September 30, 2016

4 steps to getting yourself out of a slump and closer towards your goal

LET’S SAY YOU want to tone up, drop body fat, feel stronger or generally just get healthier and fitter.

You’ve tried the diets, joined the local gym in January, done the running clubs in the winter, the bootcamps in the summer, and bought the DVD home workouts yet you’re still frustrated with your lack of progress.

Give this four-step plan a try.

Step 1 —  Log your food and fuel for 1 full week, then review it

Source: Shutterstock/gvictoria

All the foods you eat and the time of day you eat them should be recorded here.

Track a whole week and go over it all at the end of the seven days. Have a look at where you’re going wrong and figure out what needs work.

It could be binning the junk food, aiming to drink more water or perhaps noticing you need to bring more green leafy veg into your day.

You might be surprised to see what you’re actually eating when you log your diet for just a week.

Step 2 – Take action

You have to accept that you are in this position as a result of how you’ve been living your life.

You must want to make the change, no one else is really going to motivate you. Accept the changes won’t happen overnight, there will be setbacks, yet continue to stay positive on making the changes towards your healthier lifestyle.

As a personal trainer I work with hundreds of clients each year, mostly on a one-on-one basis. Some hit their goals and some don’t.

Those who achieve their goals are, without exception, the ones who say: “OK, no more messing around, I need to get more honest about the food I eat and drink, start to exercise more and generally just look after my lifestyle a little better.”

Next step is to get rid of the junk food. There is no way you are going to drop significant amounts of fat if you’re regularly eating junk food.

A treat once or twice a week isn’t a problem but if your primary goal is dropping body fat, and you’re regularly consuming high-calorie, processed junk food, it isn’t going to work.

Once you’ve gotten rid of the junk food, go a little further and start to bring quality foods into your food plan, track your calories and then measure your macronutrients and micronutrients.

I have mentioned this before in a previous article, highlighting the importance of tracking carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Step 3 – Aim to exercise at least 3/4 times per week

Focus on areas like mobility and flexibility, and then look into improving your strength and conditioning.

If you can incorporate lots of stretching and focus on tight areas in your body that need work such as your glutes, shoulders, ankles or hamstrings, then this can lead to better movement, improved posture and can help you out when it comes to the strength or conditioning portions of your workout.

When doing strength work aim to bring in compound, multi-joint movements that really give you the best bang for your buck; like squats, deadlifts, or body-weight drills like pull-ups, dips and push-ups.

Source: Shutterstock/Peter Bernik

When it comes to conditioning drills I always like doing short HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts which last 8-15 minutes, where you could be working on things like battle ropes, kettebell swings, prowlers, shuttle runs etc.

Having said that, doing some longer workouts also works well, it will do you no harm to get at least one trail run, swim or biking session in per week.

I’ve also mentioned before that slowing down is important; things like yoga, walking or meditation can help you get where you want to be.

Step 4 – Stay consistent

You don’t need to dive into the deep end and go straight into making all of these changes overnight.

Start small and make the new steps become a habit over time.

Enjoy the process and accept that what you’re doing is part of working towards a better and healthier lifestyle.

“Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.