When motivation wanes, follow these tips to get back on track
Motivation is always at a high at the start of the year. We see it as a fresh start to achieving new goals and leap into new diets and heightened activity – but sometimes this burst can start to dwindle as we head into February.
Our holidays are over, we are back at work and all the activity that makes up our daily life. We can suddenly find ourselves feeling time poor and finding old excuses to go back to old habits. I know for me it I s the days when I am the least motivated that I push myself to workout and then I feel so satisfied once I’m finished.
For this week, let’s take a look at simple steps you can take to stay on track with your motivation and new year goals.
Be realistic – Reassess your goals and make sure they are attainable. For example, if you are trying to lose weight or get healthier then resolving to never eat your favourite food again is setting you up to fail. You can still enjoy occasional treats and make sure you eat smaller portions.
Outline your plan – You should have already planned your goals and how you are going to achieve them but maybe it is time to outline a plan on how you are going to achieve them but maybe it is time to outline a plan on how you will stay on track when the temptation to skip a class or eat a piece of cake arises. You could phone a friend, practise positive thinking and self-talk and always remind yourself how it will affect your gaols and that feeling of accomplishment.
Talk about it: Don’t keep your resolutions a secret – tell sportive friends and family about your goal. They will only be too happy to support you, especially if you want to improve your health and fitness.
Track your progress: keep track of each small success by setting short-term gaols to achieve along the way. Celebrate accomplishments and stay motivated.
Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself to celebrate each little success along the way is always a positive way to stay on target. Try treating yourself with things you enjoy but don’t contradict your resolution.
Stick to it: Remember to stick to your guns and don’t give up. Remind yourself that it only takes 21 days to create a new habit, so you are well on your way to success.
If you are already finding yourself off track and those old patterns are creeping back into your lifestyle, don’t despair, just start again. This time think about not only the things you need to do to achieve your health and fitness goals but take the necessary steps to keep on track. We have 11 months to achieve this and all things are possible.
Fine-tune weight loss with resistance training
This year has been your year to make changes-at the start of the year you decided you were ready to follow through with those new year resolutions to create a new and fabulous you.
It's been a long, hard road at times and temptations have presented themselves, with surprise parties, birthdays, work functions and life events.
But throughout you have remained strong and focussed and even when you had a slip and let your hair down you jumped right back on the wagon the next day as you know that permanent health and body changes do not come easily-if you want the results you have to be prepared to put in the hard yards.
This means no quick fix fad diets but healthy whole foods with sensible portion sizes and regular, sustainable exercise and, most of all, consistency.
You've noticed recently all your hard work is starting to pay off and you are seeing the results on the scales and in your clothes and others are starting to notice as well.
This has had a positive impact on your self-esteem but the real reward is you are also feeling more energetic and ready to tackle life and all it has to offer.
This is all very exciting and you are now determined to keep going, , to achieve your final results and new year goals - to develop shape and definition and be ready for the summer season and holidays.
As a trainer, this is where I always encourage the use of increased resistance and weight training, to start to fine-tune a clients results.
Have you ever heard the expression "train like a man to look like a woman"?
Well, this expression does work: I have seen many woman make major changes in their bodies by training with weights.
Sometimes in the studio I hear woman say they don't want to get over sized muscles and therefore they only stick to cardio fitness and high energy aerobic types of fitness training.
This is a fallacy - woman are not capable of producing enough testosterone to develop masculine muscles.
I've been training for a number of years with weights and believe me, I look feminine and toned.
Resistance training can incorporate a combination of different weights and training techniques ranging from body weight, resistance bands and free weights such as kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells or pin weights.
Training styles can incorporate functional movement patterns such as squats and lunges to isolation exercises such as bicep curls and tricep dips, depending on your goals and commitments.
This assistance of a trainer can be helpful to a novice who wants to take the next step in their fitness journey and is feeling overwhelmed about using weights.
From a health perspective, weights training for women can also assist with maintaining and improving bone density.
This is especially important for women who may be susceptible to osteoporosis.
There are also many other benefits to using weights as it improves your metabolism, circulation, and heart health, posture, and helps to reduce the risk of diabetes.
