Brace yourself, I have some bad news...
Going to one exercise class isn’t going to get you fit.
Doing a bicep curl isn’t going to make you stronger.
And skipping that one dessert isn’t going to make you lean.
I know, life is so unfair.
If everything we saw or read on the internet were true, we would all be the strongest, fittest versions of ourselves in a matter of days. How amazing would that be? But sadly all those quick fixes - fat burning tea anyone? - do not work. They never have. The good news is that there is something that does. Consistency, that's what. Sticking at something and not giving up. It’s not sexy and it won’t get you likes on Instagram, but it will get you result, and I suspect it is the main reason many of you aren't in quite the shape that you’d like to be.
In my last article, I talked about finding your exercise ‘thing’.
That form of exercise that inspires you to get up on a cold winter’s morning, or which will tempt you away from the office end of month drinks and into the gym. Finding the right exercise for you isn’t always easy. However, discovering something which you enjoy, and that fits into your lifestyle, is absolutely key to achieving consistency…and consistency gets results.
But how do you find it? And what should you actually be looking for?
Well, the answer is the same as it is for most health related questions - it entirely depends on the person. Finding the right exercise for you is a very unique and personal thing. We are incredibly lucky in Guernsey to have so many sports and fitness clubs and centres all offering a veritable smorgasbord of heartrate raising, quad-burning, sweat-inducing exercise.
So the issue is not the options available. No, the issue for us is how to narrow down those options.
To help you with this, all you have to do is find an exercise or sport which you want to try, then ask yourself these questions:
1. Is it easy to get to?
Yes, we live on a relatively small island, but travelling from St Sampsons to Torteval can add an extra hour onto your session. The closer it is to home, the more likely you are to go regularly.
2. Can I afford it?
Exercise can range from practically free (following an online workout at home) to very expensive (road biking for example). Be aware of the costs which may follow should you decide to take up this activity regularly.
Committing to something financially can be very motivating though, paying in advance might make you less likely to give up!
3. Do I have time for it?
Be realistic about how much time a week you can devote to your new found past-time.
4. Can I physically do it?
If you already have injuries or physical limitations, then it is worth seriously thinking about how these may impact your enjoyment of the exercise you want to try. There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking if taking part might make your injury worse, then I would suggest trying something else until you are more recovered.
5. What are my goals?
If you want to run a marathon, then you are going to have to get better at running, if you want to get strong, then the best place to start would be a gym, but if you just want to feel fitter and have fun, then the sporting and exercise world is your oyster! Have clear goals, then select your exercise choices accordingly.
6. Am I going to hate it?
There is very little point committing to something which you know you don’t like, because you won’t stick to it!
7. Do any of my friends do it?
Going to an exercise class with friends will make that first session so much less daunting. It will also make going regularly a lot easier to maintain as you can encourage each other if motivation starts to wane.
8. Is the timing right?
If you work 9-5 and the class is at 9:30am, then you are never going to make it. Look for a class or training session which fits your schedule, or even better try something more flexible, like a gym which you can use at a time that suits you. However, if you know you are not great a self-motivator, it might be best to go for something with a structured timetable like group classes.
By narrowing down the field of options with these 8 simple questions, you should be able to intelligently select a few exercise options which will enable you to get fit, get strong and get healthy by training consistently.
That’s the easy bit done.
Now all you have to do is turn up every week!
If you have any queries about what I have written above, or about fitness or exercise in general, please email me: [email protected]