Having just browsed the national media sites, there’s so much noise and mixed advice when if comes to health and fitness, it might be less confusing entering Brexit negotiations.
Admittedly the majority of advice is pretty good, but nevertheless it seems to be a time when information outlets are just trying to shout over each other.
The health industry is strange in that everyone has at least a passing interest in their own health, regardless of how much skin you have in the game. with so many differing opinions and options, it's therefore no surprise individual perceptions on both exercise and nutrition vary greatly.
The vast majority seem to focus on how to start introducing exercise into your life. All very well, if there’s one best intervention for your overall health, it’s probably exercise.
From purely a weight loss or fat loss perspective though it’s perhaps a little misguided so here’s our ‘hot take’ to borrow a phrase.
As beneficial as exercise is, if your goal is changing your body composition then what enters your mouth is by far the biggest determinant, and that is largely a game of maths.
We say that not to detract from exercise but if we told you how few calories you expend, especially as a beginner you’d throw in the towel before even starting.
Anecdotally perhaps, this may be a reason people seem to pack in their resolutions after a fortnight.
Exercise, if you’ve no previous experience (sometimes even if you do) is difficult to instigate, by its very nature it requires effort to start and momentum to continue.
Evenings are dark and chilly and gyms tend to be at their busiest, neither the most inviting of environments at this time of year.
Who’s going to continue with anything if it involves a combination of a.) excessive suffering and b.) a lack of results.
That all sounds pretty depressing so far, but explaining this to our clients is our first step. If you know what to focus on…along with what sort of results to expect then you’re more likely to realise you’re on the correct path when you’d ordinarily ditch it.
So here’s a few things to do (and expect)
Give it time
Everything is moving quicker, everything is on demand but our physiology hasn’t changed. There are very real physical limitations on the amount of fat you can lose in a specific time period. Extreme diets skew this, with the majority of weight you lose on the scales a combination of fat, water, muscle, bulk in the digestive tract etc. rather than all fat.
Fix your sleep (and stress levels)
There’s now plenty of solid evidence regarding the importance of quality sleep, and the implication of its lack. We all know how to improve it, so as a first step to making better health decisions, fix this first.
Focus on strong and healthy rather than just lean
W.H.O. guidelines now include some form of strength training. Learn how to do that safely and effectively and bask in its benefits, both long term and short.
Make your nutrition approach simple
Eat like an adult. Have an awareness of, or track your caloric intake. Avoid poor food choices, opt for some form of protein at each meal, plenty of fruit and vegetables and try not to drink your calories. Those changes alone will yield you the majority of your results....that will hopefully last longer than January!