There is nothing more rewarding in life than achieving your goals and seeing the end results and in the health and fitness industry I always love it when I see the end results of my clients blood, sweat and tears.
Persistence plus hard work equals results.
Any change is a positive step forward
One think I have found over the years working with people who want to make a health and lifestyle change is that everyone is so individual and what works for one person may not work for someone else.
I work in the fitness industry and I love to exercise and I love to motivate others through my passion for exercise and there are times when I encounter people who just do not enjoy exercise at all and who find it emotionally challenging to work out.
Usually when this happens we have to find other avenues to make health and fitness changes, because if you are not enjoying it, you are not going to make a commitment to stick to your exercise routine, and in reality making a regular routine is how we make the difference and achieve goals.
If you are someone who feels this way about exercise then maybe I have the solution for you and you can incorporate your exercise into your every day activity and life and still achieve your health and fitness goals.
What I'm talking about is increasing and incorporating incidental exercise into your everyday life.
Incidental exercise is any exercise or physical activity that is part of your daily routine.
this can include walking around the supermarket, doing household chores such as vacuuming or even just getting up to change the channel on the television.
Exercise is all about movement, so any form of movement throughout your day will help to yield the results you are looking for.
if you make the effort to think about your movement throughout the day, then anything is possible.
There are many examples of incidental exercise other that what I have mentioned.
. Park far away from a store in the parking lost instead of driving around waiting for the closet spot. After shopping, push your cart all the way back to the front of the store, rather than leaving it in the lot.
. Take the time to head outdoors for a walk in your lunch break - you might even find it will give you the time to clear your head ready for a productive afternoon at work.
. Practice the three-floor rule - if your destination is three floors or less, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. If it's more that three floors, get off at least one floor away and take the stairs the rest of the way.
. Use a cordless phone and walk while you talk.
. If walking the dog is part of your daily routine, add an extra block or a steep hill to your normal route.
. When on an outing at the park, shopping mall, soccer game etc, make sure you park an extra block from your destination and walk to your location instead of taking the direct route.
. Put extra effort into sweeping, gardening and other chores by adding energetic music - you could even set a time frame to complete your chores. This is almost like doing a workout in the studio except in your backyard and home.
Over the years I have also found that encouraging my clients to buy a pedometer, or download an app on your phone for 10 000 steps program an really get you motivated to keep moving through out your day.
Set a length of time you wish to challenge yourself for, four weeks, six weeks or eight weeks.
The longer you do it for the better your results will be.
Aim to do 10 000 steps throughout the day. If you don't achieve it first up, don't beat yourself up - just aim to increase each day's activity until you are at your gaol.
As I always say - if you combine a healthy nutritional plan you will soon be achieving health and fitness without having to put yourself through workouts.
Any change is a positive step forward, so start the change today and see the results for Summer and the holiday season. Which is only eight weeks away.
Foam rollers are an inexpensive, versatile piece of equipment that can help with releasing muscle tension and loosing those tight trouble spots
Last week we took a look at the benefits of daily stretching for the body, and how it can improve your movement, flexibility, increase blood flow, assist with exercise recovery and help prevent injury. All important reasons to start to incorporate stretching into your routine.
This week I thought we could take a look at the use of foam rollers as a way to assist and enhance the benefits of stretching. As the foam roller also as similar and added benefits.
Foam rollers are an inexpensive, versatile piece of equipment that can help with releasing muscle tension and loosing those tight trouble spots in the body.
The beauty of using a foam roller is that it is an affordable way to give yourself a deep tissue massage. By rolling slowly of different parts of your body, you can help to break up the adhesions and scar tissue in your muscles, this can assist in the healing and recovery process, especially if you are regularly exercising.
Form rollers work by using the body’s response to pressure, so as you roll over tight spots, the muscles begin to relax. For those especially tight spots, apply extra pressure.
When to us a foam roller
Position yourself on top of the roller and use the weight of your body to slowly roll back and forth over it (pretend you are a rolling pin and you are rolling out dough). Try not to use your arms for support, but focus on your body weight and relax as much as possible to move over the muscle you are targeting.
You can pick almost any muscle in the body and apply this method to relieve the muscle successfully, some of the more trouble spots in the body are usually the outer thigh or iliotibial band, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and the upper back and neck.
