The benefits of improved health and fitness are apparent. Better health is something that we want for ourselves and the people around us. Being even a tiny bit fitter can have a massive impact on the rest of our lives. Improving our body composition can boost energy levels and improve our confidence.
However, despite the advantages, it can be challenging to start prioritising health and fitness. With so much conflicting information around, lots of people don’t know where to begin. Many of my clients have tried plans to get into shape before and found it impossible to stick to.
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. There are a few questions I’d suggest you consider before getting started on your health and fitness journey.
Why Do You Want To Start?
Having a clear idea of why you want to get into shape can be inspirational. When you’re inspired, this allows long term changes to happen. You don’t have to rely on motivation because you have something deeper driving you.
Maybe there’s a work function coming up, and you need to look your best. Perhaps you want to start dating again. Maybe you want to enter a race or a competition. Whatever it is that’s got you excited about starting, keep this front and centre of your mind. It’s fine to have a short term and long term goals here.
As coaches and personal trainers, we sometimes call this “Your Big Why”. So when it’s cold and rainy, and work has been a nightmare of deadlines and meetings this week - this is the thing that gets you off the couch.
How Do You Want To Start?
For most people who are starting on their health and fitness journey, the first thing they want to tackle is their diet. There are thousands of diet plans all over the internet. Still, your success will come down to one simple principle: You need to eat enough nutritious food to keep your energy levels up, but not too much so that it inhibits your physique goals.
Highly restrictive diets are hard to stick to long term for most people. That’s why most of my clients start slowly with manageable targets. I usually recommend making one healthy swap each week, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. That is different for everyone, but it might be lots of things, such as drinking more water, tracking calories, or cooking more at home.
What Do You Want To Achieve?
Whatever the end goal, you will need a specific plan to get you there. One of the main reasons why people don’t stick with their health and fitness plan is because it’s too vague or doesn’t have a place in their day as it currently stands.
Use a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) to help you to get a clear focus on what you’re going to do. For example, “I am going to walk one mile every workday during my lunch hour this month” might be something you can measure, realistic and achievable.
You can add it to your calendar, so the task is scheduled in your day, rather than hoping it’ll happen after you’ve taken care of everything else on the to-do list for the morning.
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, make sure that you enjoy it. Exercising is meant to be fun. Whether that’s running your first park run, lifting weights in the gym or a playing team sport at the weekend - picking an activity that you love and will look forward to will make it easy to stick to it.
Who Do You Need To Help You?
We all need a little help sometimes to stick with our goals even when we’re focused and enjoying them. It could be an app that reminds you that you’re scheduled to get off the tube one stop earlier today and walk home. It might be enough to have a ‘buddy’ that keeps you accountable by offering to grab a training session together. It could just be a calendar you keep on your fridge to tick off whether you got your walk done today.
The benefits of having accountability in your training are probably the single most crucial factor in determining your long term success. If you need accountability, exercise and nutrition support, check out my online coaching options. You can test the waters before committing by joining my Free 5-Day Fat Loss Course too!
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Busy Pro Fitness offers personal training in Hampstead for clients based in Hampstead, Belsize Park, St John's Wood, West & South Hampstead, Childs Hill, Finchley, Golders Green, Regents Park, Maida Vale, Highgate, Muswell Hill, Hendon, Primrose Hill and surrounding areas. But we also provide a Virtual Training and Online Coaching service for those clients who live elsewhere and Worldwide.