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To the Woman Who Hates the Gym: Do This Instead

ClientHere we are, the start of another year and you’re surrounded by ‘New Year New You’ messages everywhere you look.

You’re told it will be worth it, you’ll feel brilliant once you get used to it, there’s a woman just like you who stuck at it last year and look at her now!

This is supposed to encourage you.

You’ll be bombarded with a million ‘transformation’ images and wonder what magical formula these people followed.

This is designed to inspire you.

You’ll be told HIIT is the most effective form or fat loss, and energy balance is the key.

This is evidence to convince you.

And if you still need persuading lets wheel out the ‘Your health is a matter for national concern’ argument. Just Google Obesity Epidemic if you need further proof.
So will you please just get your big butt down to the gym and stop dawdling because you’ll never be a member of the #peachybutt tribe if you don’t start squatting right this minute.

Alternatively, before you go anywhere near a gym, I’m going to suggest the following.

1. Check your health status

If you haven’t exercised for a while or have any underlying medical conditions or injuries it’s important to find out if you need to take any special precautions. Your GP can give you the ‘all clear’ to exercise if you are unsure. Alternatively a qualified fitness professional will always carry out detailed pre-screening procedures to establish your health status to ensure exercise prescription is safe and effective.

2. Download a Fitness Tracking App

There are many fitness tracking apps that are free to download and easy to use. Use an app like ‘Map my walk’ or ‘Map my Ride’ to log daily activity. This is good way of increasing your awareness of how active or inactive you are. Over time you’ll also be able to compare one week to another, get a monthly tally and challenge yourself to improve week on week.

3. Walk a mile a day

Sounds simple but many people overlook this easily accessible activity. Walking can assist with weight management, promotes cardiovascular conditioning, and has been shown to be beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. A brisk one mile walk will take less than 20 minutes of your day, is free and can even be squeezed into a lunchbreak without requiring a change of clothes.

4. Rest and Relaxation

Are you getting enough sleep? Do you spend hours every day scrolling through social media? What do you do for relaxation? In our busy 24/7 constantly switched on lives many of us are sleep deprived. This inability to rest and sleep well is detrimental to your wellbeing, increases your risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and shortens life expectancy. Prioritise and promote good sleep hygiene by keeping to a regular sleep routine, create an evening curfew with electronic devices switched off at least 2 hours before you plan to sleep, avoid caffeinated drinks late afternoon and engage in activates known to promote better sleep, such as reading, gentle stretching, and meditation.

5. Hydration

Water plays a very important role in overall health, it transports things like nutrients and oxygen to cells and takes away waste products. It flushes important filtering organs such as the kidneys and liver and helps dissolve food and aids lubrication. Ensure you drink enough water throughout the day by switching sugary, calorie laden drinks and tea and coffee with water as much as possible. There is no scientific evidence to support the often quoted guidelines of consuming 8 glasses of water a day. The best method to assess your level of hydration is checking the colour of your urine. A handy guide and explanation to this can be found here

6. Ditch processed foods

Whilst physical activity is important for overall health, helping decrease the risk of developing many preventable diseases and conditions, the role that exercise plays in weight loss is often overestimated. If weight loss and reducing body fat is your goal then paying closer attention to your nutrition is vital. Where many people think about this in terms of deprivation and loss, instead I’m going to recommend you think about all the beneficial foods you can ADD to your diet, which will leave no room for the things that aren’t so great for you. There’s a very simple method of assessing something’s nutritional value, and that’s by acknowledging that food in its natural state is going to retain more of the stuff that’s good for you and less of the stuff that’s not so good. So if you can’t picture your food growing in a field or walking around in it then its most likely processed. More detailed guidelines on weight loss and management can be found here

7. Complete a home workout

You don’t need a gym or even a huge range of equipment to improve your fitness, increase strength, or get in shape. There are numerous exercises you can complete in the comfort of your own home. If you don’t know where to start then check out my tips in January’s edition of the Healthy Food Guide, The Fastest Fat Burners for any age – In your 40’s and 50’s. You’ll also find a beginners strength workout guide here

Sometimes it’s really hard to know where to start, so I hope you find these tips helpful. For more detailed one-to-one support then please feel free to email me at hello@jacquelinehooton.co.uk