Here are two roller exercise to help with tightness in your neck and upper back.
Believe me your body will than your afterwards. So keep on rolling on!
Have a backup plan for the mornings that you’ll wake up and it’s colder than usual
This week I thought it might be good to look at the impact of the winter months and address some strategies to combat the colder weather and maintain your mojo!
For many of us winter can completely change our lifestyle and we create habits to suit the colder weather, health and fitness can for many of us can be placed on the back burner and replaced with lazy days in front of the television curled up under a doona trying to stay warm. We can also crave the warm comfort food of hot pots and partake in those little extra treats – anything to keep us toasty inside and out. But unfortunately they can have a negative impact on our health, weight, metabolism and overall general wellbeing.
If we aim to stay active and fit over the colder months it will put you in good stead for the summer months ahead when you are ready for more activity and embrace the outdoors-including putting on the summer swim suit or bikini!
Here are six helpful tips to staying in shape over winter:
1. Create a seasonal timetable that suits your lifestyle changes over winter – if you are finding it a struggle to get up in the mornings and exercise then try finding another time of the day that suits you better, like lunchtime or straight after work.
2. Setting a winter training goal can often help to stay motivated – pick an event to train for and even get some friends on board to do it with you and you can all work together to achieve your goal. Register for an event or buy the tickets and that way you have already made the commitment. It’s a great opportunity to try something new and have some fun.
3. Diarise your workouts – it is completely okay to set the bar a little lower during the winter months especially if you are looking to maintain the gains you have made during the warmer months. Get yourself a diary and commit to a minimum number of workouts and mark them off once you have done them. If you treat them as if they are an important meeting that you cannot get out of then you are more likely to do them. Remember no excuses!
4. Go shopping and get yourself some new gear for the gym to keep you motivated – if you look good and feel comfortable you are more inclined to show up and stay on track.
5. Utilize your workout time better so that you can maximize your training and have more down time under the covers at home. Try some high intensity training where you work harder in a shorter space of time – these workouts have been proven to get amazing results.
6. Have a backup plan for the mornings that you’ll wake up and it’s colder than usual. Get some Personal training and make the trainer ring you to get you out of bed and to show up – if that doesn’t work then get a trainer to come to your house. Arrange to meet a friend to workout with and you can even car pool it so that you have to get out of bed.
Most of all exercise is a great way to combat those winter blues that we can suffer from over the colder months when the skies are a little greyer and gloomier and our energy levels become lower.
So stay focussed and on track and before you know it our warm summer days will be back again and we will be ready.
If you have never attempted yoga – now may be a perfect time to try it
Exercise doesn’t always have to be vigorous to be effective and for many of us fitness isn’t about smashing ourselves to have the perfect body – it is about maintaining our health and fitness so that we can have a better quality of life!
Exercise can be going for a walk with a friend, playing football in the park with the kids – I like to refer to exercise as moving and I always think that if it is fun there is a greater chance of continuing with it and having success in achieving your goals.
These days I see we all have such stressful busy lives, it is challenging to fit everything in and sometimes it is hard to take the time to care for ourselves and we find it more difficult to wind down and to relax – this is where I see holistic exercise as a fantastic solution as it incorporates fitness and relaxation all in one class.
Wellness classes such as Pilates and Yoga have become very popular for this very reason and recently there has been a real trend towards the introduction of holistic exercise in Toowoomba. Quite a few studios now specialise in Pilates, yoga and meditation classes.
If you have never attempted yoga – now may be a perfect time to try it and you may find that you have everything to gain and virtually nothing to lose by giving it a go. Not only can yoga improve your general health and fitness, as well as challenge the body, it can provide relaxation and pain relief depending on the type of yoga you wish to try. There is a yoga class to suit whatever you are looking for, whether you are 18 to 90 years of age, a beginner to advanced.
6 Reasons to give yoga a try
1. Pain relief – Yoga has been shown to assist pain relief, ranging from back, arthritis, joint pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia and much more.
2. Anxiety and depression – Yoga is a mind-body exercise, which means it benefits both you physically and emotionally. The combination of physical activity with mindfulness can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, improve sleep pattern and enhance overall quality of life.
