The New Year is commonly a time for turning over a new leaf and making improvements to aspects of your life that have been playing on your mind.
According to a survey carried out by YouGov, 48% of people who made New Year’s resolutions last year wanted to lose weight, while others wanted to exercise more, and eat healthier.
The biggest issue for many people is losing motivation when they meet difficult hurdles they must overcome at the beginning of the journey.
The Irish Mirror spoke with Conor Corcoran, Director and Head Of Performance at Collective Fitness to get some tips for anyone who wants to start things off on the right note in January 2022.
One of the most common things that hold people back when starting out, is the dreaded first day in a new gym.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of people, a lot of whom may be well into their own fitness and performance journeys.
So if that’s what’s playing on your mind in the run-up to your start date, Conor has some solutions.
“When you think about exercising, don’t think only of going to the gym,” he explained.
“Instead, think of exercise as any kind of movement or physical activity that gets your heart pumping.
“I would always advise people to start by doing something they enjoy and generally do it with people who are on a similar journey to them.
“Ideas like hiking, swimming, tennis, yoga, and so on are just a few things that go beyond stepping foot into a gym.”
He went on to say that there’s no need to throw yourself into the deep end and that “when you start to enjoy the process of getting healthier, then over time you can start to try new things and broaden your horizons.”
Stop comparing yourself to people online
Another hurdle that sometimes trips people up, is comparing yourself to those you see online.
Despite the vast array of editing and posing tricks, it can be easy to fall off the wagon when you’re reading about unrealistic results on social media or are basing your progress off someone else’s.
“Far too often people tend to compare themselves to others they see on social media. This is not where you want to start,” Conor warned.
“The key thing to remember here is that people are only showing their highlights and not the worst parts of their week.
“I was once told to be wary of those who only post still images of themselves and never have any video content. The reason is that images are much easier to filter & photoshop.”
The Dublin-based coach said “if you want to be realistic about your progress in 2022, then you need to start small and build on it.
“If weight loss is your goal, then a general rule of thumb is to lose 1-2 kilograms per month.
“Start on the lower end of the spectrum, because that’s an achievable goal, and once you achieve it, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and be more motivated to set higher goals for yourself.”
There is much more to achieve than just weight loss, “you can strive for a performance-related goal such as a 5k run, a personal best on a specific lift in the gym, or most importantly…never miss a workout (consistency is key).”
Heading to the gym for the first time
If the gym is the route you’ve decided to take, Conor recommends going with someone for support, and also to make sure you don’t end up with injuries while in the learning process.
“It’s important to get the support of people who can help you along the way, so don’t go it alone,” he said.
“A good idea would be to get some advice from a personal trainer or other fitness professional.
“They can help you get started and make sure you avoid injury. Everyone knows someone who is working in the fitness industry these days.
“Starting with a group or class is a good way to help you stay motivated. Make sure the class has no more than 10 people. The more people in the class, the less likely the coach will take time to correct your form.”
If the gym is just a ‘no-go’ for you
For some, the thoughts of heading to a busy gym simply cause too much anxiety and often encourages people to put off their goals.
“I would always advise people to do something they enjoy as a means of starting off on a health journey,” Conor says.
“I have found that the more you enjoy what you are doing, the better your effort will be and the more likely you are to do it well.
“Personally I have loads of clients at Collective Fitness who don’t use the gym at all and they are seeing great results.
“Some of them do hiking, climbing, cycling, horse riding, tennis and sailing.
“These are equally as tough as any gym session!”
Work weight loss into their everyday life
“It’s actually quite simple! Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit (basically you need to burn more calories than you eat) and increasing your activity levels.”
Here are some of the things Conor does:
- Walking when I’m on the phone with clients
- taking the stairs instead of the lift
- walking 2-3 bus stops further before getting the bus to work.
“Going back to the phone call idea, a typical call could last anywhere from 20-30 minutes, Imagine doing that 2-3 times per day!!
“When it comes to breakfast, eat more than you would if you weren’t restricting your calories.
“This will keep you full through lunchtime when most people feel hungry again.”
Key foods or habits to avoid after Christmas
Christmas is traditionally a time of indulgence, so Conor says don’t restrict yourself too much, and enjoy the holiday season – just make sure to get back on track when the celebrations end.
“While it’s important to be careful about what we eat during the holidays, I don’t think that food is the only important part of the season,” he said.
“I think we all need to embrace the Christmas period and recognise that nobody is going to be 100% in check when it comes to nutrition.
“I would rather my clients have an extra handful of sweets if it means sharing a cup of tea with loved ones and creating a memory that lasts a lifetime.
“On the other hand, as soon as the big day is over, try your best to cut back on the sugar.
“The typical daily allowance for females is 24g and males is 36g. So read the label on the back of the packet!
“Remember, carbs are not the enemy. Sugar is!”