There are so many barriers to progress on the road to wellness, most of which reside in our own minds. With so many books, videos and articles out there, it can get a little confusing to know what works, what helps or what is counter-productive. We are all unique individuals so obviously what you swear by may do nothing for me, so sometimes it pays to keep it general.
One of my favourite personal trainers, Greg Brookes, has written 10 health and fitness lesson for life that I thought were worth sharing. Maybe some of you may learn something that can break down whatever walls you have hit.
1. Just be Consistent
It doesn’t matter whether you want to lose weight, put on muscle or be as flexible as a gymnast, consistency is what really makes the difference. You need to stay on track day after day after day.
Being consistent can be difficult at first but it doesn’t take long to build a habit, good or bad. Don’t worry too much about getting it right first time just start and keep going. For example perform just 10 bodyweight squats every morning before you hit the shower.
2. Be Progressive
There is a tendency in the health and fitness industry to keep dazzling you with the latest exercises, movements and equipment. None of this really matters unless you are consistent and progressive. So once you have developed a small habit of exercise start to add a few extra repetitions or a little more time. Progression is about challenging your system and forcing adaptation. Your body will always try to preserve precious energy so you need to keep up the challenge.
3. Move More Often
The more you move the more you pump nutrients around the body. Imagine the difference between a fast flowing river and a stagnant pool of water.
Many people suffering from bad backs that need rehabilitation have been the ‘weekend warrior’ type exercisers. It is better to exercise little and often than to go nuts every now and again. Better to keep your river flowing than to just disturb the water every now and then.
4. Mobilise in the Evenings
The spine loses 20% of its disc fluid during the day and has a very minimal blood supply to bring fresh nutrients to assist in healing and recovery. Simple joint mobility just before bed opens up the joints and pumps fresh nutrients to the stagnant areas. The result is a rejuvenated body overnight and a deep restful nights sleep.
Yoga movements together with deep breathing are excellent choices. Depending on your daily activities and skeletal structure will determine which exercises are best for you. For most people focusing on Thoracic, Foot and Neck joints are important.
5. Exercise is NOT for Fat Loss
What you eat affects you at a cellular level. Eat well and you will lose weight regardless of what exercise you do. Exercise helps pump the body, add muscle and increases wellbeing and although it will help with fat loss the impact is far less than most people think. Eating 21 meals a week compared with 3-5 workouts a week is simply no competition. When you think of fat loss think nutrition before anything else.
6. Supplements are Supplements
Supplements are exactly that, they are designed to supplement a good diet. If your diet is not yet 100% bang on then you shouldn’t be taking supplements. There is always room for nutritional improvement without the need for something that is produced in a chemical lab.
Too many supplements are backed by self funded research and are run my multinational companies with a huge marketing spend. If you want to take the plunge then good luck but nothing will replace natural food that has been tried and tested for millions of years. Without it we wouldn’t be here.
7. Exercise Early
Not only is your hormonal system more ready for exercise in the morning but it will help you psychologically too. Once you leave something until later in the day things always get in the way. You spend the day anticipating the workout. It gives you time to think up excuses. The best thing is to get up and get started. Don’t over think it just get it done for the day and forget it. It won’t take long to build a habit of exercise.
8. Carbs for Fat Loss
Everyone has a different dietary requirement. There is no one diet fits all. One thing that is true is that Carbs are responsible for the obesity epidemic we have today. If you want to lose fat then reduce your carb intake. Just eliminating Sugar and Gluten from your diet will see you drop weight quicker than anything else.
9. Do Something you Enjoy
Going to the gym is not for everyone. Neither is weight training or Fitness Classes. Have a think about what you really enjoy. If its walking, then do more of that. If its playing badminton then play more badminton. You will get a lot more joy in your life from doing something you love over the next 12 months than from forcing yourself to do something you dislike. Plus you’re more likely to stick to it.
Clean up your diet and do something you love as often as possible and your life will be better physically, mentally and emotionally.
10. Don’t Stress It
The long game is far more important than the short game. Start building habits for the future. If life gets in the way don’t worry just get it next time. Make a plan but don’t be too strict. Stay flexible but focused.
All good things take time so its worth bearing this in mind as you are bombarded by quick fixes and the latest gadgets and gizmo’s.
For more from Greg Brookes visit www.gbpersonaltraining.com