January 17, 2019


The dos and don'ts of maintaining a sensible fitness plan in 2019

FOR MANY, JANUARY is a time to shoot for new goals — but many of us will fall off the wagon and go back to old ways and habits within a couple of weeks.

In this week’s article, I outline some of the dos and don’ts to help you maintain a sensible and sustainable approach in 2019.

The local gym just isn’t for you

Every year, we see an influx of people who sign up to membership for their local gym.

The allure of a special offer entices us to part with our money for a 12-month deal which looks like excellent value, but the reality is that many of us will hardly use it.

For some, the gym is the best place to achieve results but for others, it just doesn’t work.

There can be a number of reasons for this — you chose the wrong gym, perhaps fell for the so-called cheaper option, had little or no guidance on your fitness journey, became bored and your visit to the gym quickly became a chore.

Advice: It doesn’t have to be the local gym to sign up for. Choose your training venue wisely.

Don’t assume they are good just because they are affiliated with a certain franchise with all the fancy trappings. Having saunas, jacuzzis, flashy spin bikes and treadmills with built-in TVs may not be the best option when it comes to your goal of looking and feeling better.

The options are now endless and a lot more affordable, too.

Personally, I feel one of the best memberships you should look into this year is incorporating some form of outdoor activity into your exercise regime this year.

I am a huge fan of getting up into the Dublin/Wicklow mountains, as it can do wonders for your physical and mental — and best of all, it’s free.

If it didn’t work in 2018, it won’t work in 2019

A lot of the time we tend to see people chase down that same goal again each year and the majority of the time that really is to get in better shape, drop some weight or overall look and feel a bit better and healthier.

The bottom line is if the way you went about the previous year didn’t go to plan, then a similar approach for this year simply won’t work either. As Albert Einstein once said ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

Advice: What I suggest here is to sit down and look at the approach you took the last time and weigh up why it didn’t go as planned. Was it the avenue you went down, a lack of motivation, the unsustainable approach, the structure, or possibly boredom?

If your plan is to be successful it needs to be sustainable, realistic and something that you actually enjoy.

Going all in with the plan

We have all seen this approach. Going from bottom to the top or A to Z straight away, and this can be in relation to training and nutrition.

Going all in straight away simply won’t work. Sure, it’s great that you want to make that change and you have that goal in sight. But while it might work initially, this is a wholly unsustainable approach and you will invariably fall off the bandwagon and fall back to square one.

You often see people dive straight into workouts at a million miles an hour, while also cutting certain foods out of their diet, and adding in supplements they’ve seen advertised.

Doing all this instantly is simply asking too much in a short space of time and will only lead to burnout, injury and failure.

Advice: Take it one step at a time. Have the long-term goal in mind but go about the smart short-term important steps that really will get you places.

There really is no need to jump straight in and expect to hit the goal overnight. Your best bet is to ease back while making small, steady changes.

The bottom line is that there really is no quick fix, magic training programme, special fitness trainer or any wonder drug out there that is going to help you.

One of the main reasons I see people achieve their goals is because they followed a sustainable approach, stayed consistent and put in the right steps and work required.

Anyone can start on a new plan, or set a new goal, but not everybody will stick with it.

The journey sure is tough and no doubt there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way but consistency is key. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Making the change and taking the first steps is hard, uncomfortable and, for a lot of us, it’s something we perhaps don’t enjoy initially.

We now live in a world where we expect a lot from ourselves and it’s not right to fail,fall down or perhaps even start again. All of this pressure can get to us and force us to crack if we don’t stick to the regime.

If you do fall off the wagon with a missed workout or slip up with your food, it’s not the end of the world. Let it happen and get back on the horse.

Focus on the positives changes you have implemented into your 2019 regime and forget the one or two slip-ups that are likely to surface.

Advice: Reward yourself. If you are going to work hard on those new goals, then eventually rewarding yourself every now and then along the way is important. Smashing a new goal, staying consistent with the plan, hitting a milestone or simply achieving something new what you thought was impossible all deserves a moment for you to reward yourself with.

Think about new training gear, a break away or a night out at the end of the week. If you have worked for it, earned it and made it happen, then you deserve to treat yourself to something you want.

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