Hello January! It’s that time of year again — you’ve eaten too much cheese and chocolate over Christmas, the gym is overflowing with enthusiastic newbies and we’re all thinking about eating better and exercising more. New year new me… sound about right?
But as we all know, it's hard to keep the enthusiasm going a month after you've taken down the Christmas decorations.
So, if your new year’s resolution is to become healthier, lose weight and generally look and feel better about yourself, then we have some fitness tips on how to kick-start your new regime. If you stay focussed and make sure your goal is attainable then you can do it!
(Remember, do look after yourself. If you haven’t exercised for a while or have any health concerns, do make sure you check with your doctor before embarking on any new diet or fitness regime.)
Firstly, you need to look at what you’re putting in to your body and a simple way to monitor this is to do a 7-day food diary. Just write down everything you eat for one week. We think you might be surprised – most of us have a little snack and then forget we even had it!
Have a look at this useful little app - ‘My Fitness Pal’. It’s a free and easy-to-use nutritional and fitness system. You can use this as your food and exercise diary and it even tracks how much fat, sugar, protein and carbohydrates are in the food that you are eating. Once you have completed your food diary this app will show you what you need to take away and more importantly, what you need to add in. The key is to make sure you have a well-balanced diet filled with:
- Plenty of fruit and veg
- Carbs such as rice, cereals, potatoes and pasta (opt for wholegrain varieties where possible)
- Plenty of protein sources such as meat , fish, eggs , beans, seeds and nuts
- Some milk and dairy foods
- Just a small amount of foods high in fat and sugar
Firstly, you need to decide how many times a week you are going to train. Unfortunately a lot of people start new exercise regimes as New Year’s resolutions, go hell for leather at them and end up burnt out after the first week! Don’t let that be you! Just give yourself a realistic and workable fitness plan that will help you reach your goals, step-by-step, in way that fits into your lifestyle. And remember, exercise doesn't have to be complicated. Doing something is better than doing nothing!
Our advice is to aim for at least 3 to 5 sessions per week. Your sessions don’t have to be one hour long. As long as you raise your heart rate during each session and you are exerting yourself, then that’s all you need to begin with. Over time, as you get fitter and stronger, then each session should progress to match your level of fitness.
So you are probably asking yourself the question; what should I do at the gym?
Well, it’s best to have a plan! Otherwise you may wander around like a lost puppy or end up sitting on the bike reading the paper. Ask a member of the gym team to put a fitness programme together for you - your gym session should be short, sharp and most of all fun! Spending 45 minutes on a treadmill is unnecessary and quite honestly it’s boring for most people.
So here is a basic workout that will raise your heart rate and also challenge you with some resistance. This programme is one that should be suitable for all levels of fitness (but we always recommend that you talk to a member of your local gym team to check that this is the right schedule for you – they will be able to personalise this so that it suits your individual body type and fitness goals). Just perform each exercise to the best of your personal ability – you can change the resistance and weights according to your own particular body type, level of fitness and ability.
- 3 minute upright bike warm up
- 300m of quick rowing on a medium resistance
- 20 bodyweight squats x2
- 20 bodyweight lunges x2
- 300m quick rowing on a medium resistance
- 20 standing dumbbell shoulder press x2
- 20 box press ups (on knees) x2
- 300m of quick rowing on a medium resistance
- 50 mountain climbers x2
- 50 Swissball rollouts x2
- 5 Minute treadmill cool down (slow walk)
If you do this fitness sequence at a good pace with minimal rest, then this workout will raise your heart rate and challenge your upper and lower body.
And if all of this seems a bit daunting to do alone, then we recommend that you find a training buddy. Getting fit with a friend, work colleague or family member who has the same fitness goals as you will give you extra motivation – you can spur each other on and enjoy the workouts together.
It’s time to get fit. Who’s in?