New Year, New You (Again)
January is the month when many people are super-motivated and make their resolutions for the year ahead.
But do you set the same goals each year? And do you ever reach your goals?
If what you tried last time didn’t work, what makes you think that doing the same thing all over again is going to give you a different outcome? Because if it didn’t work last time you tried it, you need to change your plan of action!
Losing weight and getting fit is one of the most common resolutions, especially after spending the festive season eating and drinking so much. This is the reason why the gyms are packed this month, but after a couple of months of the initial ‘I’m going to lose weight and get fit’ motivation, many give up.
But you don’t need to be one of the quitters! There are strategies for success in keeping that Health and Fitness motivation going all year.
Make it a Social thing……
Social interaction has been shown to make people more likely to Workout so join a fitness class, a local running or sports group, get yourself a gym buddy or hire a personal trainer. Paying out in advance for things may be a financial commitment, however, combine it with a commitment to another person and you’re much more likely to stick with your program. If you can’t make it to a group, having an online social fitness community (e.g., Facebook group) can also inspire you to keep working towards your goals.
Set and Commit to a specific Goal…….
Although the long-term goal may be to lose 2 stone or run a 10k, it’s a good idea to set short term goals too. Sign up to the race and put it in your diary, but also set yourself weekly/monthly challenges that will lead you to your main goal. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed) and write them down!
Find the Best Exercise and Diet Plan for you……..
The best Exercise and Diet plan for you is the one that you enjoy doing!. You are far more likely to stay consistent if you actually enjoy what you’re doing and therefore this commitment will bring the greater long-term results. If you find it boring, you won’t stick to it so try something else!
Those low moments when you feel like stuffing your face or cancelling your gym session are bound to happen so plan a strategy for dealing with it. If you blow it on a night out, get back on it the next day, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed – you only fail when you give up!
You don’t have to exercise or eat like an athlete, it doesn’t matter if you’re first or last and so what if you didn’t get a slimmer of the week award!. The most important thing to making your New Year’s resolutions work in 2020 is to keep at it!
Happy 2020 – Here’s to your Health, Fitness and SUCCESS!
Get Active at the Office
A recent study shows that the average British office worker spends more than 2 months of the year slumped at their office chair! With just under a third of workers taking a lunch break and 95% saying they don’t see any sunlight in the winter months, it’s not surprising that working long hours leads to a sedentary lifestyle!
Inactivity and leading a sedentary lifestyle can not only double your risk of many Chronic illnesses such as Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes, but it can also impact your Mental Health and Well-being and can create many Postural problems.
Being more active during the day can massively improve your Health, Happiness AND make you more alert and productive at work.
So, if you are one of those who sit at a desk all day, here’s some tips to try.
Are you sitting Comfortably?
Making sure your desk, chair, monitor and telephone are all set up correctly. Your back should be supported, your feet should rest on the floor and your arms horizontal whilst typing. Sit upright and try not to slump.
Keep Active during the day
At least every hour, try to get up and move away from your desk – even if its just to go to the loo or make a drink.
Take a lunch break
Even a 20-minute break outside in the fresh air will give you a mental boost and you’ll come back to your desk feeling refreshed re-energised and more productive.
Make the Most of your Commute to work
If you know you are going to be completely inactive during office hours, make your journey to and from work as active as possible. Walk or cycle to work, park further away or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier so you at least get some of your daily steps in.
Get your colleagues on board
Set up a team challenge, get a lunchtime walking group together or arrange to go to the gym before or after work. Being part of a like-minded group of co-workers can really motivate you all to keep active.
It’s not just employees that can benefit, a Healthy workforce makes Happier workers, which will not only be more alert, productive and increase staff morale, but will be less likely to have time off due to illness. So, get the bosses on board too!
Hormones – They’ve got a lot to answer for!
No, it’s not an excuse, but it is a very valid reason for why things can go terribly wrong in your Fitness programme if you don’t understand how your hormones are affecting your training.
Our hormones don’t stop and start. They are constantly flowing through our bodies at fluctuating levels throughout the month and this can mean constant changes to how you feel emotionally and physically during your menstrual cycle.
There’s the ‘Good Weeks’ – When you’re full of energy, your skins glowing and your libido is boosted (make the most of it!)
Then there’s the ‘Bad Weeks’ – When you seriously can’t be bothered to do anything you don’t have to; you feel like a fat pig and you could eat everything in sight!
It’s not surprising that these constant changes in hormone levels mess up our fitness goals!
Our changing hormone levels throughout the month can really affect your ability to exercise and knowing how your menstrual cycle influences your workouts can be really helpful – e.g. If you’re able to push your workout or if you should just go for an easier option. We’ve all been there – frustrated at not running our fastest 5K, not lifting our heaviest squat weight, or just not having the energy for our usual workout. It’s frustrating!
‘Time of the month’ is not a reason NOT to exercise (I remember forging letters from my mum to excuse me from PE because I had my period!). You just need to plan a workout to suit your hormones.
Although everyone’s menstrual cycle is different, here’s a guide to what’s happening during your cycle and which type of exercise is more beneficial at each stage.
‘I’ve just started so I’ll watch a Netflix series and eat pizza’
There’s actually no medical reason why you shouldn’t be able to exercise during your period. In fact, it can be beneficial and for many women it can help ease the symptoms of PMS due to endorphins (which are the body’s natural painkillers) released during exercise. It might be the last thing you feel like doing and you might not reach a PB during this time, but you’ll probably feel better for it.
‘Woohoo I’ve finished!’
After your period your oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels start to increase which is when your energy and motivation rises, so now is the perfect time to use that energy for your most intense workouts. Testosterone (usually associated with men) affects women too and while its in high levels you can really use it to increase your strength training capabilities. So now is the time to go for your deadlift PB!
And just when you’re back on a roll….
On around day 14 of your cycle (usually when your workouts are back on top form) – you ovulate – and this rapidly decreases your Oestrogen levels! You probably feel more tired and workouts become a huge effort again. However, at this stage of your cycle, your lungs function better, so it’s the perfect time to progress your cardio workouts! And according to research, women tend to burn more calories during this phase too – so fuel up!
If you’re going to have a rest week, then this is the time.
At some point this week your body will begin preparing itself for your next period. Tummy ache, fluid retention and your mood turning slightly psycho! Your body temperature rises which might cause you to sweat more during exercise. If you don’t feel like an energetic workout, this is the week to focus on stretching and Yoga is the perfect workout. Your training may not be at its best, but just give yourself a break – your body probably won’t thank you for pushing it to the max this week.
It really is worth Listening to your body and trying to work with your cycle, not against it and by doing this, you may find you don’t lose the plot completely while your hormone levels are constantly changing.