Fitness is not just for January…

Don’t be a Karen this January.

I would like to introduce you to two people

Kevin and Karen. Husband and wife, they have both decided that 2022 is going to be the year they make a change to their wellbeing and health and finally get fit for good!

Both of themhave joined a gym and are on a healthy eating programme.

Lets have a look at what a normal week looks like for them both.

Kevin trains 4 times a week, a equal balance of cardio and weights, he loves early morning cycle classes and circuits to get his cardio and HIIT training in.

He then does strength and conditioning style sessions along with eating a balanced diet of protein carbs and fats. He loves a protein bar after a workout and find these are a great way of getting his sweet fix when he gets peckish too.

He has a office based job so is very aware he doesn’t always get his 10k steps most days but is okay with that as he loves to take the dog for a walk at the weekends and end up at the pub with the other dads from rugby.

Most weekends he will have a couple of pints but doesn’t go crazy like he used to.

Karen is also training 4 times a week but she is doing double the amount of exercise in each session.

She has decided that she will do both strength and cardio everytime she is in the gym meaning her sessions are normally around one, to one and a half hours long.

She has decided to cut out carbs, not drink any alcohol, walk 15k steps a day and go on a juice detox for the first two weeks of January.

Whilst the dads are at the pub after the rugby karen has also started coach to 5k as she wants to do as much as she can in January to give her the biggest loss within the mums at school.

So, lets fast forward to April, 4 months into kevin and Karen’s lifestyle changes.

Kevin has lost 2 stone so far, he has only lost 1-2lbs per weekbut he has seen a complete change in his sleep as he is now getting better quality rest, he feels energised and loves the new balance he has found in his life. He also knows its been such a god send for his young children to see him active and healthy as they have even asked if they can do some fitness like you dad!

Karens story and results are a little different.

In January she lost over a stone, February wasn’t so good being only 2lbs in the whole month. Come March, she had to stop all cardio as she had an injury to her ankle which the physio said was from over training and the fact she wasn’t eating enough carbohydrates to fuel her workouts and no where near enough protein to help build up her muscle mass.

Her sleep has got worse due to feeling stressed and constantly hungry, she ended up reaching for crap quality snacks and food for convenience rather than health, due to this she was not well rested what so ever and her sleep had got worse. Due to the complete U turn in her training and lifestyle she has ended up putting on two stone by April, so is now way worse off than she was in January.

So what can we learn from Kevin and Karen…

January is a time we all like to set goals and 90% of the UK will decide they need to do something about health, wellbeingand fat loss. If you are one of those people lets think about these four takeaways from the examples above.

1. Slow and steady is always best- changing your lifestyle is just that CHANGE. You need to be patient and kind to your body. Its much more likely you will get results if you can be consistent. Try not to be overly drastic with changes and prioritise one thing at a time. If you do not do any exercise currently, going for 2-3 sessions a week is a huge step in the right direction, your body will change over time with these small changes. It’s the same with your diet, if you prioritise balance, you will see changes slowly but they will be easier to maintain. Cutting out a complete food group or dropping your calories drastically low will end up in your body “craving”. Or having a binge mentality constantly putting you on the back foot and never being consistent in your approach.

2. Exercise and recovery should be equal. Your body is a tool, you cant expect it to train ridiculously hard all the time and not recover. You will never get stronger, fitterand healthier if you do not prioritise recovery your body will end up failing you. Recovery doesn’t just mean rest, it means ensuring you have the correct balance in your training, not over training doing so much that your just going to end up with injuries. This also includes your diet, are you eating enough to fuel your workouts and ensuring your body is functioning correctly for the amount of stress your training is causing? Just take a moment to think about this, as its much better for you to do this correctly then end in injury or burn out.

3. Balance is key. You do not want to end up in a vicious cycle of binge and restrict. You should include and account for social occasions, your favourite wine and chocolate and also not missing out. If you end up restricting yourself so much you will also end up binging and going over and above what you need. Have a little bit of what you love often that it doesn’t feel like you have stopped yourself and then you will not fall into a vicious cycle of binge and restrict.

Just remember, the lesson we are trying to teach you here is that fitness and health isn’t just for January. The people who have “transformed” make it a lifestyle change and are consistent for longer than a month. Slow and steady wins the race and it can be a much more enjoyable experience for you whilst working on your lifestyle.