Getting back to fitness

Girl smiling after exercise
Barbara Wilson
Wed 05 Feb

The festive season is well and truly over, and so are your holidays. The indulgences, parties, get togethers, holidays and all the rest tend to extend well passed December and into January. But have you checked the calendar? We’re well passed that first month, and already onto February!!

Whilst the first week of January tends to be the week to join a gym, and set your intentions for the year. Where are we today? Are those goals and intentions still on track?

Here’s the low-down: we likely put some weight on across the break and lost some fitness, and January is a tough month to get into gear. I too had some time off and led a foot-loose and fancy free festive season. Eating that little bit too much. A solid fortnight of no work-outs

 So whilst you may have had that post new-years resolution glow in early January, February is usually a great month to get back to business.

For me it’s back to business teaching my exercise to music classes. Why? It's my passion to share my infectious love of movement with others. I also go on a 6 week challenge around the end of January every year to discipline myself back into good eating habits, consistent exercise and to get my body back to peak physical condition. I have never counted calories, but will eliminate unnecessary foods from my diet. Its important to have enough calories to consume for your lifestyle and you don’t want to be hungry, annoyed, sluggish or feel unwell. I’m not one for new year resolutions but do set small goals along the way. Like all of you I have birthdays to go to, anniversary celebrations to attend, planned holidays later in the year, yada, yada, yada.

It’s important to work your way back into it slowly, don’t go epic in the first week.

 For example, being out of training for two weeks is not a big issue but I lack the confidence to squat my peak weight after the break. Instead I commence and warm up light, progressing slowly back. This may take a few weeks ,but so what? I don’t want an injury. Fitness and goals don’t happen overnight; they happen with discipline and consistency.

Whilst I might not be one to make new years resolutions, I understand their importance in signalling a key milestone.  A starting point, and here’s some ways to easy yourself back in.

This is the time where PT’s and Gyms open their doors to newbies or to some who may have gone off piste. In a recent article I wrote Why group exercise is a good way to start, I indicated that group exercise often provides important motivation It’s a routine, timetabled classes: you know where to be on a certain day and time. You build friendships, you build on your skills doing exercises whilst learning new ones. You will see progression and you all move together.

I call my participants a ‘team’. Why? You are coming together as one to achieve a common goal. You compliment each other with synergy to maximise strength and minimise weakness. Organised, supportive, fun, goal driven, everyone contributes and good leadership. Is this not the fundamental qualities of a successful business team? Yet this can be done in a gym through group outdoor sessions, an aqua pool class, in the boxing room etc. No guess work is required; all the thinking has been done for you. Find a gym that works for you. Select a time slot that suits. It will give you social support without judgement. Explore movement in many different ways: from a Spin class, to a Pump class to a Step class. There are so many classes to choose from. Have fun! If its fun then you will stick to it and come back!

However, you might like to engage a Personal Trainer. A PT is a certified fitness professional who will work with you one on one. They will devise a program for YOU. You can find one that suits your budget or requirements. They can come to you, or you to them or meet at a suitable location. This can be in a park, gym, beach etc. They will assess and plan a program for you.

Whatever you choose, you will work hard in the presence of others or on your own with the PT. Professionals will guide you, motivate you, encourage you, along with celebrating your accomplishments.

Goals can be set and met. Your goal may be sport driven, weight loss, athletic purpose, education, help with form, you may have unique requirements that need attention like an injury or training for a specific event. It will Improve your mental health and form solid achievable habits.

For others, who like the spontaneity of exercise and the individual flow, you can start or go back to the morning, lunch, afternoon, evening or whenever time suits you to exercise. Walk, run, swim, bike ride, yoga in the park etc. I love seeing the early morning Instagram posts from friends who have just run or walked around the harbour. What a way to start your day. What a heath dose of fuel, metabolism and energy!

Most gyms will also have cardio spaces, weight areas, even TRX stations etc. Many people like their own space and love doing their own thing. Why not! You can still have goals, time slots, listen to music, work with a buddy, stay consistent and enjoy exercise. We are all different and by trying new things you will find your niche.

The hardest part is starting or restarting. But once you do, the benefits outweigh the failings. You will feel better every day. See results, physically and mentally.

Remember start easy, stay hydrated, follow a meal plan if required (Trainers and PT’s can all help with this) set small achievable goals, exercise at least 3 times a week, ensure you have enough calorie intake to sustain your body and make sure you get your rest.

Before long, you will catch this exercise sensation bug that is sweeping the world and it will become something you love to do.

Take selfie pics and post them. It’s a great intrinsic motivator for you and for others. It’s a great tracker of achieving your goals and seeing your progression. Just the same way it’s for you seeing others people’s posts. It will also give you, new training and exercising ideas.

 Stay active and try all sorts of different ways to exercise.