Stuck in a Health & Fitness Rut?
HELP - Christmas is looming and despite my good intentions, I’ve still not shifted the summer holiday pounds! Sound familiar? Don't worry - expert help is at hand!
I guess I’m quite fit. I hit my forties on a mission to keep toned and challenged myself with lots of crazy mud runs and races. I have been a member of Body Transform Fitness for over four years and up until this year I religiously went to classes 3-4 times a week. However, a broken foot in January left me feeling very demotivated, things started to slip and nine months on I’m stuck in a bit of a health rut.
I’m a big believer that scales are evil and you should really go on how you feel in your clothes, but clever layering and spandex is no longer cutting it and I need to take control!
I met up with Jon Taylor, founder and coach at Body Transform Fitness to see if he could help pull me out of my rut and offer some advice on setting sensible health and fitness goals.
Why do people fall into health and fitness ruts?
It’s all about mindset and balance. It’s incredibly difficult to be ‘on it’ all of the time as life gets in the way, especially during the summer and at Christmas.
And so it should – life would be boring saying no to every social event. However, it’s about achieving a balanced approach to eating which allows you some indulgences from time to time without going totally overboard and self-sabotaging your health and fitness goals.
People get bored too and so it’s always good to add some variation into your fitness. Choose a fitness regime that offers you variety, so you’re not doing the same class week in week out. Something that uses different parts of your body and an activity where you can see your progression in your speed, the weights you’re lifting or rounds you can achieve.
When starting a new health regime, what are the key considerations?
Try and plan it so you have a good run of at least 28 days where there are no big social events that might distract you.
Next, keep it simple – don’t start anything that is going to be too hard to maintain. For example, a diet that involves buying ingredients you’ve never used before will ultimately cause frustration in the kitchen.
Routine and consistency help too. Pick a couple of breakfasts and lunches that you like and rotate them. We’re creatures of habit especially with these two meals. With dinner you can be a bit more adventurous but try to plan ahead and consider batch cooking so you have things in the freezer ready to pull out if you’ve had a busy day and can’t be bothered to cook. It will stop you reaching for convenience food that tend to be carb heavy and full of wasted calories.
How do you set realistic goals?
If you’re new to health and fitness, find a coach who has worked with people with similar goals and has a proven track record.
At BTF we have experienced coaches who set the right programme of exercise, get you eating a nutritionally balanced diet and offer the right level of support ‘v’ accountability. The coaches will track and adjust your goals/nutrition as you progress.
Left to your own devices at a gym, it’s too easy to cheat yourself (who me? never!)
If you have a bad day – accept it and move on. Don’t use it as an excuse to binge and give up. Gradually you’ll get better at managing your food choices.
If you exercise regularly, it’s easy to get complacent and sometimes you just need a change. For women particularly, hormonal shifts can slow down your metabolism. It’s a good idea to check in on your exercise and diet in case it needs re-evaluating. (I’m hearing you on this one, gone are the days when I could eat what I like and simply go for a quick run to burn it off).
Try a new programme – switch up weights and cardio, commit to a fitness challenge such as an obstacle course or 10K. At BTF we get involved in lots of physical challenges for charity, being part of a group keeps people on track as they rely on each other to get over the finish line plus if you’re raising funds you’re less likely to give up!
Diet v Exercise?
Both – all diets reduce your calorie intake. The problem is that many diets don’t give you the correct nutrient balance to lose weight effectively and maintain optimal health.
Also, if you reduce calories too low (as many “crash” diets do) you’ll lose weight initially but because of the huge deficit your body becomes more adept at storing energy so when you come off the diet, the weight goes back on. That’s why it’s better to be in a slight calorie deficit over a long period of time because you’ll find it easier to stay on plan and your weight loss will be more consistent week to week.
It’s only through exercise that you will achieve toning and muscle definition. If that’s the end game, you need to exercise and work with an experienced coach/trainer who can help to achieve these goals.
Plus, exercise is great for your joints and muscles, it will slow down natural deterioration and will help the ageing process.
Finally, accepting there’s no magic wand (sniff sniff) what are your key tips on getting out of a health and fitness rut?
- Sustainability – don’t change everything immediately as you will burn out and fall off the wagon. It’s much better to work out three times a week for 12 weeks than five times a week for four weeks. Slow and steady wins the race!
- Fun – find something you enjoy, so you don’t get bored and dread going.
- Team work – at BTF there’s a great community of like-minded people offering peer to peer support and motivation.
- Shake it up – if you exercise regularly, you might need to mix it up a bit and give your body a jump start by doing something different.
- Get a coach – don’t try and go it alone. You wouldn’t try to fix a car by yourself so why try and fix your body!
For more information on Body Transform Fitness click HERE