New Year equals New You!’ Around this time of year everyone’s thinking about trying to get back into training, or perhaps starting an exercise programme for the first time – that is why Jan is our busiest month! But what obstacles do you face between now and the ‘New You’ that you’ve got your eye on for 2013?
Obstacle number three: MOTIVATION!
“After all the food and parties I just feel tired, lazy and unfit!”
Although this is the final of the three in this series, this is typically the most common (even though sometimes it tries to disguise itself as one of the others). Of course, this is nothing to be frightened of, because motivation affects everyone – even elite athletes like Darran! Thankfully, though, there are some simple ideas to focus on that will have you back up and running (or cycling, swimming, weight training etc.) in no time…
Rule number one: Start easy and build up! One of the biggest faux pas made by enthusiastic would-be exercisers is the stubborn insistence to smash out a world record on the first effort. Whilst in some ways this reflects the beautiful English spirit, it will most likely end in tears, and could spell the end to your wave of enthusiasm. It is absolutely vital that you start off slowly, and gradually build up the frequency, duration and intensity of exercise over the course of a few weeks. Your starting point should depend (amongst other things) on your previous fitness levels, how long you’ve been off the wagon, and how much you have ‘let your hair down’ in the meantime. Consulting with a Personal Trainer to advise you on the specifics can be useful here to ensure you are training at the right level, but just use common sense – start easy (you shouldn’t feel lots of discomfort in the early days), build up slowly, and don’t overdo it!
Rule number two: Don’t compare your performance with previous efforts! It’s easy to think of that time you used to be able to sprint round the block six times and then calmly explain the off-side rule to your kids on your arrival back home. But being unrealistic with your expectations is only setting yourself up for a fall (as is trying to explain the off-side rule). As I always tell my clients at the beginning of their Six Week Promise – it’s not about the results at the beginning, it’s about the improvement over a period of time. Motivation comes from seeing these improvements, not from over-analysing your starting point. And when you do start to see a difference, your starting point will become less and less important.
Rule number three: Be healthy in between training! One of the biggest factors in fitness, yet often the most overlooked, is what you do between sessions. If you are trying to get back into a routine, but still have champagne for breakfast, your metaphorical ‘mountain’ is going nowhere! A healthy lifestyle between sessions affects both your physical health (including how quickly you get your fitness back, and your resilience to injury), but also your mental health and well-being too. These two things directly affect your motivation, and so they are a key area of investment. Eating well, sleeping well, and staying hydrated is a fundamental part of a successful exercise routine – so donate those leftover chocolates to your neighbour, put a bowl of fruit out in your kitchen, and let’s get cracking!
Hyde Phillips is the At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Sutton Coldfield