If you read this blog already the chances are that you already regularly exercise. This time of year many people decide to get fit, put on some muscle or lose weight. And they will seek the advice of the people around them who are already fit and active in order to reach their goals.
You might be one of those people.
So what advice should you give people who seek you out and ask you how you have been so successful so far in your health and fitness journey? Luckily I’ve done the work for you! Here are my top tips for anyone starting out.
- Choose an amount of workout sessions you can commit to every week. Make those sessions a length that suits you and you can commit to every week. Don’t start out with the aim of working out five days a week if doing five days a week in the gym will have too big an impact on the rest of your life. Commit to an amount you can guarantee each week. If that means you are working out once or twice a week but you can do that every week without question that is far better than doing five in the first week, three in the next and then none in the third. Make it sustainable. The same goes for the length of your sessions. Not all workouts have to last an hour. If half an hour suits you better to begin with then start there.
- Make sure your diet is realistic. Don’t assume that because everyone is going vegan or cutting out carbs that is what you should do. Make changes that you can sustain. Reduction of foods in most cases is better in the long term than elimination. Equally don’t cut your calories too hard. If you want to lose weight than a slight calorie deficit is in the long term far more sustainable than a hard drop to minimal calories. Not only is that not sustainable, but it will slow your metabolism down and make it harder in the long term for you to lose weight.
- Try to add beneficial foods into your diet more often. Eliminating foods can create a ‘I want it but I can’t have it,’ mentality, which is the long term can lead to binging and then guilt around those binges. It is better to focus on trying to add in positive foods to your diet. For instance having more fruit and making fruit more available at the office or at home could help reduce refined sugar consumption.
- Make what you do enjoyable. You don’t need to punish yourself with foods or exercise. Choose to do something you enjoy, don’t deny yourself foods you like. You can make plenty of progress without cutting out foods you like. Of course, this has to be tempered with moderation, but having the occasional chocolate bar isn’t going to impede your weight loss results in the long term.
- Aim for slow and steady progress over results as fast as possible. Many people try to fly out of the blocks, but often they don’t make it into February, let alone finish the whole year with regular exercises and a sustainable diet. Think about diet and exercise as something you are about to do for the rest of your life. If you can’t imagine sustaining your current diet or exercise programme for the next five or ten years then it isn’t realistic for you. Pick an amount and level of challenge that currently is sustainable.