You’ve heard the old saying “Summer bodies are built in winter“, which implies that, if you’ve left it till spring to begin your fitness kick, you’re never going to be ready for the beach. Well, here’s the good news: that’s total BS.
“It’s never too late to get started!” says Amelia Phillips, fitness and nutrition expert.
If you rip into your workout program today, you’ll earn instant results — and while they’ll admittedly be of the internal kind at first (muscle adaptation, improved heart and lung function, boosted metabolism) Phillips says visible external results are likely to follow in as little as a week.
If you made hard-won gains for last summer that disappeared when you went into winter hibernation, don’t stress. When you return to exercise, your progress will come back faster than if you were just starting out again.
“We have ‘muscle memory'” Phillips explains. “So if you’ve been fit before, your muscles will respond to exercise faster, even if you’re older.”
How to stick to your health and fitness goals
We’ve literally all done this before: vowed to get healthy, worked out like a demon and eaten sensibly for a few weeks, then somehow returned to the exact same routine we were in before making that vow.
It’s almost always the same two factors standing in the way of you and your fitness goals, Phillips believes.
“Without doubt the two biggest culprits are a loss of focus and lack of organisation,” she says.
To stay focused, she advises breaking down your big, vague, long-term goal into more manageable chunks that you can tackle months and weeks at a time.
“Let’s say you want to lose weight,” she says. “Set yourself a monthly target, but then set yourself a realistic weekly action plan — for example, burn 500 calories every session and train Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.”
“You’re less likely to skip sessions when you understand the role of each workout,” she adds.
To get organised, set aside a little bit of time every week to lay out exactly what you’re going to do in the coming days.
“Mark your workouts in your diary like a meeting, and pre-plan your meals for the week,” Phillips says, advising you to have healthy frozen meals on hand to prevent the temptation of takeaway. (Click here for 9Honey Coach’’ guide on how to become a mealprep pro.)
“Also know your weak moments — is it 3pm, 8pm, or Friday night drinks?” she asks. “Have healthier alternatives on hand.”
Find your motivation
To help stick to this fitness kick, Phillips believes it’s useful to take some time to think about why you didn’t stick to your past fitness kicks.
“What were the top three reasons you fell off the wagon last time? How can you prevent this from happening this time?” she says.
It might simply have been that you didn’t have a strong enough motivator on past occasions (Phillips points out that the desire just to look good “won’t cut it”) — meaning you need to search for more solid motivation.
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