Tuesday 6 January 2015

For my top 10 Health and Fitness tips!

A lot of you will have set yourself some health and fitness resolutions this year so I thought that I would share my 10 top tips to achieve your health and fitness goals in 2015.

Now I should start with the disclosure that I do not hold any qualifications in the health and fitness industry and that you should always consult a professional before starting any new health and fitness program. These are just hints and tips and advice from someone who's probably been there and tried that! Take it with a grain of salt, keep the bits that interest you and discard the rest! 

1. Set SMART goals...

SMART Goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
You really need to sit down and have a good think about what it is you are hoping to achieve, but follow the above guidelines when writing your goals. A goal like "I want to run" is way too broad. A more suitable goal might be, "In 3 months time I want to be able to run 5km in under 35minutes".

Set short (eg. 1 month), medium (eg. 3/6 months) and long (6/12 months) term goals and revise them as often as necessary. Write them down, make them into a poster and hang in your bedroom, put them on sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, tell your partner/friends/family/next door neighbour/anyone who'll listen, stick them to the inside of your pantry where you will see them each time you reach for a snack! Whatever you need to do to keep them in the front of your mind.
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2. Track your progress and celebrate successes...
Take photos of yourself in the same outfit at the start of your journey and at regular intervals throughout. They never need to see the light of day but your eyes but they are a great way of seeing how you are going. If you are comfortable, a bikini or sports bra and shorts are great as you can get a really good view of what's going on.

I also keep a notebook of notes of my fitness progress. I keep all my measurements, including weight, as well as my progress towards my goals and track running times etc in this notebook as well.
I have a weekly weigh in, and keep a note of it, as well as jotting down anything that was going on that week that may have impacted on my weight. I don't however get too hung up on my weight as it is on the scales as I don't believe this is a true indication of my progress. I prefer to look at my clothes and my other measurements (arms, thighs, chest, waist and hips). I love it when a pair of shorts that used to be really tight, now slip on with ease, but the scales haven't moved. I am actually currently 4kg off my goal weight but it is not bothering me at all because I know I am fitter and stronger than I have ever been (or than I have been in a looong time!).

If you are keen you could join the fitness tracker revolution which will track things like exercise, steps taken, calorie intake and output, sleep etc. I wrote a post a few weeks ago comparing the Fitbit Flex with Garmin Vivofit, two of the popular ones on the market at the moment, if you missed that you can read it here.

When you have reached a goal, celebrate it! Shout it from the roof tops, share it on Facebook, brag about it to all your friends. The support and encouragement you will receive will be overwhelming and be exactly the motivation you will need to keep going and smash your next one!

I was amazed looking back through old photos to see this! Was great to compare.!

3. Join something...
anything.... a gym, a bootcamp, a yoga class, a facebook motivational group....anything.
It will be a long hard journey if you try and do it alone so find something that suits you and join it! I never thought I would do the bootcamp thing, I thought I wasn't fit enough, would feel out of place and hold the group back, but joining that group last year was the best fitness decision I made. Not only did I meet some really cool people, but I exercised harder than I ever have and did some things I never thought that I would thanks to the encouragement and support of the wonderful Personal Trainer and the other girls in the group. Find something that works for and suits you and pay up front if you can because if you are anything like me, you are more likely to go if you've already paid for it because otherwise it's a big fat waste of money and you just can't swallow that!
4. Change it up...
Don't be scared to try different things and change things up a bit. Find something that you like and enjoy but every now and then do something different. You don't want your exercise routine to become mundane or boring because then you won't want to stick to it. You also want to make sure that you are working different muscle groups and if you are constantly doing the same thing you will leave some muscles unworked. If you are trying to stick to a program but don't feel like doing what it is asking of you, perhaps you don't have enough time, or you have a niggling injury or muscle soreness, don't just skip it, do something else, even if it's just a walk, that is better than sitting on the couch and your body will thank you for it.
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5. Get dressed...
I was concerned when I started the bootcamp how I would go as it was from 6-7 at night. I don't usually like to exercise in the afternoon as there always seems to be many reasons (aka excuses) as to why it wouldn't/didn't happen, for example "I have a headache", "It's too hot", "I had a late meeting at work", "I'm too tired", and the list goes on. I much prefer to exercise in the morning, that way it was over and done with and I wouldn't have to think about it for the rest of the day. I always felt I had a better day and was more productive on the days that I did exercise before work. Anyway to try and overcome the problem of not wanting to exercise at night I would get changed into my workout gear as soon as I got home from work and try and not sit down until it was time to go. Once changed I felt ready and would always go. If I am exercising first thing in the morning I always lay my gym clothes out the night before and get straight up and get dressed before I did anything else!

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6. Count down...
This is a little exercise tip that works for me. When I am doing reps of a certain exercise, say the workout I am following requires me to do 12 pushups, I prefer to count down from 12 rather than up to 12. I know it seems like such a tiny thing but it actually helps me a lot. If I know how many I have left I am more likely to get to the end. If I am counting up, sometimes I have a tendancy to stop because I think I can't make it. It's like some kind of weird brain trick thing, but for me it works.

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7. Get over yourself...
There used to be so many things I couldn't wouldn't do. There were so many things I wouldn't do at the gym because, believe it or not, I was too embarrassed. The workout that I am following at the moment asked me a few weeks ago to skip for 2 minutes. There was a skipping rope hanging up in the gym but I was too embarrassed to get it and start skipping in front of the 5 or so people in the gym at the time. What if I tripped, what if I had forgotten how to skip....so I did something else. Last week it popped up in my program again and I thought, fuck it, and so I skipped and skipped and skipped and felt like a 10 year old girl all over again! I even tried to recall some of those songs we used to sing in primary school as well! And yep, people looked at me but I didn't care, I just made sure I was a sweaty gross mess and gave them something worth looking at! Once you get over yourself and don't care what you look like and what others may think of you while you are working out, you'll find a new way of exercising.

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8. Change your self talk...
Stop with the 'I can'ts"and change them to "I cans". Don't focus on what you can't do but what you can do. I used to say that I couldn't do lunges due to my dodgy knees, so for a while I worked on exercises to strengthen my knees. One night at bootcamp I didn't want to be that girl who didn't do the same thing as everyone else, so I gave it a go and did a lunge, and then another one, and now I can do lunges up and down the length of my gym carrying 5kg dumbbells! I just continue to tell myself I can do it! Tune into your self talk when you first start exercising and listen to what it is telling you, then work out what you need to change.
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9. Treat yourself...
You still need to do and enjoy things that are important to you. Unless you have the motivation and willpower of a saint you will not be able to go cold turkey if you have been one to indulge. All PTs that I have worked with have encouraged me to have a "treat day" or "treat meal" once a week. It is all about balance and I like to use the 80/20 method when it comes to eating. If you want to try and give up all things "bad" then find another way to treat yourself, for example if you reach a goal buy yourself something pretty or that you've had your eye on for a while. It's another way to celebrate your successes.
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10. Accept what can't be changed...
Despite our best efforts there are some things that cannot be changed. Not all of us were genetically blessed with an hourglass figure, and no matter how much we try our bodies just are not shaped that way. I have little boobs and a big butt (hips) and short of having some pretty drastic surgery, that ain't gonna change! It has taken me a long time to get used to this and accept it and I will admit to not being totally accepting of it all the time, (trying on dresses is still an absolute bitch and often brings a tear to my eye!) I am a lot better than I used to be as I start to see things toning and changing.

 I wish you all the very best with whatever your health and fitness goals for 2015. If you have any tips or want to share your goals I'd love to hear them below!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

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