October 17, 2017


5 tips to help you achieve your fitness goals

LET’S FACE IT, the fitness industry is booming.

There are gyms on practically every street corner and we now have so much access to a variety of services to help us get in shape — but more often than not I see misleading information guiding people down the wrong paths.

Trends come and go and the truth is that almost everyone in fitness is trying to sell you something; a product, a programme, a diet pill or a magic quick-fix. Very rarely someone tries to sell you the truth.

So this is what this piece is for.

Leaving all the nonsense aside and focusing on five key areas that are proven to help you in achieving your fitness goals, whatever they may be.

You don’t need high intensity all the time

High intensity or increased volume and load are now the only and best way to train it seems.We are encouraged to push our bodies to the limit in every almost workout until we can’t go any further.

Blood, sweat and tears will, apparently, determine how good and effective that particular workout was and how sore you are the following morning is also considered as a marker.

The fitness industry will constantly sell you intensity as this essential ingredient for success but believe it or not the best way to get the best results is listening to your body more and doing things that you might actually need to work on at that particular day.

Focusing on quality will keep you on track and will lessen the risk of burnout, fatigue or even loss of interest. Don’t get me wrong intensity is not always bad and that it should feature in parts of your training programme but also change things up and that leads me into the next point.

Variety is good

The best approach is to be well rounded and your programme should cover a broad range of areas.

By varying your training, it keeps things fresh and challenging as well as keeping it fun; constantly repeating similar sessions may not necessarily be getting you closer to your target.

A good example of a well structured training template is one that first assesses your mobility which should highlight areas to work on then possibly having a good emphasis on strength/resistance training, core work along with different variations of conditioning work.

Have a realistic approach to your nutrition

Let me start by re-emphasising that I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or am not affiliated with any supplement store or brand. Nutrition can often be a minefield and in the last ten years of working in the fitness industry I have seen fat-loss fads and different myths leading people down the wrong path; diets, quick fixes, magic pills and certain supplements.

The bottom line is moderation wins and having a realistic balanced approach is something that can’t be beaten. 80% of the time, just eat real food; fresh meat, fish, green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds while allowing yourself to let loose a little with foods which should be eaten in moderation.

Eating 100% ‘clean’ is a path that is actually quite unnecessary and has proven to lead to a crash and binge down the line. So go have those beers, that pizza or ice cream, but just don’t overdo it.

Don’t guess, assess

‘If you are not assessing then you are really only guessing’ is a quote I use quite a lot when working with new clients.

Most new clients initially come though my doors having been chasing goals in the past but not necessarily always hitting them or staying on the right track.

The main reason for that is they need to asses what needs the most work. Is it their nutrition, their training plan or perhaps even their overall structure of their lifestyle?

There could be many reasons and this is perhaps where a trainer can step in and add in some expertise and knowledge with the hope it can only help you get closer to reaching your goals.

Generally speaking I like to measure and assess clients every six to eight weeks in most areas. This could be anything from a bodyfat test, keeping a food diary for a week, retesting a benchmark workout, or working off an eight-week strength programme and then retesting your old one rep max.

Nothing comes easy

There are no shortcuts and more than likely for anyone who has a challenging goal they want to achieve then it won’t come easy. Nothing is easy to achieve and if it is you haven’t set your goals properly.

We are constantly being told about quick fixes but if it’s too good to be true then it probably is. Making positive changes to your physical and mental health all comes down to hard work, consistency and patience. It won’t come easy within 14 days and if it does it’s 100% not sustainable in the long run.

You can’t beat the basics — patience, hard work and consistency. It may be boring but it’s true.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send me a direct message here.