1) Think about what goal(s) you want to achieve. Write it down and post it up where you can see it everyday. This goal should be a motivating reason to put on your jogging shoes each morning and head out for a walk or to do a weights workout.
2) Buy or assemble workout clothes that make you feel good. As women we can be aesthetically motivated if we feel good or sexy in what we are wearing. Buy the size the fits you now so you feel comfortable and confident and upgrade as you start to lose weight or change body shape.
3) Get advice on the best pair of shoes for your goals and chosen exercise. If you plan to run, then you will need running shoes. If you have chosen walking or using a piece of cardio equipment, then you will need shoes based on this. Don’t skimp on shoes! Your body will thank you for it later on in life.
4) Plan what snack you will eat before your workout for energy. Aim to eat 1 hour before exercising if you need to so your body has time to digest before you start exercising. Experiment with foods that work for you. Many clients need to eat in the morning before going for their walks. I advise eating toast with a smear of cottage cheese when they wake up and then going for a walk or jog about an hour later. If you are short on time, head out right away and ease into the workout. This will keep your blood sugar levels constant and you will get a more effective workout if you aren’t flaking out from your overnight fast!
5) Eat within an hour of exercise. Consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein. One option is poached eggs on toast or a jacket potato with baked beans or tuna. This stabilises your blood sugar levels and restores used glycogen that is used up during exercise.
Cardio and weights
6) Plan your workout in advance each week so you don’t need to think about it. I advise using a separate small diary where you can see each week laid out. Plan each day of activity and tick off each workout as you complete it. This both acts as a guide and also reinforces accomplishment as you move closer to your goals.
7) Seek professional help to kick-start your health and fitness overhaul to get off on the right foot. Often times going it alone by following exercises from books or magazines can be performed wrong and lead to injury or lack of results. Get help so you can learn the right technique and strategies for your own body and goals.
8) Avoid comparing yourself to other people. Work to your own abilities and preferences. What works for one person can be wrong for you. With weight training, start with a reasonable weight that you can safely perform 12-14 reps with. Most importantly, choose an activity or exercise regime that you enjoy and know you can stick at.
9) If you are short on time, don’t be tempted to skip your workouts. With weights, perform just one set of each exercise and keep doing the reps with a reasonable weight until you can’t do any more reps with the correct technique. Reaching fatigue is just as an effective workout as doing 2-3 sets of exercises.
10) With cardio, if you are short on time just do what you can. Split it up throughout the day. Head out the door to walk around the block, walk during your lunch break and take an evening stroll to clock up cardio time each day. The best advice is to plan, plan, and plan! Mark it in your diary and get on with it.
11) Hire a Personal Trainer. We all need accountability to reach our goals! I may be a bit biased but it’s important to have an outside person to help motivate and keep you accountable. The difference between those who start an exercise regime and those that continue on and get results is accountability and the right know-how. It’s that simple! Anyone can improve their current level of health, fitness and weight.
12) Change your programme every 6-8 weeks. We adapt to exercise very quickly so it important to mix it up, increase the intensity or change the routine to eliminate boredom and the dreaded plateau. It’s important to continually enjoy what you are doing to be motivated to want to do it in the first place.
13) Invest in a pedometer. Pick one that you need to open to read the steps as they are more accurate as their buttons aren’t exposed to being accidentally pushed. Aim for 8000- 10,000 steps a day. If you have a very sedentary job then this is the equivalent of a 35 minute walk in the morning and a 25-30 minute walk in the evening or taken in “bites” throughout the day! Sounds like a lot, but it is necessary to maintain your weight and increase your health and fitness. An hour out of your 16 waking hours is not much to ask for. Aim to increase your steps each week for extra motivation
14) Be spurred on by how your clothes feel on you rather than using the scales. Muscle weights more than fat but is much denser, (envision those shapely “cut” muscles) so checking the scales in not accurate of your progress. Also keep a record of your waist measurement as it decreases, for motivation as this figure is more significant to your health and wellbeing.
15) Lastly, don’t give up! Keep working out, mixing things up and experimenting to see what works for you. Even if you don’t see any outward changes right away, know you are definitely bettering your health and therefore your wellbeing and energy. With the right guidance and routines, you will achieve your goals.