It’s the same old story, we’ve been here before; an unused gym membership, another failed diet and another attempt at building that elusive ‘willpower’ that claims to be the answer to all of our problems.
As a Personal Trainer, I’ve worked with many clients who have been there, done that and have the gym memberships to prove it! Heck, I’ve been there myself and I know it’s an endless cycle of self-blame, confusion and wasted hours on a treadmill but I want to tell you it is a lot easier than you think, trust me.
I’ve put together a list of 5 easy ways that have helped my clients and I stay on track and smash our fitness goals time and time again!
Before committing to any goal, you need to have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve beyond ‘eating healthily’ and ‘working out’. So often plans are either too broad or too ambitious which make them unachievable. Think really carefully about what ‘healthy’ really means to you and what it is that you want to change.
Start to think about what habits you want to tackle first on the list.
Do you struggle with mindless snacking?
Are you an emotional eater?
Poor food choices due to lack of planning?
Make sure your Fitness and Nutrition Goals are SMART.
Specific: Be super specific about what you want to achieve, Is it a faster 5km time, if so what time? Is it dropping a dress size, if so what dress size?
Measurable: How will you measure your progress? Will it be before/after photos? Maybe it’s just turning up to a class 2 – 3 times a week, that is a measure of your success.
Achievable: Given your current lifestyle is it achievable? Where will you fit in the meal planning? What days will you attend that new Bootcamp class? Fit it in, make it a part of your plan.
Realistic: Can you physically make this plan work given your current commitments? What do you need to shift in order to make it easier?
Timescale: What Timescale are we talking about here? Is it a 6-week plan? Are you getting ready for a wedding? A marathon perhaps? You don’t need to stop when the plan ends, but don’t underestimate the value of having a timeframe. There is always space for another plan once you’ve achieved this one.
2) Commit To a Class
As part of your plan, I recommend committing to a regular class that will help you stay on track.
I think often habit trumps willpower so commit to a class and you will achieve your goal, all whilst actually building some of that willpower eventually you so wanted at the start.
So many of my clients blame their inactive life on their lack of willpower, but in reality what they come to realise is that fitness needs to be built into your routine and prioritised, workout by workout. How many of us have to dig deep for willpower to brush our teeth? Not many. It’s part of our routine and we don’t have to think twice about it and it can be the same for exercise if the habits are formed over time, it becomes second nature.
Unlike a gym membership, when you sign up to a class, you have to turn up, even if it’s only once a week, but that once a week is 100% better than an unused gym membership.
If you are signed up to a good class, most of the hard work has been done for you. You will have accountability, community and a varied workout program catered to your goal and fitness level – all you have to do is turn up. It’s as simple as that.
3) Buddy Up
Nothing says accountability like having a friend who checks up on you when you don’t turn up to class. Not only will this guarantee more enjoyment while working out, but buddy-ing up can mean encouraging each other to make other positive changes in your lifestyle and give you someone to share the journey with.
Change is hard, but there are other like-minded people in your friend circles who you can pair up with to make that change easy! Ignore the negative voices around you telling you what you can and can’t do, and befriend those who know that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. We are a mirror image of the people we surround ourselves with, so surround yourself with people who are determined to make a change too and kickstart your health and fitness journey together!
4) Make Your Journey Positive
People frequently see exercise or healthy eating as a means to punish themselves for what they’ve eaten, and all it does is promise a life of yo-yo dieting and unhappiness.
For sustainable change to happen, you have to realise that exercise is a celebration of what you can do. Every minute longer, every weight heavier, and every jump higher. This is no punishment, this is a celebration and with every new workout there is something new to celebrate.
Look for an exercise class or a sport you enjoy. Find a way to move that sparks joy in your life and makes you feel proud of the person you are and the body you have been blessed with.
When it comes to nutrition, the same applies.
No one eats 100% “clean” and to think so is toxic in and of itself. I like to aim for a healthy 80/20 balance. Sometimes it’s not about reducing what we love, but introducing more of what is great for us.
I always ask my clients, for a moment, don’t think about what you can remove from your diet, think about what you can add that has value. Add more fruit, add more veg, not because you have to, but because shiny hair and nails is #goals and I love how full of life I feel when I eat something that’s not only feeding my muscles, but my gut, my mind and my heart too!
5) Monitor More Than Just Your Weight!
Joe Wicks calls weighing scales ‘The Sad Step’ and I have to agree with him! Every day I see the effect the scales can have on peoples’ mood. So often, the scale isn’t a true representation of what’s happening in our bodies. You are more than just a number on a scale. When we start exercising, a small amount of muscle gain (which gives us that ‘toned’ look) is normal and may mean that the numbers on the scales won’t take the trajectory you thought!
Progress pics are a great way of tracking progress if your goals are aesthetic, if not, then what about measuring your fitness level every eight weeks? How far can you run in 10 minutes at your local park? How many sit-ups can you do in a minute? How close are you to touching your toes?
Don’t focus on how far away the goal is, or if you’ve lost all the kilos you hoped for yet. Look at how far you’ve come, what you have gained, how you really feel. I can promise you there will be changes and they will be changes you weren’t even expecting.
So now you have my top tips, you have your own goals and you have your desire to be stronger, fitter and better than ever! It’s the start of a new decade, a brand new chapter, there’s no better time to start than now!
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It's true that so much can change in a year and think how much has changed for you in the last decade. Do you want to start 2020 strong? Are you brave enough to see what you could actually achieve. If you want a positive and inspiring start to the new year then join us on Sunday 19th January for DITCH THE DIET! An exclusive ladies only workshop to get you inspired and to transform the way you approach your health, nutrition and fitness. Find out more via the link in the bio.
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Maryam has a BSc and MSc from University College London and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Founder of FIITGirl UK. FIITGirl UK hold regular events on Health and Fitness and run GroupFIIT: A Ladies' Only Bootcamp in North West London. GroupFIIT caters for women of all fitness levels helping them achieve their goal through the power of exercise and community. IG: @fiitgirluk