If you always do what you’ve always done…

So you religiously hit the gym, in fact you increased it to every day for an hour or more but you’re not seeing the result you used to – it’s frustrating, de-motivating and makes you want to give up. Well, give up, not permanently, but for a week.

Rest up, take a look at your usual routine and see what you can do to shake it up. If you go to the same classes, and do the same gym routine every week for weeks (let alone months or years!) then your body isn’t being challenged in the same way it was when you first started your training routine. With most classes the routines should change every few weeks, so if you love the class and feel like you got a good work out then keep it, if you don’t – give it up. Try getting a programme written and reviewed frequently for the gym, maybe book some personal training sessions just to help you get back on track.

Work harder not longer. Cut out the stuff you really hate – don’t do the extra spinning class if you can’t stand it. Mix up your sessions with cardio and weights. Don’t stick with it too long. Results will soon come with a few simple alterations – you don’t need to be at the gym/class every single day. And of course – look at your diet! One does affect the other

Calories or Portions?

So often there are debates on calories counting versus portion control. Isn’t it a case of both? If you know what a healthy portion looks like then that’s great, but is it that simple for everyone? Counting calories to start with might be time consuming, but it will help you put together a healthy meal of the appropriate size – and that gives you portion control.

It’s what works for you – some people like the ‘scientific’ process of analysing calories and then breaking that down further to counting macros , others prefer visual guides – like the eatwell plate. Find what works for you – that is the surest way to stick to a plan and learn how to monitor the quantity you eat (most people underestimate). Food diaries can take this a step further. .

If I could walk 500 miles…..I’d still have a long way to go!

I decided in May that I would start a challenge that everyone else started in January, to walk 1000 miles in one year. It isn’t for charity, to win a prize or any kind of kudos, it’s just because I can and I like walking. There are days I like walking less – like when you forget to clock up the miles you’ve done so that day has to be a zero. Yes, I have done that a few times – you’d think you’d learn after the disappointment of doing it once! Apparently not.

What this challenge (and the many I have done before it), has shown me, is that I like a challenge – just small ones, I find they show me things about myself I would not have otherwise noticed. They can reinforce positive thoughts and therefore, behaviour. For example, I took part in the RNLI H2Only challenge earlier this year. I naively thought that since I don’t drink a lot of caffeine, no fizzy drinks and the occasional alcoholic drink, that it would be quite simple to drink only water for 10 days. Not so, I found it tough, but I also noticed how good I felt, I slept well, my skin looked great, and I felt ‘light’ ‘clean’ – just by changing my usual decaf drinks to water. No expensive ‘cleanse’ or strict ‘detox’ required.  It has made me focus on drinking more water, but I have slipped in some other options too – no one is perfect!

This walking challenge has also highlighted small health benefits, how hard some days it is to make the magic 10,000 steps, when you’re in an office all day, sometimes it’s quite an effort to get out and do the miles. Other days I just walk instead of taking the bus, I get my chores done but also the miles too – win/win..

So I would urge anyone to give a small challenge a go, you don’t need to sign up for a marathon, or the latest fad diet, just something to test yourself a little – who knows,you could find it makes a bigger impact than you could imagine!

I am off for another walk…..