Is this the year you’re determined to get fit? If so, then as well as finding a sense of commitment, you also need to find patience. And a trainer dedicated to helping you, not selling a product. It’s all too easy to jump on a fitness bandwagon and fall off it weeks later. Avoid being in the 80% of gym members who leave within weeks by beating the fitness buzzwords.
Here’s a few other things to consider.
Beat the buzzwords
If you’re trying to get fitter, be healthier or lose weight the chances are you’ll start to hear certain phrases. Things like intermittent fasting, HIIT training, low intensity cardio, circuits and met con training will start to become familiar. Once you start paying attention to your diet you’ll become familiar with words like low carb, low fat, high protein, juicing, insulin resistance and ketogenic diet. It can be quite overwhelming.
The point of me listing these is not to fill the quota for my word count, but to try and bring some clarity to the average person looking for the best way to get fit.
At the moment the fitness industry is booming and buzzwords like those above sell. None are incorrect, to the contrary, they all work quite well. But industry experts are using them based on what’s currently in fashion. Trainers want you to buy into their industry. They are selling a product.
These approaches do work, but if you take out the fashionable methods, what exactly will work for people who want to lose weight, get fit and be healthy? What’s the best approach?
Treat the individual
What is often overlooked is the individuality of the client. Each person is different, right? You have heard this statement before, but what does it mean? Let’s start with the data. Around 20% of Irish people are members in a gym. From that number, 80% of these people are non-adhering gym goers. This means that these people will habitually join a gym and leave a gym on a regular basis and never truly stay active.
They are inexperienced, in need of assistance, self-conscious, demotivated and highly uncomfortable in a gym environment. The buzz words above will rarely apply to the 80%, as the main issue for them is not what method to choose, but trying to commit to a gym for more than a 6-week period. Gymtimidation and lack of information all contribute to people leaving, as do trainers using these buzzwords before the client is ready.
Patience is a virtue
Let’s play one of these people out in our head. Imagine Mary, she is 46 years old, has 2 kids and a full-time job. Mary’s only view of the fitness industry is looking at TV, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter etc. Mary sees fit people, chiselled abs, pictures of food better suited to the rabbit, and a lot of demotivating quotes saying things like: “Stop making excuses and start getting results.”
For Mary, her view of fitness reinforces how far she is away from what she considers fit. For the record, the fit people we see on social media are the top 1%. The reality is that being fit has now been categorized as looking like the top 1%, which is not true. You can be fit and healthy without having a six-pack and this is the message we need to convey. These mediums also promote quick, easy results, by using one of these highly sellable and in-fashion buzzwords that worked for them. Mary is not them though!
What Mary needs is patience. Patience in a world where we want things done yesterday. It takes time to rewire your habits and patience is the magic word. Ideally, we trainers would love for the client to regularly do resistance and cardio training. Control their intake of calories and eat the best sources of nutritious food. This is the magic formula to all health and fitness benefits. What we do as trainers though is give in to the modern pressure of society, to deliver results and deliver them fast. This forces the trainers towards the buzz words and ultimately towards failure for the client.
Focus on the means
If you are a client or a trainer, I encourage you to have patience. Focus on the means and not the end. To slowly learn how to make the right choice of food and understand what’s going in to your body. Realise that you can have your favourite food in moderation. To have the self-awareness to know that learning to exercise takes time and miracles seldom happen overnight. Ultimately to know that whatever plan you start on, if you can’t see yourself sticking to it for more than 6 weeks, is it really the right plan for you??
Luke Heapes is the Fitness and Product Development Lead for Aura Leisure. For more information visit auraleisure.ie