‘New Year equals New You!’ Around this time of year everyone’s thinking about trying to get back into training, or perhaps starting an exercise programme for the first time – that is why Jan is our busiest month! But what obstacles do you face between now and the ‘New You’ that you’ve got your eye on for 2013?
Obstacle number one: TIME!
“The kids are going back to school and there’s too much to do besides worrying about exercise!”
When term starts, and we go back to work, one of the things we suddenly recognise a major shortage of is time. But this shouldn’t be a barrier to exercise – there are loads of things we can do to be economical with our time if we give it some thought and plan ahead!
There’s no point in spending hours of your week if it’s not helping you get results. Sitting on the sofa strengthening your ear-wiggling muscles might hurt after a while, but it will hardly burn any calories! Aim to do time-efficient workouts that use whole-body movements to get you working hard. Big compound moves like squats, lunges and press-ups are a favourite among Personal Trainers (and possibly the least favourite among our clients) precisely because they use lots of muscles at the same time, and get your heart pumping as a result. These movements are high energy and use multiple joints, and the benefits will be exponentially greater!
Try also to minimise the time either side of training (or what my Mum would call ‘faffing’.) Swimming is an excellent way to get fit and burn calories but if the pool is twenty minutes drive and it takes an hour to wash and dry your hair, then it might not be the most practical choice! Instead do as much as you can at, or from, your own home. There is a multitude of DVDs available that help you do this – or alternatively try using your Wii Fit – for an easy, fun and practical way to train. Our clients say that home Personal Training saves loads of time on travelling and makes it easier to fit exercise into their weeks. If the kids are a distraction, get them involved! It’s a great way to spend family time and, after all, they may have a few Christmas meals to work off too…
Finally, remember that jiggling around our priorities may be necessary – but is nearly always justifiable. Exercise isn’t just concerned with fitness, but also helps to reduce stress, improve productivity and leaves you feeling fresher and more lively. So if exercise is kicked up the priority list a few places, often the other responsibilities in our lives can be managed more effectively. Furthermore, if our well-being is up and our stress levels are down, we are much happier and more resilient in dealing with time pressures on the whole!
Hyde Phillips is the At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Sutton Coldfield