Don’t be a panic exerciser! Top tips for year-round health

I’ve noticed it, so I’m sure you have too: at this time of year there’s a different smell in the air at the gym!

People don’t always voice it, but spend a minute or two looking around the gym and you’ll see it on people’s faces – the three Ds: Determination, Discipline and Desperation. Why? Because of course, summer is just around the corner!

The million-dollar question… and my answers

Why do so many people wait so long to get started? If you want to keep fit and healthy all year round (not only when the countdown’s on), read on for my list of tips…

I don’t go to the gym regularly all year because… it’s hard

Achieving worthwhile things is very rarely easy, and that’s why many people don’t! But the fact that it’s challenging can be a good thing! It helps us grow as people. We tend to value things we’ve had to work for. Ask yourself how good you’ll feel when you have achieved your goal. If you want the result, remember that it’s not only what you get that’s important. Who you become in achieving it is often far more valuable and the effects last longer!

I don’t go to the gym regularly all year because… I’m unmotivated

Look carefully at the gap between what you want, and where you are now. Often times, a lack of motivation is simply a case of forgetting what’s really important to you. Sitting down with a fresh piece of paper and writing out some new goals can be the launch-pad you need to get motivated again to keep up with your exercise habit longer than simply the weeks and months leading up to summer. Another good option is to sit and chat with a good listener, discussing what you want and need to change in order to get motivated again.

I don’t go to the gym regularly all year because… I’m a creature of habit

It can be hard to break bad habits. We can often feel that our existing habits are comfortable, and with the myriad of daily activities vying for our attention, change can seem too overwhelming to attempt.

Many people adopt the destructive “all or nothing” mentality that can really limit any positive changes. “I’ll get to the gym one day soon???, or “I’ll start on Monday???, or “I’ll start when the weather improves???. It can be put off and put off, and that’s when the ‘desperation’ kicks in – when it’s time to bare your body for summer – rather than valuing yourself enough to continue to exercise all year round for your long-term health and wellbeing.

Changing your body requires changing your habits. But in order to make it sustainable, it’s important you don’t try to suddenly changing everything at once (that’s so hard to keep up!) Don’t set yourself up for failure. Most sudden strict training regimes don’t last.

By starting small and simple, you are much more likely to succeed. Try setting aside time every Sunday to diary in your exercise for the week, or writing some motivating goals or quotes out and reading them every morning. Once you’ve mastered a few small habit changes, take on a couple more.

Simple things you can start today to improve your habits and health

Got 20 minutes? Maybe you can’t spare another hour at the gym. But you could spare 20mins for a workout. Plan your week when you can exercise. Do this just three times a week and there’s another full hour of exercise done.

Share your plans. Tell a friend what you’re doing. There’s so much power in sharing your goals and having someone to stay accountable to.

Find online support. There are plenty of online forums and groups who share your passion. Your fitness journey will be a lot more fun and rewarding when you share it with other people.

Push your intensity up. To continue to increase your fitness, it is important that your workouts are challenging. Keep asking yourself the question Am I giving it all I’ve got?’ There may of course be days where your energy is low and you can’t give it your max. But on those days, rather than doing nothing, do something lighter – for example yoga, or a walk in the fresh air to keep your body moving, retain the exercise habit and burn some calories.

Educate yourself. Talk to people in the know, do your research. Find an exercise professional that you can trust who will design your exercise around your individual needs and lifestyle.

Change your program. If you’ve been doing the same thing for a while you may be just maintaining; not progressing. Is it time you mixed things up a bit? Keep asking yourself: “am I giving it all I’ve got?”

Update your music. Music is a great motivator and can help you push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. If you haven’t updated your playlist for a while, do it today!

“The difference between being successful and not is doing the things you know you need to do on the days you don’t feel like doing them” (Author unknown)

Kat Milar is a Personal Trainer at Gfitness, Rhodes. She has over ten years experience in the heath and fitness industry, spe ing in body transformation – particularly fat loss. She is a lecturer at the ACPE academy at Olympic park stadium and a writer for Study Group, Australia. You can visit Kat’s website at www.katmillar.com.