Recently I was chatting with a lady of similar age at my gym and she was relating to me how she hadn’t exercised for quite a few years but had made the decision that it was time to bite the bullet and get her body back into shape before it was too late.
Ageing diseases (think sarcopenia and cardiovascular disease) were starting to play heavily on her mind so it was decision time.
Talking with this particular lady helped me understand the difficulties people like her encounter when contemplating the idea of taking on a new fitness program and the blunders that can be made along the way. And unfortunately, these mistakes can often sour the whole experience before you even get properly started.
A problem we all have to contend with is the inviting marketing of health and fitness by gyms and health clubs. The promise of a perfectly toned body is often just too much to resist and it ends up with many people entering into a fitness program that is not right for them.
Take the example of the lady I introduced earlier. She thought it would be great idea to sign up for one of those “8 week” programs that would cut the fat and get her tri-athlete fit (well not quite) in a couple of months.
Unfortunately for her, and many others around the country like her, it hasn’t quite turned out that way.
So why is that?
Well the program is designed more for a 25 to 30 year old rather than a 65 to 70 year old who hasn’t exercised in more than five years. In other words she is an injury waiting to happen and unfortunately this sort of story is quite common. It is also one of the reasons why people end up going for two or three months then terminating their membership.
So how do you solve the problem?
Most gyms spend very little time showing you how to use the equipment properly, how to do the exercises with correct form so as you don’t get injured and then writing suitable programs to suit your particular needs. Your membership fees is about as far as it goes………everything else is an extra which of course does suit some people but not those who are beginners.
I suggest if you are a beginner or need some help with your exercise program then first you need to find a gym you are comfortable with and are at ease with the atmosphere and its surroundings. The best way to do this is to get a free 5 or 7 day pass which all of the major gyms have and take the free trial. This way you can sort out which gym suits you best and you don’t end up locked into a contract you are unhappy with.
To find the best gym close to you and get your free pass just go to Selectagym.
While you are in the process of choosing your gym of choice I suggest you also start talking to the personal trainers there as you are going to need one to get you started with an effective exercise program.
Remember the lady I spoke about earlier – well this is the advice I gave her. She engaged the services of a personal trainer who wrote her a program and showed her how to do the exercises. Now she can do them all by herself with the knowledge she is using correct form and is not in any danger of injury. Every month to six weeks she checks back with her trainer to fine tune her program and make sure everything she is doing is still on track.
Rule # 1: Make Your Workouts Worthwhile
If you want to get the most out of your workout just remember Pareto’s Law – or what I call the 80 – 20 rule. Around 80% of your results actually come from just 20% of your workout so you need to make those minutes really count. Don’t waste time chatting and leave your mobile phone in your locker.
Rule # 2: Eat Clean and Healthy
Someone asked me recently how do I get some abs? I replied, “Abs start in the kitchen”. Body shaping goals can only be achieved by eating a healthy diet. That’s it in a nutshell. The exercise makes you feel much better about yourself and does all the fine tuning but your diet controls the weight.
If you’re going to the gym so you can go home and eat a triple cheeseburger with fries and Coke then forget it – you are not doing your body or yourself any favours.
Eat in moderation, and remember if you’re burning off more calories, you will need to eat that little bit more protein so you have enough fuel to keep going. Balance your nutrition and avoid fad diets.
Rule # 3: Lifestyle – Change Your (Social) Eating and Drinking Habits
This is the biggie and is hard for a lot of people.
Eating properly includes eating at the right times of the day. Skipping breakfast is a really bad idea and you shouldn’t eat too late in the evening either. Discuss some ideas with your personal trainer to work out what would be best for you so you can achieve your long-term fitness goals.
Rule # 4: You Must Have a Plan
To make sure you know just when you’re going to be working out and when you can look forward to some downtime, you need come up with a plan and some goals that make you accountable for this achievement. Remember to include rest days and be realistic about how much time you can make free. Need some help with this one – just ask your personal trainer.
Remember to stick to your schedule as much as possible so that you don’t slide into the habit of skipping the gym and make your targets achievable.
Rule # 5: You Must be 100% Committed
Your body transformation needs complete dedication from you. You can’t skip a day or three here and there because you feel as though you deserve it so plan when your rest day will be and stick to it. Even if you go on holidays, check out the local gym, and make sure to take an hour out of at least every second day to continue with your fitness program. Keep up with the healthy eating too. And I won’t even mention the cocktails!
Rule # 6: Ladies, Don’t Let Preconceptions Put You Off
If you are trying to lose weight and develop a petite and slender figure and you come across a female bodybuilder in your gym – there is no need to suddenly panic.
By you pushing a few weights I can guarantee it is not going to happen to you – the reality is that it is virtually impossible for women to bulk like that; it requires a particular plan and effort. If you stick to a plan your personal trainer has written specifically for you then you can’t go wrong.
Rule # 7: Remember to Crawl Before You Walk
This is especially important if you haven’t engaged in any sport or exercise for a while. Start out slowly, familiarize yourself with the basics first and then gradually work up to doing more reps and sets as your joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles get stronger. It is not a race.
Start off with some shorter sessions and then expand your workout as you become more confident. Doing this will also ensure you remain injury free.
Rule # 8: Preparation and Accountability is the Key to Good Results
Be firm on yourself – develop new habits by making sure you make yourself available to work-out as per your new plans and goals.
If you don’t know what your targets are and you don’t turn up each day, no personal trainer (no matter how good) will be able to help you.
Rule # 9: Don’t forget the Cardio
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and fortunately, by not forgetting to do your cardio on a regular basis, you will be writing your own personal insurance policy to counteract this widespread disease.
As you get fitter you might like to try these 3 simple steps for setting-up weight loss goals that are guaranteed to work.
Rule # 10: Use a Visual Inspiration
Many people find it very helpful to have a visual inspiration to keep yourself motivated to lose weight. Put an image on the fridge, or somewhere where you will see it every day, of how you would like to look when you achieve your goals.
If you have any questions or would like to know anything more then don’t be afraid……just ask – if I don’t know the answer then I am sure to know someone who does.
Best wishes and good luck with your journey.