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New year, new habits

As we embark on a new year, my thoughts turn to those are wanting to make changes to their lives. This may be in the form of finances, spirituality, mentally, or physically. In a strange way they all compliment each other: if you are mentally fit the chances are you are also physically fit and vice versa. In this article I’ll attempt to focus on the physical side of things.

Start slow and build up gradually

You may have heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither is a good physique. It can and does take years to build a perfect physique and those that do it quickly are genetically blessed! Another quote I quite like is “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” that basically means you have to start somewhere! For those that don’t exercise at all, one of the best ways of starting out is simply walking, no cost, no drama, no excuses! Walking each day for around 10 – 60 mins will not only burn calories but also eat into your fat stores. Low intensity activity (over a long duration) actually burns a greater ratio of body fat than high intensity activity. That being said high intensity activities actually burn more calories overall, plus you get the added benefit of elevated metabolism for a while afterwards. But you can build up to this after shedding a few pounds and improving your stamina.

Change your daily routines

Training once a week is fine, but you will see very little change unless your daily routines change too. Poor eating habits are one of the largest contributors to ill health, especially obesity and diabetes, almost all other medical conditions will have some connection to poor eating habits. That is why it is crucial to eat well. Eliminate heavily processed foods. Switch to fresh fruit and vegetables. Quality lean protein sources are also needed to aid recovery and build muscle. Alcohol is ok but be aware it has no nutritional value and one lager can have as much as 400 calories in it.

Skipping breakfast will enourage you to eat later in the day, meaning you eat late and sleep on a full stomach. Eating at regular times each day is also important, it primes your metabolism to work effectively all day. Find around 30 – 60 minutes each day to do some form of activity. In order to lose 1 – 3 pounds of body fat each week you have to burn at least 500 calories a day. This means reducing your calories by that amount each day, you can eat 500 calories less or burn it through exercise, or do half of each. I would recommend the latter, those figures are just guides, you can of course do more, but don’t go too mad with it. Recovery is vital to progress: if you overtrain recovering muscles the work you did originally, is undone.

Build a support network

You can do this alone, but it’s so much easier with the help of friends, family or your partner. All too often people will lapse and give in to temptation, and this is OK, we are only human after all. Don’t make the mistake of thinking one slip up ruins everything, it does if you let it! Jump back on the wagon and pick up where you left off. Having a support network of like minded friends or family will keep you on track, and motivated.

Hire a professional

Of course I can’t let you go without leaving a plug of some kind! Just speaking to a fitness professional can and has, in my experience, greatly helped those that want to change their lives. We do not judge, we give advice freely and we are here to help you reach your goals and motivate you to reach them too. We do not come cheap but just one session with a trainer can open up a whole new world of potential for you. So there you have it, I hope this can help you on your way.

Please check out the rest of my blog posts as you may find something else there of interest to you.

Have a great day and very Happy New Year!

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