It’s a common trend that gyms can be packed and empty at various times of the year – New Year, “New You”; Easter “Get your Summer Body”; September “Get Ready for Little Black Dress Season”. A lot of people either lose faith quickly, don’t manage their time, don’t know where to start or just don’t know what to do in order to reach their goals. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, but here’s what you need to know if you’re starting out and want to see some results.
- Decide what you want to achieve and be specific. “I want to be two stone lighter in time for my holiday” “I want to fit into a size 12 dress for my daughter’s communion” “I want more energy” “I want to feel happier within myself”. If you don’t have a specific goal in mind then you’ll lose self motivation very quickly. If one of your goals is about your appearance – take measurements and strip down to take a “before” photo so you can keep track of your progress in the future. What might not show on the scales will show up on pictures and measurements.
- Write down your goals and stick them somewhere to remind you of them. On the fridge or inside the wardrobe door are good places to start.
- Why? Why do you want to do this? If it’s just for the sake of it and you’re pretty content as you are right now then you will struggle to keep going. People achieve great things when they have good reasons to do so!
- Plan your time to exercise. Realistically the average person looking to lose weight or tone up should be doing 3 sessions a week. So make time for them. Find classes that suit your work hours, kids schedule, whatever. If you can only do one or two classes then find time for that third session at home. Or do it all at home if that works for you. Get them in. You’ll find that after a month of sticking to 3 sessions, if you slack you’ll really miss it both in body and mind. You deserve to get that head space – de stress and forget about everything for that 45 minutes. Get back to tasks afterwards with a clear head.
- Change your eating habits. If you want to change your shape it actually starts with your nutrition. Start small. Eat less processed foods and more whole, home cooked foods. Don’t boil the bollix out of your veg and lay off on the daily chicken fillet roll. Don’t go on a “diet” – all diets work until you come off them and the “all or nothing” approach is both miserable and does not hold out in the long term. Small changes can make huge differences and if you’re a beginner, you’ll notice these differences sooner than you expect!
- If your friend bails on you, either guilt them into going or go by yourself.Sure things come up, but unless they’re incapacitated, contagious or bereaved then there’s no excuse for them to leave you high and dry. And don’t think that just because they can’t be coaxed off the couch that you should also have a night off. If you’re heading to a class, usually your missing friend is the topic of conversation with new people. “Where’s she tonight?” “Ah sure jump in there beside us”. Classes are great for meeting new people, but can be very daunting if you’re afraid to go by yourself. But just so you know in my classes, all my people are lovely and would chat to the wall if the wall had ears!
- Seek advice from a professional. If you want to join a gym, check that they include an assessment and write up a plan for you… and show you how to do it! If you lack in self motivation or feel like you’re pissing against the wind, hire a Personal Trainer. Personal Trainers charge in the region of €30-€80 per hour depending on their experience, but don’t let the cost phase you. Look at how much you spend on getting your hair done for example, or going on a night out, there’s not much of a difference really, if you can’t afford both, which is more important to you right now?
- Do workouts that will WORK!Not a lot of people will give this advice for free. No one will “tone up” by hitting the treadmill or taking a dance fitness class. The best type of training for weight loss and shape change is in fact lifting weights. I say this as a cardio queen. If the idea of lifting weights is off putting, have you tried it? Did you have a coach that made you feel comfortable. Give it a go, you’ll soon feel awesome.
Just to add, the best type of exercise to keep you moving (i.e any movement is better than no movement) is an exercise that you ENJOY. If you don’t enjoy it you won’t stick to it. No-one in my studio actually *likes* doing Burpees, but what they do enjoy is the craic that comes with the class.
- Do Your Research. This ties back to the price of a PT or how much you’re willing to pay for a gym. Budget Gyms are grand if you know how to programme and what to do instead if there’s a lovely queue for some equipment you wanted to use. Don’t take advice from anyone who’s not backed by knowledge and experience and don’t be afraid to ask your PT or Instructor for proof of their training (and insurance). Decide are you paying for a service or are you paying for a result (there is a difference) – which do you want more? Are you going to get those results in a packed group class or slugging it out by yourself on a Cross Trainer? Cheap, Good, Fast – choose two of the three.
- Be realistic and ensure returns on your investment! Hold yourself accountable. Basically if you want to lose weight and you’re not pumping a lot of sweat and eating a load of crap then you are wasting your own time and money. It’s perfectly fine to step out for a sip of water if you’re bolloxed, but get right back in and think about those goals!! Aim to improve every week – jump higher, run faster, lift heavier, whatever it is get better at it. And don’t compare yourself to anyone else, if your neighbour can run faster than you then so what? It’s not a race! If you can run faster now than last week then pat yourself on the back.
- There are no quick fixes to get that “super slim” body. Nope nope nope! If you think that by doing “a” detox you’ll drop a tone of weight in a week then be buff for the rest of the year, well my friend you need to open your eyes. No pill, wrap or drop will give you what you want because once you come off it, you’re more likely to put it all on again! Most of them promote a “healthy eating and regular exercise” regime, but if you remove the product and just stick to your healthy eating and regular exercise, you’ll save a ton of money and are more likely to hold your new shape long term.
- Shit Happens.
We’re all human. If life was meant to be on a straight road we’d all be bored out of our wits. We all deserve a break every once in a while and our priorities can shift from time to time. So don’t beat up on yourself if you fall off the wagon, miss a couple of classes and pig out on pizza. If you’ve been going full throttle but get a spanner in the works, it’s ok to slow down – but do not stop! Remember 80% is still an A and your trainer will be delighted to see you show back up at the door!