Updated: Feb 21, 2019
And so the new year makes itself felt, with an impetus to develop new habits and to sign-up for optimistic resolutions regarding our health and fitness.
It is a time to rebound after the season of relaxation and socialising that has just passed.
Christmas and New Year celebrations are always a good break from our responsibilities and obligations during the year that has gone. In this light what is to follow is some advice on how to deal with the post-Christmas blues (and get through the dreaded January!), about what is best to eat at this time of year, the exercises to follow to get energy levels back up again, as well as the best mental attitudes to adopt to achieve these outcomes, and how to power into February.
Look at it as a check-list to establish a confident foothold in the new year.
Over the years I have met and listened to many clients concerning their lives and ambitions. Some of these men and women were about to get married, some were soon to buy a property. On a more personal front others were facing the prospect of the loss of a family member, while others had quit their jobs after deciding to start a new life.
It is certainly true to say that a Personal Trainer is also a sort of counsellor for some!
When I was in France, towards the end of my university course, I found myself under a certain amount of pressure, mainly due to the challenge of my looming final exams. I remember going for a run at that time to clear my mind and this did indeed help me to release the stress I was feeling at the time.
In the years that followed I faced challenges in my career as a rugby player, as well as difficulties in certain personal relationships. During these periods I spent a lot of time at the gym, as I found that this was a good way to release the anger and the disappointments that I felt as I faced such challenges. My life was not going the way that I had hoped it would and in fact I had lost my way at a particular point in my life and was unsure as to which direction to take moving forward.
I think about that part of my life today as I face the challenges of 2018 (as I am sure many people also do when they consider their past whilst contemplating the future).
In this light my view on the coming year is that it is entirely possible to make of it whatever is realistically possible and for us all to adapt to its challenges as best we can.
I also believe that physical training in itself cannot resolve individual issues around self-image and our journey through life, though it can help us to prepare as individuals, both mentally and physically, to face the challenges of life.
With regard to what exercise can do in terms of the body mental and physical, shape.com has some helpful advice (which may be of value).
Outside of the physical realm in the coming year my advice would be to be efficient when exercising (as well as in all areas of life). By this I mean it helps to learn how to push yourself when training and to apply this approach to training on a step-by-step basis. To do this, set up your body and mind to get better results going into your workout and then measure your progress as you achieve results.
And what is the best approach to working out moving through January?
I would advise starting with an invigorating run to an achievable distance (in my opinion a 1K run is a good, moderately challenging start). Then, once you do start sweating, hit the gym floor and privilege a cable routine when you do so (a cable cross over, for example), before adding a body weight exercise, such as a push-up as the next step.
At this point take a short break, before repeating the above cable and body weight exercise three times (with 10 repetitions for each), after which you can move on to your routine of your choice with again, a focus on efficiency and achievable results.
Where food is concerned (always a hot topic at this time of year), if you train in the morning, aim to train on an empty stomach. You should then eat within an hour of your training session.
In addition, regardless of when you train, each time you eat, give your body three hours to digest the food you have eaten before training. This will enable you to train comfortably with energy and on an empty stomach.
Finally, where mental attitude and training is concerned, in my opinion the right mentality to train effectively comes from training with the right purpose. Or, to put it another way, you should train to feel better, not to feel over-tired, and you should train to boost your mind, not to cloud it.
So don’t put all your eggs in the same basket(s) when training. Learn how to sweat to benefit your body and mind, and aim to train smartly and with intelligence (not to slog out a workout in the belief that exhaustion will make you fit). Go heavy if you feel like it, and if it works for you, or go more lightly if you prefer (or indeed proceed with a combination of the two). But when you do so exercise, challenge your coordination and your skills during your workout.
Then have a shower, leave it there until next time, and move on to something else.
I have been living in london for 10 years now. During that time I have had my ups and downs, just like everyone else in the city. Working out has always helped me to pull myself together during such times and has also taught me not to be defeatist when faced with challenges, not to complain when it is not merited and not to be on the offensive, but rather to be myself and not be an attempted duplicate of someone else.
Working out has taught me to be myself and to be the best I can be.
So, in this coming year my advice would be to value personal convictions, to admit when you find yourself in the wrong and to put your trainers on and go out and exercise whenever possible.
And don't forget to enjoy that part of the process when you do so!