The week between Christmas and New Year always feels like a bit of a lull where nobody’s too sure what to do. This is usually where we reflect on the year gone by and get ready to turn the page and start a new chapter. This is actually a great time to focus on you and prepare yourself for the New Year so you begin 2021 ready to go and don’t feel that you need to make massive sweeping changes. In some ways, the pandemic is making things easier by forcing us to have a quieter Christmas and New Year so perhaps making changes won’t feel as overwhelming as usual?
This week, I’m writing a series of posts on the 4 elements that I believe you need to have in place in order to achieve your goals and avoid any resolution failure disappointment. These 4 elements underpin my philosophy to coaching my clients, based on everything I’ve learned from 20 years in the fitness industry and I believe need to be in harmony to achieve success. They are Recharge, Nourish, Active and Focus. I’ve already written about Recharge and Nourish and today, I want to talk about Active.
What is Active?
I prefer to use the term ‘active’ rather than ‘exercise’ as from the people I’ve spoken to this year, most felt ‘exercise’ was hard work and something they needed to do. Active, to me, means:
- Our total daily activity
- Something we look forward to doing
- Training with a purpose
Our total daily activity
We don’t move as much as we used to and even less so since we started working from home during the pandemic. This means that all activity we do has to be deliberate so there’s less of the activity you’d get from walking from the car park to your office, walking around the office or outdoors to get a coffee or something for your lunch then going back to the car to go home. It also means that by moving less, we stiffen up.
One thing I have seen this year is people walking or running more because they’re not commuting. It was great to see so many people getting outside walking and running when the first lockdown began in March and we were all encouraged to get outdoors for an hour’s exercise per day.
Fitness is changing and that recognised workouts are no longer enough to help us achieve our goals. I believe there’s a growing demand to improve our mental health as much as our physical health. I think getting outdoors for a walk or a run, along with doing things like housework and home improvement jobs all help us get to where we want to be.
Something we look forward to doing
My Dad taught me that exercise should be enjoyable and something you look forward to doing. Being the rebellious son and wanting to run faster or lift heavier etc, I didn’t pay too much attention at the time. As a trainer, I’ve since learned the value of this especially when I’m looking for clients to practice exercises between sessions!
I want to inspire my clients to make being active part of who they are, something they look forward to doing and the driving force behind all the amazing things they do rather than a means to an end.
For me, going for a run this year has been much more pleasurable when I’ve been able to enjoy views like this as much as trying to run at a certain pace.
Training with a purpose
I believe in training with a purpose, towards a bigger goal that may not seem possible for you right now. The fitness industry has always been about building your base fitness then maybe do more towards your actual goal. I work the opposite way round and coach people to move better for what they want to achieve then build their fitness from there. As more and more people are moving less, they’re a lot stiffer and have less range of movement, this approach has been hugely effective.
It doesn’t matter if the goal is to run a marathon, change your body shape, be able to move away from back pain or to simply feel better about yourself again, it’s good to have a clear idea on where you want to be. I work with my clients to identify what’s important to them, what they’d love to be able to do and how they want to feel then work back the way to identify the steps to get there.
When you have a clear goal then everything else becomes easier as you know exactly where you’re going and it becomes a matter of WHEN you achieve your goal rather than IF. I’ll talk more about that in Focus.
Many people struggle with exercises like squats and press ups and become demotivated if they don’t feel like they’re getting any better at them. What I’ve noticed is by helping clients to move better as a starting point, they notice a difference when doing normal daily tasks as well as some of the things they want to be able to do. When that happens, confidence grows and you want to go and do even more and see what else you can achieve.
It’s a pleasure to see the energy that comes from clients when this happens and seeing how much it means to them.
It’s not necessarily the ‘killer’ workouts, how heavy the weights you lift or how fast or far you run that make the biggest difference. Depending on where you’re at, doing some form of housework every day and getting 10,000 steps a day could be more effective than a Kettlebell or HIIT workout. Everything you do on a daily basis, the places you visit, the things you see, the people you share these experiences with, the things you discover you can do that you couldn’t do before and most importantly, how good it makes you feel that makes the difference.
When that happens, anything IS possible!
How do you feel about exercise or being active? What does exercise mean to you?