

Here are a few nutrition challenges I give to my clients to get them thinking about their diet!

Mindful Eating. What it is and how to practice it. Table full of food

My top tips for healthy eating:

  • Opt for 50% plant-based foods in every plate. I’m not preaching for you to become vegetarian, but throw a handful of berries into your breakfast, or throw some colour on your plate at lunchtime! Eating vitamins, minerals and colours of the rainbow can do great things!
  • I’m never going to tell anyone to stop eating the things they enjoy eating. Health and fitness is a life-long mission, and I want to inspire people to love every step of their journey! Instead, add a healthy spin on the recipes you know and love. Try some plant-based meat substitutes, add a salad onto the side, or try some different vegetables that you’ve never had before!
  • When you’re making your meal plan, remember to include snacks in there too. I find that a lot of my clients will eat some awesome healthy main meals, but they’ll reach to the biscuit cupboard when they’ve got those 3pm hunger pangs! Fruit, vegetables, overnight oats, smoothies – these are all great alternatives. When you’re meal-planning, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll be the perfect non-snacking human… just have some healthy options ready and available for when you need them!

Mental well-being

This is a huge one for me, and should largely guide our approach to health & fitness. Please repeat after me: You don’t have to be perfect.

This is your health and fitness journey, and my mission as a personal trainer is to empower you to love it, every step of the way. 

Mental well-being isn’t just about meditation and yoga (though, they do help!). It’s about giving yourself a break. It’s about knowing your limits, and understanding your personal goals and what they mean to you. It’s about being the best version of you there is!

Here are my simple tips to boost your mental well-being:

  • Give yourself a break! Sometimes when people have had a tough day, they’ll turn to a comfort crutch like chocolate or alcohol to make themselves feel better. Then they think, ‘Well, I’ve messed that up now. So I might as well stop trying because I can’t do it’. Just no! You don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time. Tomorrow is always a new day – a chance to start fresh. So let go of the destructive ‘everything or nothing’ mindset. Small changes will make huge improvements in your life over time, so just make the best decisions you can at any moment!
  • Take the chance to put yourself first. Yes, exercise, healthy eating and self-care take some time. But if you can make it a habit, you’ll be amazed at the differences you start to notice. You’ll feel energised after work. You’ll have the headspace to be there for other people in your life.  You’ll still be you… but the best version of ‘you’ there is!
  • Your health goals are just as important as your personal goals. It’s so easy to think ‘I’m too busy with work to think about losing weight’, or ‘I need to complete this personal project before I can start my wellbeing journey’. Instead, start thinking about yourself as a whole, and work on these goals alongside your other ambitions in life. You might find that they complement each other quite nicely!

Finally, Motivation

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This is your health and fitness journey, and it will be completely different to anyone else’s. You’re in complete control – so here are some tips for staying motivated, even when life tries to get in the way!

Consultation with Pearl

My top tips for staying motivated

  • Take note of what (or who) inspires you! My four-year-old daughter is my inspiration in life – I’m showing her how to navigate the world, so I want to set the best example possible. Find your muse or your inspiration, and the rest will follow!
  • Find someone who can hold you accountable. Sharing your health and fitness plan with a friend, partner or personal trainer can inspire you to keep going… even when all you want to do is sit on the sofa!
  • Set goals. Really dig into why you want to get slimmer, fitter or stronger. And remember, you can always get some outside support to help set and achieve these goals! A personal trainer who is truly interested in celebrating your achievements, who really wants you to feel better, and who wants to empower you to have a better life is worth their weight in gold!

If you need some help kick-starting your health and fitness journey, I and the rest of the At Home Fitness team have got your back! Get in touch and we’ll help you get started with a free discovery session.

I’ll catch up with you for an hour to understand your goals, circumstances and background – and show you the best way to get going with confidence.

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