Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ve set yourself a goal by simply saying ‘I’m going to lose weight’ or ‘I shall get fit’, says Wolverhampton based personal trainer Adam Coley.
A goal, says Adam, is something that is specific, time based and realistic. Here the fitness expert, who has been in the industry for a decade, suggests goals to aim for in 2014 focusing on healthy eating, fitness and general wellbeing.
“Do you hit your target of five pieces of fruit and veg a day? I think you may be shocked to find out that the actual target is more in line with seven a day! Both numbers can be quite scary and hard to put into practice when you focus on the amounts alone so I want you to think of it in another way. The fibre target for an individual without special dietary requirements is 18grams a day. A diet high in fibre can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers. There are two sorts of fibre. Soluble and insoluble. Both will help you in different ways. To ensure that you hit your target your diet should include nuts and seeds, apples, bananas and root vegetables to name but a few. When preparing vegetables try not to peel the goodness away, instead give them a good scrub.
“Brisk walking, steady jogging, sprinting up hills, whichever one you fancy this is a way of getting daily exercise that’s free and fun.
It’s been proven that if you walk for 15 minutes, or 30 minutes after a large meal, you can drastically lower your blood sugar levels. A study at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services reported that walking three times a day for this duration could decrease the risk of diabetes in older adults. If you fancy setting a more ambitious goal, Parkrun is a national project offering free weekly 5km runs in local parks. To enter you register online and print out a barcode which is your personal ID. You then go to your local Parkrun event, run the race and give them your barcode at the end. Your personal results will then come up on the website a few hours later. West Park in Wolverhampton hosts this run every week so jump on the website and sign up. You may not want to end your goal there though. Every September Wolverhampton hosts the fantastic Wolverhampton marathon. Many of my clients have run distances from 5km up to the full marathon but this year I’ve decided to do things slightly differently. I’ve created my own enrolment form and so far have 15 clients’ names registered. I think this highlights the importance of publishing your goal. Telling your friends and family, or putting up frequent Facebook posts about how your training is going is a good way of putting your money where your mouth is. Plus you’ll be surprised at how motivating positive encouragement from friends can be.
“It’s often said that there are 3,500 calories in a pound so cutting your calories by just 50 a day will give you nearly half a stone weight loss over 12 months without doing anything else. Although it may be hard to prove this theory it could still be useful. There are just over 200kcal each in 500mls of coke, a large glass of wine and a pint of larger. So, say you have at least one of these a day. If you cut it out you could lose 1.5 stone of fat mass in a year without any other help. Tie this in with healthy eating and exercise and you’re on to a weight loss winner. Also be wary of fruit juices, they can be calorie dense without the benefit of the fibre found in natural fruits meaning it’s much more easily converted from sugar to fat. Also, you are aiming for around two litres of water a day. Get a two litre bottle of water and mark it eight times. Aim to drink little but often throughout the day. With this minor change in your drinking habits you can look forward to increased energy, saying goodbye to toxins, improving your skin’s complexion, maintaining bowel regularity, boosting your immune system, preventing cramps and sprains, improving mood and achieving greater weight loss as we often mistake thirst for hunger.
Now for the interactive bit, says Adam. Grab a pen, paper and some blu tack. At the top of the paper make two columns with the titles Goals and Date to be achieved by.
Healthy eating goal. ‘I will include more fibre in my diet’. For example, at breakfast add a serving of dried apricots. An apple and banana as a healthy snack and more root veg at lunch or dinner. Timed? Add extra fruit and veg to your weekly shop until you’re hitting your daily targets within six weeks. Is this realistic? Assuming you haven’t got a condition that is irritated by an increase in fibre, such as IBS then yes, it’s a goal that is achieved through steady progression.
The fitness goal. ‘I will participate in Wolverhampton 10km or half marathon in September’. Timed? You’ve got nine months to prepare for it. Enter West Park’s free run every week for four weeks then add two more weekly jogs. Realistic? As long as you progressively increase duration, frequency and intensity then you will be more than capable of achieving your goal come September.
Wellbeing goal. ‘I will limit my drinking calories and drink more water’. Give yourself two clear days of drinking alcohol each week. Have a maximum of one alcoholic drink on the other days. Opt for low calorie options like vodka or lime and soda. Timed? Drink one extra glass of water per day each week until hitting your target of around two litres per day. Again this is progressive so it’s also realistic.
“Finally, sign and date the sheet at the bottom and stick it to your fridge. Announce your goals to the world…..or at the very least your family and Facebook friends. Make sure you keep them updated as you go along, especially at times when motivation is starting to slide.
Congratulations you’re on the path to achieving your new year’s resolutions and more importantly leading a healthier life.