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Why is it so hard to stick to an exercise routine?

Why is it so hard to stick to an exercise routine? 150 150 NewStartPT

Have you ever started an exercise program, and then just…stopped?

Probably not, but most people have!

Whether its kicking off your new year with “resolutions”, or saying “I’ll start it next month”, lots of people start something, only to lose motivation and momentum shortly after. Despite most people knowing that exercise is extremely beneficial to us, only around half of us actually regularly do exercise! So why is this?

Well, for starters, a lot of people don’t know how much they should be exercising, and they lose focus as a result. The recommendation is for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This amount is enough to improve your mental and physical health, and will help to prevent long-term, chronic illnesses.

From there, it can be due to a lack of motivation. Motivation seems like an obvious one – if we had the motivation to do it, we just would, right? Lots of people don’t really give any meaning to exercise, outside of it being something that they feel like they “need to do”. Something which can really help for this, is to give yourself more “reasons”. Find something that you enjoy so that it changes from being something you need to do, to something you enjoy and WANT to do. Find someone who you can train with so that you can keep each other accountable, or even better, find a local Personal Trainer who can help to motivate you! Check out my other blog on Finding The Best Personal Trainer for finding a local personal trainer that will help you to get the results you want!

One of the biggest things that helps to keep motivated though, is to have a proper goal in place to drive your exercise! Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to get stronger? Do you want to have a clearer understanding on your meal plan for the week? These are all very important things to consider for setting your goal, and will make a world of difference once you are clear on them (and they are also things which your trainer can help make very clear and easy for you!).  It is great to have both short term, and long term goals. You might want to lose 30kg, but you also need to consider that losing 5kg is a great first step to work towards. For some people, even setting a goal to just be doing something regularly is a great first step!

Once your goals are sorted, it is on to the biggest hurdle that most people have (though often self imposed and not real) is not having enough time, and losing interest because they think their routine isn’t achievable. There are a few simple ways around this. One, which I find is the best for the majority of people, is to set your alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning. That will give you more than enough extra time to do some sort of exercise. And if you don’t, you have an extra 20 minutes to prepare for your day! The second, and this one is usually just as achievable, is to watch just an hour less TV each week. Once you start reducing that, you will realize how much extra time you suddenly have! If you have any shops that are within walking distance, also consider walking to them rather than driving for small pickups!

Seeing a trainer is another thing that really helps for this. Not only will you get the most efficient use of the limited time that you have, but it will also help to build into your routine and make it a part of what you set out to do each day! Doing any sort of incidental walking or light exercise across the day also helps!

The last thing on the list is possibly the one that causes most people to fail, and it’s the “fear of failing again”. Lots of people have tried to become healthier in the past, but for one reason or another, it didn’t work out. This sits on anyone’s mind whenever they try to start again, and the moment something starts going wrong, it can creep further in, with the thoughts of “I knew it wasn’t going to work” and such. Having a positive mindset around this is massive, because the moment you start thinking you won’t be able to succeed, well… you are right. Being positive and working forwards is the only way this will work, and, like I have said a few times already, is something that seeing a personal trainer can help with immensely.

As soon as people start seeing the results they wanted, it suddenly makes sticking to exercise so much easier! Those first few kilos are often the hardest, but once they happen, the mindset shift makes the rest so much easier!


Carbs are not the enemy, the way you eat them is!

Carbs are not the enemy, the way you eat them is! 150 150 NewStartPT

Carbs often get a bad rap for causing us to gain weight. The issue is, that it is often the timing and how they are prepared that causes the problem, and not the carbs themselves. While eating excessive carbs will definitely cause some problems with weight loss, there are also positives around carb intake! For starters, carbs are great for our gut health! They are also vital in muscle development, as they contain the nutrients that our bodies need to rebuild muscles after a hard workout! 

When it comes to what we eat, we should always aim to consume a balanced, varied diet. The right carbohydrate based foods contain essential nutrients and dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy digestive system and for the microbes that live there. The bacteria that live in our gut have a huge impact on many areas of our health, including aiding in digestion, supporting our immune system and even having an effect on our mental health.

By maintaining a balanced diet that is rich in fibre, we help good gut bugs to thrive and ferment the fibre, creating short-chain fatty acids that aid in regulating our immune system, digestion, metabolism and skin health.

Back to the weight management part of carb intake, the best advice can be summed up as this; eat them when your body needs them. What this means is to have them at the time of day where you actually need to have that extra energy. This is at the start of the day, or directly before or after doing something physical. This is when your body will consume the calories associated with the carbs, while still being able to utilise the benefits of them.

When considering the types of carbs to eat, for the best result in regards to weight maintenance, aiming for wholegrains is going to be better. Wholegrains are an excellent source of carbohydrate as they also contain many naturally occurring essential nutrients and vitamins including fibre. Whole grain based carbs are higher in fibre and have a lower glycemic index (GI), which means they break down slower and give your body energy for longer.

What you want to try to avoid is eating high GI index carbs, as they are more often your processed foods, or “unhealthy” foods. These will give you a quick release of sugar into your system, and will result in more unused energy. This unused energy is then converted into fat by the body. The one time when these are more helpful though is directly before you are about to something very physical. During this time, your body needs that extra energy, and will utilise much more of it.

Ultimately, eating a balanced amount of all types of nutrients is what will give the best result overall!

Do we really need to take 10k steps a day for our health?

Do we really need to take 10k steps a day for our health? 150 150 NewStartPT

We often hear that to be healthy, we should aim for 10000 stop a day. But that isn’t always
the case. In reality, It’s really about just doing more than you already are (unless you are
already quite active). A highly sedentary lifestyle comes with a higher risk of premature
death and disease. So, the more we move, the lower that risk becomes.

For a long time, it’s been recommended to take 10000 steps every day, but recent studies
have shown that fewer daily steps can still offer significant health benefits. One piece of
research from 2019 found that, for women in their 70s, 4,400 steps a day reduced their risk of
premature death
by 40 percent compared to women that completed fewer than 2,700 steps a
day. The more steps people walked, the lower their risk of dying was, before levelling off at
around 7,500 steps a day. No additional benefits were seen with more steps.

The number 10,000 is not really even based on science but rather part marketing gimmick,
part coincidence that dates back to 1960s Japan—to capitalise on the fitness craze following
the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, a pedometer was sold which was called ‘ Manpo-kei ’. This
translates to ‘10,000 steps metre’ and somehow, this number has been embedded in our
global consciousness, as well as fitness trackers.

Of course, we know the dangers of our increasingly sedentary lives. Studies have shown that
people who sit for eight hours or more every day (which is most of us), have a 59 percent
increased risk of premature death compared to those that sit for less than four hours a day.
But, research also found, an hour or so of moderate exercise counterbalanced the damage
done by sitting for most of the day.

For most people, starting small is going to be their best first point. Even if that is just
changing 1 meal a week and doing 10 minutes of walking a day. It’s a start, and can easily be
built on. Almost everyone has 10 minutes to spare in their day, and once it becomes part of
your routine, it can easily be built on and increased!

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