3. Increase flexibility and balance – as we get older, our flexibility and balance can suffer greatly, which can increase our risk of serious falls and fractures. Yoga is a fun and effective way to assist in the prevention of future injury. As it maintains muscular upper body and lower body strength, flexibility, posture, improve your gait, and can assist in weight loss.
4. Better Breathing and Lung Capacity – if you suffer from any respiratory issue such as asthma than yoga could be of benefit to you. As it involves deep purposeful breathing, which can help to improve breathing capacity and respiratory function.
5. Improved Heart Health – by assisting in the reduction of risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, blood sugar and stress.
6. If you are already exercising yoga could be a great exercise to incorporate into your regular routines as it will help to build core strength, stretch out those tired muscles and help to prevent injury.
This week could be the perfect week to try something new, and yoga could be just the thing you have been looking for!
A fitness challenge it can be a fantastic way to motivate and kick-start you back into achieving your goals
A fitness challenge it can be a fantastic way to motivate and kick-start you back into achieving your goals, especially if you have been struggling to find your mojo during winter.
During winter we tend to live less active lives, spending more time inside avoiding the cold, as a result we can sometimes find ourselves experiencing a mild form of winter blues from the lack of vitamin D, sunshine, physical activity. You may even find that you have a tendency to put on a few unwanted kilos; lose muscle tone and feel as if your fitness is at an all-time low.
With winter here I thought that is week I might give you all a little exercise challenge to keep you on track with your routine of fitness.
A Simple fitness challenge can be perfect as it always feels achievable, sits comfortably in the can do basket and there is always the personal satisfaction one feels when the goal of the challenge is completed. Once finished you may even find yourself feeling more confident to set a new challenge and before you know it you are on your way to a new healthier fitter you and feeling energised for spring.
Enlisting a group of friends and making a pack to do a fitness challenge can also extremely fun and motiving, especially if you are in contact each day and harass and push each other to follow through with the daily exercises.
This week I thought it would be fun for me to set you a 14 day lower body challenge as way to ready for the spring and the warmer season around the corner. The purpose of this challenge is to tone your legs, booty, and lower body in 14 days, each day the repetitions will increase in order to give to something a little more difficult and to produce better results.
For this challenge we will start combine three exercises squats, lunges and burpees.
The benefits of squats and lunges are many – they produce great results as they are both compound exercise that recruit many muscles at the one time, assisting with improving balance, mobility, fat burning and muscle development.
Burpees are also an awesome way to burn fat, build strength throughout the body, tone, and increase your fitness level as they utilize 10 muscle groups at the same time.
Most of you may be familiar with doing squats and lunges but for some of you – you may not have performed a burpee before:
5 steps to the perfect burpee!
First, stand up straight, then get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
Kick your feet back into a push up position and immediately drop your chest to the ground.
Bow your chest up, then return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.
Add a little clap at the end.
If you would like to turn the daily routine into a full body workout add in some push ups, sit-ups and a plank into the mix.
It is always important with any exercise to adopt proper form to prevent yourself from injury and if you have any pre – existing lower body injuries that may be aggravated from the constant repetition then this may not be the challenge for you and you.
Day 1 – 20 squats/5 lunges/10 burpess
Day 2 – 25 squats/10 lunges/15 burpees
Day 3 – 30 squats/15 lunges/20 burpees
Day 4 – rest day
Day 5 – 35 squats/20 lunges/25 burpees
Day 6 – 40 squats/ 25 lunges/30 burpees
Day 7 – 45 Squats/30 lunges/ 40 burpees
Day 8 – Rest day
Day 9 – 50 squats/35 lunges/45 burpess
Day 10 – 55 squats/40 lunges/45 burpees
Day 11 – 60 squats/45 lunges/ 50 burpees
Day 12 – rest day
Day 13 – 65 squats/45 lunges/55 burpees
Day 14 – 70 Squats/50 lunges/60 burpees
taking step to prevent the risk of injury is always extremely important.
Shelley Myatt is the owner and operator of Shelley Myatt Fitness and Well-Being, Columnist, Life Coach & Motivational Speaker based in Toowoomba, Qld.