Motivation for the New Year!

Hope you all had a good Christmas?!

No doubt you’re starting to feel a little bloated, sluggish etc from the excess carbohydrates and alcohol?

Well here’s some tips to get you underway for the new year;

Nutrition

Most people go on a diet of some kind. The Problem with “going on a diet” (the clue is in the phrase!) is that at some point you have to “come off the diet” or you return to your normal way of eating!

Most diets in existence are also very low calorie, cut out a particular food group, and generally messes  about with your bodies metabolism (the rate at which you’re body naturally burns calories) and/or your health.

The easiest way to sustain a healthy eating plan is to;

1)      Reduce the amount of sugar you consume. This in turn will balance out blood sugar and insulin levels, which is often the cause of fat gain. You will also find you have higher energy levels than normal due to balanced blood sugar levels.

2)      Always aim to eat protein with each meal. This can include eggs, meat, chicken, fish, protein powder, cottage cheese and beans. Protein will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

3)      Reduce the amount of carbohydrates and type you eat. Carbohydrates are our primary energy source. But as a nation we eat too many. Unless you have an active job and are burning calories throughout the day, you don’t need a great deal of carbohydrates. Any excess will be converted to fat as the body cannot store an unlimited supply. Eat less high-GI carbs like cakes, biscuits, pastry, sweets and crisps, and eat more rye, wholemeal, spelt, vegetables and salads. Our bodies are designed to eat “natural foods”, not processed man made foods that pile on the weight, cause health problems, and reduce your energy levels.

4)      Drink more water! As a minimum you should be consuming 1.5 litres of water a day. Most people won’t consume half that! Our bodies are made up from over 65% water and it’s responsible for transporting nutrients around the body, removing fat and toxins, and keep fatigue at bay.

Create a food diary – write down everything you eat and drink for 10 days, and the times consumed. You will be surprised when you look back at what and when you ate. Try not to leave more than 4 hours between eating, and try not to eat late at night (after 8pm) as this is when people tend to pick on “sofa food”!

Exercise

When most people start an exercise regime they go one of 2 ways. They either decide to go running or join a gym. Unfortunately both don’t give great results most times.

Running – at first most people get some results. That is obvious as they are suddenly doing more exercise than normal! But after a few weeks, results will start to stall, injuries may occur (due to the repetitive, load bearing issues of running) and motivation will start to drop.

Most people have a number of muscle imbalances or postural issues which can affect movement, exercise, and particularly running, as the body has to compensate for dysfunctions by using muscles that wouldn’t normally be recruited. (A kinetic Chain assessment can be beneficial for addressing and correcting these postural  issues*)

The gym– can be a convenient way to have every piece of equipment under one roof, but this is not enough! Your induction will often only show the equipment on your programme, and the workout written for you is unlikely to take into account the imbalances discussed above. Once this is done, you’re on your own! Again, most people get some results early on due to the ‘nothing to everything’ regime, but when the dark nights close in, a bottle of wine and tv programme calls, where is the need to go out in the cold?! Ensure you have a “set-programme” that has a specified start and finish date, and that you progress during the workout, striving to increase the weight used, speed or distance travelled on the CV equipment, with each session. Having a training partner can often help with motivation both in the gym, and getting to the gym!

This is where group classes or partnered work can come in handy. Being accountable to someone else and having that “social support” will give you that extra motivation. If you’re going to a group session and you know Julie, Sandra, Pete or Tom will be there, gives you that extra motivation. Or if you know that Tom will be coming round to give you a lift to your session, excuses come harder!

Try a fitness bootcamp session, a class at your local gym or sports hall, you’ll find the extra motivation that is often lacking when training alone. Alternatively choose a qualified and experienced Personal Trainer, and ensure 2010 is a good year for YOU!

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