Weekly column by fitness expert Adam Wright for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
Initially, making space just to exercise matters more than the details of the exercise itself. If you’re just starting out or trying to get back into it again don’t worry about the details of your initial workouts. Instead focus just on making space to get something done. Here are some tips that may help with this:
1) Set an easy initial target. For example: two workouts per week. Maybe even just one workout. Avoid the temptation to set more ambitious targets. Get the one or the two done consistently for a few weeks, if you get more done that’ll be great, but keep the target easy. Once you’ve got some consistent space created you can start to sweat the details of what you do in that space or start adding more.
‘Goals need to be smart. Do you remember this acronym from school? Simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound’
2) Routine it if you can. If possible try to make it the same time each week. This has the potential to help make it part of other people’s routine too (for the purposes of childcare and the like). This won’t be feasible for everyone, obviously, but could be useful for some.
3) Go even if you aren’t actually going to work out. Even if you don’t feel like lifting weights or working out hard, take the space you’ve created and go for a walk instead. This will help you get some form of exercise done and maintain your routine for yourself and others. Maintaining that space once you’ve created it is really important, other things will take that space back if you let them.
4) When it comes to what exercise you do in the space you create: do something you really enjoy regardless of whether or not you’re sure it’s useful for your long term goals. You may need to do some things you don’t enjoy so much at some point but initially it’s going to be so much easier to create that space if it’s for something you look forward to.
Once you’ve gotten to grips with making the space to exercise then you can start to worry about the details based on your long term goals but initially, if you struggle with finding the time, your goal should be just. Making. Space.
You are not in control of whether or not you lose fat
You are in control of whether or not you eat well (and in appropriate amounts), strength train, live an active life, stay hydrated, and whether or not you stay up all night binge watching Netflix or get some sleep.
Doing these things consistently, over a prolonged period of time, should result in fat loss but you cannot directly control whether or not you lose fat… you can only control things like those listed above. So…
When you set goals, set them around behaviours you control
For example: “My goal is to workout at least two times per week” – you have direct control over this. This will leave you able to see whether or not you have succeeded in a relatively short period of time and you’ll be able to celebrate that success, setting you up to be even more motivated to do more.
Not: “My goal is to get fitter”, you do not have direct control over this. You may still succeed but seeing success will take much longer (potentially leading to loss of motivation) and will be much harder to monitor.
Goals need to be smart. Do you remember this acronym from school? Simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound. “My goal is to workout at least two times per week” is all of those things. “My goal is to get fitter” is some but definitely not all of those things.
You could even be a real fancy pants and make your goals smartER and include Evaluated and Reviewed by joining a club or hiring a coach (like me) to help create some external accountability if you’re having trouble getting going by yourself.