I want to become healthier and fitter but how do I start?Posted Thu 3 Dec 2015
Okay, so you know that you want to get healthy and fit. You know you want to start eating clean and exercising regularly, and you know you want to make it a lifestyle rather than just a temporary quick fix, so you still live a fun balanced life. Fantastic! This is the first step: acknowledging that there are some habits or aspects of how you live your life that you aren’t completely happy with and wanting to change the way you live for the better by making healthier choices and becoming more active.
Most people will make a resolution similar to this at the beginning of each year, month, even week! It sounds simple, but it is much easier said than done.
Here are my tips about how to actually start when wanting to change lanes into the healthy, fit and active one.
Just like changing lanes in a car, you would ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ then gradually veer into the new lane continuing to keep a check on everything around you. Switching into a healthy, active balanced lifestyle from whatever your starting point may be should be done with similar awareness. There are probably some people who can overnight cold-turkey completely change their habits, behaviour, mannerisms, familiarities and addictions; but most people cannot and most who try in this way are expecting too much from themselves and will likely fall back into old ways soon enough. Which leads me to my first tip:
1) Don’t expect too much from yourself
Be kind to yourself. Teaching yourself new habits is a learning curve which cannot be rushed. You will not be able to overhaul your life in one fell swoop so don’t set yourself unrealistic goals, timescales or expectations. These will only leave you disheartened and more likely to give up. Additionally don’t compare yourself to anyone else – your aim should be to become a better version of you. The best project you will ever work on is yourself, so don’t let other people make you feel weird for wanting to improve yourself.
Moving towards a healthier, more active lifestyle should be something that you stick to for life. So there is no mad rush to get there providing you are constantly taking steps towards it. Each step you take will make you feel better in your own health and wellbeing and thus more empowered to take the next step and willingly stick with it. A balanced, healthy, active lifestyle has nothing to do with deprivation or sacrificing fun.
2) Small, incremental changes and swaps work best
In my experience the most successful people are those who make small changes to their eating, exercise and activity habits and their attitude towards these over time. The changes you will make depend on your own starting point.
For example, maybe you find breakfast time difficult and you either end up having a quick bowl of sugary cereal or rushing out without eating anything then grabbing a big pastry mid-morning. Getting breakfast right by establishing a new morning routine could be the first change you make. Try a bowl of full-fat Greek yoghurt with lots of mixed berries and a handful of almond nuts. This will set you off on the right track from the beginning of the day by kickstarting your metabolism and reducing the mid morning sugar dip and consequential cravings.
Another example is that maybe you force yourself to go for a run 2 or 3 times a week but you see it as a chore. Stop! Swap! The human body is designed to move in a huge variety of ways – why not find a new form of exercise that you find more fun to add variety into your exercise regime. I would recommend trying a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout.
3) Don’t be afraid to be a beginner
It is daunting trying something new. Fear of failing, the thought of not being very good at it and being totally out of your comfort zone may hold you back. But just like starting a new job, see it as a new challenge to be accepted and tackled to the upmost of your ability. Perhaps you wish to start weight training because you know about its many benefits but you are worried about entering ‘the weights room’ at the gym or worried that you don’t know what you’re doing. Find a friend, instructor or Personal Trainer who can guide you through the basics during your first few sessions. Before you know it you will be an old hat at it and looking for the next challenge.
4) Arm yourself with the tools to get you started
This could be something as simple as a new pair of well fitting trainers, a set of dumbbells for home workouts, or some healthy eating cookbooks and ingredients. But in addition you need to make the time for yourself, generate some motivation and make sure those that surround you are supportive. These tools are a little more illusive but essential to getting you started towards a healthier, more active lifestyle. A personal trainer in a 1-1, or small group setting could make all the difference in arming you with the right tools to get you started.
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We’re here to help get you started on the road to a healthier, fitter and happier you!