Some people will make any excuse not to exercise during their busy working week, but accommodating a workout is easier than you think! Just a few minor lifestyle changes can make a major difference to your clients’ physical and mental wellbeing.
In the second part of our two-blog series, we interviewed four fitness professionals to get their top tips on fitting exercise around work.
Mary Huckle, founder and director of Breakthrough Fitness, London
Mary has been a personal trainer for 12 years and founded Enfield-based Breakthrough Fitness in 2005. During her career, Mary has successfully overcome breast cancer and still teaches today.
Get your workout gear ready the previous evening
It’s fair to say exercise is never at the top of most people’s priorities and lack of motivation is possibly the most common excuse for not doing it. One thing I’ll always suggest to clients who lack motivation is to prepare their workout clothes the night before, right down to their underwear. It takes away the hassle of trying to figure out what you’re going to wear – try it and tell me it doesn’t work.
It’ll be like wearing a uniform – once you have it on you’ve undergone a psychological change. This is exactly what donning workout clothes does for you – you’ll feel instantly more energetic and therefore more likely to exercise.
Find a workout buddy
If you seriously lack motivation, you could work out with a friend, so that you’re making yourself accountable to someone else. The idea is to encourage the other person when they make excuses or vice versa! This system comes in especially handy during early morning or evening sessions in the winter, when it’s dark and cold.
Sign up for a charity event
This is an almost failproof way of getting your exercise mojo back. Just knowing that you’re competing in a charity event and friends and family are sponsoring you is an instant game changer. Suddenly, it’s not just about you, it’s about a worthy cause and achieving something that others will be proud of. You can stay focused and be in the zone.
Fit exercise around your kids and pets
If you have children or pets, you have no excuses for not getting outdoors. You can take the kids to the park on their bikes while you do a brisk walk or jog alongside them to raise your heartbeat. If you live along the coast, why not take them to the seaside for the day and get plenty of walking in? Walking on sand is harder than walking on pavement and you’ll use different muscles, while improving your balance.
They say man’s best friend is a dog, but I’d say women’s is too! Owning a dog not only lowers your blood pressure just by stroking it, but if you take your pooch out for regular ‘walkies’ you’ll be keeping both of you moving. If you work, then take him/her out for an early morning stroll or run to set you up for the day ahead
Karen Lanson, personal trainer and founder of fitness website Funky Fitspiration
Karen has worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 years and set up the online platform Funky Fitspiration at the start of 2016. She is also a dancer, nutritionist and pilates instructor.
Eat your fruit and vegetables – and treat them with care
You’ve heard it before, but it’s extremely important to get your five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Preferably they should be raw, as heat compromises their nutritional value. An easy way to do this is to whizz up a smoothie (try freezing fruits to avoid waste) or enjoy a fresh salad.
Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables which are bursting with flavour and choosing organic options are sure-fire ways of improving overall health.
Plan your nutrition carefully and avoid temptations
Organisation is the key to success. Plan your weekly meals in advance, cook them in batches and take them into work to avoid being caught out and making poor food choices. This will also help you save money in the long run. A weekly cheat day is acceptable and keeps most people on track, as they don’t feel like they’re depriving themselves. It can also kickstart your metabolism into burning more fat in some cases.
Undereating, leaving long gaps between meals or lacking in either macro (carbs, protein, fat) or micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients can wreak havoc with a person’s health. Free fitness app MyFitnessPal enables you to log your daily food intake, to ensure you’re enjoying a balanced diet.
Set sustainable targets
Setting small goals and achieving them is a great way to maintain focus and boost confidence. Progress can be monitored by taking progress pictures or weighing yourself every two weeks.
But don’t get too hung up on this, as muscle weighs more than fat. You want to make sure you’re not losing lean muscle tissue. Research also shows that the faster weight comes off, the faster and more likely it is to go back on. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a fad.
Josh Shenton, a personal trainer at Elite Physique, Telford
Josh has been training for 11 years and a personal trainer for nine years. Despite undergoing reconstructive surgery on both knees and his left elbow, Josh is still going strong and is a senior trainer at Elite Physique.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they have to train at a high intensity for long periods of time to achieve their objectives – but training smart doesn’t necessarily mean training long. You can train long or hard, but you can’t do both. Make your workout short, hard and effective with high-intensity exercises.
A great example of this is Tabata training, which includes exercises such as squat jumps, burpees and mountain climbers. This Japanese training method involves 20 seconds of working out as hard or fast as you can, followed by 10 seconds rest. This process is repeated eight times, which works out at only four minutes. If you can’t push yourself to carry out four minutes of exercise, you don’t want to get fit enough. It’s that simple.
Avoid ready meals and eating out
Ready meals and fast food tend to be full of hydrogenated fats. These tend to ‘stick’ in the blood circulation, becoming oxidised and contributing significantly to cardiovascular disease and cancer. The enzymes in our bodies aren’t designed to break down these fats, which means that you’re most likely to be storing them. Not only does this build fat around your organs, increasing the risk of disease – it makes you look fatter. So put that microwave meal or McDonald’s down!
Imogen Curry, personal trainer and marketing manager at Avail London
Imogen has been a personal trainer for three years and her main areas of expertise are fat loss and nutrition.
Figure out what time of day you’re most efficient and stick to it
Everyone is different when it comes to their daily functionality. I would suggest giving each time of day a trial for a week and seeing how you feel at the end of each workout and each week. Remember, it can take your body a while to settle into a routine. Just because you struggled to get up on the first morning, it doesn’t mean the morning isn’t the time for you. Once you have decided on a workout pattern, stick to it. This will help you plan your work and social life around it and still ensure you get your planned exercise in.
Choose flexible workouts that can be done quickly almost anywhere
They may be the latest fitness ‘fads’ but short workout techniques such as HIIT and Tabata are a great way of working your body to its maximum in a short space of time, and you can do them pretty much anywhere and with no equipment if necessary. All you do is download one of the timer apps and you can get going.
Some easy exercises I recommend for people doing it at home or in their garden are jump squats, burpees, skipping, press ups or ab crunches. Either focus on one body part a day or combine it into a whole body workout that can be repeated two or three times a week.
Reading these tips should help you spur your clients into action and help them overcome any exercise-related qualms they might have. However, if anyone suffers an injury or illness following your advice, it’s essential you’re covered by Public Liability Insurance.
Provided you have a certified nutrition qualification as part of your personal training course, you are also protected by Insure4Sport if a client suffers an unfortunate incident following advice or instruction you give relating to diet or nutrition.
We even offer Professional Indemnity Insurance policies to protect you from legal action, and you can create a tailored personal trainer insurance policy to only pay for the cover you need.