1. Set yourself realistic goals! Start any new exercise programme gently, allowing yourself time to learn new exercises and settle into new fitness routines. Starting out with a heavy, time intensive health and fitness programme can often lead to time management issues, boredom and ultimately disappointment and failure.
2. If you plan to take part in a fitness session during the day and you are able to, get dressed into your fitness clothes as early as you can prior to your planned session. Being prepared for your exercise can often motivate you to carry out the session. You’d be surprised what having to go and get changed can do to prevent you from actually getting around to going for that run or attending that fitness class!
3. Drink lots of water. It is recommended that you should try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. This can seem rather a lot! However, water is essential to the human body and especially one that is taking part in exercise. Always fully hydrate before an exercise session, have a drink to hand during exercise and remember to drink after you have completed your exercise session.
4. Eat breakfast! So many people skip what I think is the most important meal of the day. It’s like driving off in a car that desperately needs the tank filling with petrol! Eating a healthy breakfast will give you much needed energy to start your working day with, can help you to avoid eating snacks later in the morning/afternoon, can reduce the size and calorie content of your lunch and most importantly, raises your metabolism right at the start of the day so that you can burn more calories as you go about your everyday business. Can’t be bad!
5. Always warm up before taking part in any sort of exercise. A warm up allows the heart and lungs to pump blood around the body to all the muscles that we are about to use giving them energy and power. This can help prevent injury and poor technique due to fatigue.
6. Always stretch at the end of any exercise session as this allows the body to cool down safely and can also help to cut down on delayed onset of muscle soreness. Perform stretches for all of the major muscle groups of the body, (glutes, quads, hamstrings, calfs, back, chest, arms) holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. Each stretch should be carried out in a balanced and controlled way with no bouncing.
7. Get more sleep. I think we would all like to be able to have more sleep, especially as we all work hard all day and feel so exhausted in the evenings. All sorts of repair and maintenance work in going on inside a human body as it sleeps so it seems to make sense that allowing ourselves as much good sleep as possible will make us happier, healthier people! Try to get an early(ish) night at least once or twice a week and see if you notice a difference!
8. Don’t deny yourself your favourite things! How many times have you heard someone say ‘no more chocolate biscuits’ only for them to admit that they wolfed down an entire packet two weeks later? All that hard work for nothing! If you can set yourself a nutritious, healthy diet along with some exercise then why not have a treat or two every now and again?
Allowing yourself to indulge in a small treat every so often will mean that you can keep those urges under better control and help to prevent those breaks in will-power. Why not give it a try? You could maybe keep the weekdays free from snacks and then allow yourself some over the weekend?
9. Don’t be afraid to ask! How do you know what is best for you? Are you carrying out your exercises correctly? What exercises should you be doing in the gym? How far should you cycle or run each week? Never be afraid to ask any health or fitness professional any questions that you may have regarding your health and fitness.
Anyone working in the health, fitness or medical industries will be happy to answer any questions that you may have – that’s why they’re in that profession! Exercising safely and efficiently is the key to becoming fit and healthy. If you don’t ask, you could injure yourself or over work yourself and cause unnecessary fatigue.
10. Take a break! Did you know that taking rest periods between your workouts is the most important thing you can do to ensure you get fit and healthy as quickly as possible? Sounds wrong but it’s not! It’s called the super-compensation process. Your body gets fitter during the rest intervals between workouts rather than when you are actually carrying out the exercises themselves.
To ensure you don’t work out tired muscles that are still in the recovery mode, always leave at least 2 full days in between each strength training session. The harder and more intense your training session, the longer the recovery intervals should be, sometimes it can be up to 10-14 days! You can avoid injury and also ensure that your muscles get as strong as you want them as soon as you want them to!