New Year New Intentions?
Admit it. This year won’t be the first time you’ve made a resolution to improve your health. But the road to a fitter, healthier New Year is littered with failed, good intentions, so how do you ensure the most valuable of life changes is still with you this time next year?
We Brits waste some £550 million every year on unused gym memberships and just over half of those who were only too eager to sign a direct debit mandate never actually go.
The race for the ‘new year, new me’ ideal is laudable but often unsuccessful. People have unrealistic expectations and tend to attack things with a verve that isn’t sustainable. As Phil Wyatt, Sencio Community Leisure’s Wellness Manager, says: “Exercise needs to be thought of as a lifestyle choice. Do that and it’s more manageable, less daunting and you will get results.
“The most important thing is to find an activity you’ll enjoy. If you’ve not already got a fitness pastime then try a few things,” he suggests.
“Some people love the gym but, for others, group exercise is more fun because you’ve a set time to turn up and even if you don’t feel like it on the day you’re there with others, so you have the social element – and an instructor pushing you!
“A good personal trainer will be more than happy to listen to your goals and make some suggestions. It’s a cliche but getting fit isn’t just for January. It has to be part of how you lead your life – enjoy it and consistency will follow.”
• Visit sencio.org.uk
Testing the Theory
The fitness industry is always trying to reinvent itself and one of the newest offerings are high-intensity workouts in which participants wear a heart rate monitor and see their performance displayed on screen.
“It might sound daunting, but it isn’t,” says Alex Watson, Head Coach of the new Orangetheory studio that opened in Bromley back in October.
“Perhaps you’ve tried a gym or fitness routine in the past that felt like a dead end – no guidance, no inspiration and no results. There’s every chance it’s not you, it’s your workout.
“Orangetheory is a one-hour total body workout that combines endurance, power and strength for a fresh workout every time. The science-backed, technology-tracked group workout is guaranteed to produce results. And because you get to see what you’ve achieved at the end of each session, you’re working with others and instructors are there to challenge you, the experience is sociable and fun.”
David Lloyd (with gyms at Kings Hill, West Malling, Maidstone and Dartford) has come up with its own version in the form of Blaze – a high energy workout combining combat, cardio and strength training in specially-constructed studios with treadmills, weight benches and punch bags. Like Orangetheory, class members get to see their results at the end of a session.
It's Better Together
Some people possess the commitment gene when it comes to exercise but for most mere mortals motivation is often the holy grail of consistency. One of the best ways to stay on track is to buddy up:
• Exercising with a friend is sociable and fun.
• Working out with a partner is proven to have a major influence on a person’s exercise routine.
• You’ll be more consistent…and much more likely to push yourself – and each other!
• It’s harder to say “I’ll skip it today” when someone else is relying on you.
• A touch of competition is great for inspiring you to work harder.
Sencio Community Leisure (which has centres at Sevenoaks, Edenbridge and Whiteoak) offers an all-in-one package for joint members with unlimited access to the gym, pool and dozens of classes every week.
Home & Away
Fitness professional Alex Crockford developed his Crockfit plans as part of a desire to show people there are many ways in which to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
The online platform offers fully-supported training programmes for men and women whether they choose to exercise at home or in a gym. Crucially, they are designed for everyone from those starting out on a fitness journey through to the more dedicated who may have become demotivated.
Alex, who has almost 50,000 YouTube subscribers and is known for actively engaging with and supporting his followers on Twitter, says: “There are many routes to a healthier lifestyle. For some, that will be about the gym but others will want a different approach, whether that’s group exercise, working out at home or in the park, or taking up a sport.
“What I’m most passionate about is inspiring people, helping them remain positive, encouraging them to treat exercise as a lifestyle rather than something to be endured and, above all, I want them to have fun. Enjoy it and you’ll stick with it.
“Those are the reasons I developed the plans. To see someone enjoy the benefits and be inspired by their own hard work and the results they achieve is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work.
“We live in a high-stress world. You don’t have to become a gym fanatic but a few initial changes will lead to more and set you up to enjoy life to the maximum.”
• Visit alexcrockford.com
Wear & Tear
Whenever you start a new exercise routine, try to build up your fitness gradually as this will help prevent injuries such as joint sprains or muscle strains.
• Speak to your GP before you start if you haven’t been very active lately or if you have a medical condition.
• Be prepared for emergencies and keep in your gym bag: painkillers (oral and topical); ice/heat packs or sprays; compression bandages; blister plasters and sports supports.
Images: David Lloyd Clubs, CBZ Photography 2016