Wigan fitness ace on keeping up those healthy new year resolutions
With 2022 now well under way – and people pursuing their new year resolutions – many flock to the gyms in the hope of a healthier and more active new year.
After an indulgent Christmas comes a fresh start and a fresh opportunity for self-development, meaning motivation is high.
But after a month or so that initial high can give way to boredom, fatigue and burn-out – leading to a regular and huge drop-off in attendance from February.
Making the right decisions, however, and learning to enjoy exercise can turn it from a chore into a hobby, providing a platform for an active and healthy lifestyle.
Terri Barter, a personal trainer at Force Fitness in Wigan, has seen the January influx all too often and has some great tips for sticking to those resolutions.
“Just be realistic,” she said. “Start off with maybe three sessions a week and go every other day. Allow your body time to recover because it is going to ache.
“Even if you can start by just getting 10 to 12,000 steps in a day, you’ll feel a massive difference in your mood. By physically going out and getting your steps in it’ll be a bit of headspace - so mental awareness comes into it.
“Just by going out on an evening or getting your steps in every hour by going for a walk around the house, you’ll go from maybe 4,000 to 10,000 which is quite a big difference. So, you’re going to be burning calories without even thinking about it really.”
It’s just as important to pair exercise with a healthier lifestyle, but while most people turn to fad-diets and huge calorie restrictions, Terri again emphasised the notion of control and moderation.
She said: “Eat clean. Anyone that starts with me, the first few weeks I say don’t panic about hitting your calories or going on this big 500 [calorie] deficit.
“Just focus on eating clean and drinking two litres of water a day.
“When we’ve cracked that and that becomes natural, and you’re going into a shop and picking up fruit and veg rather than going for a sandwich and a pack of crisps, then we’d start introducing the calorie counting and the deficit. It’s not all too much at once then.
“I’d always say maybe every two to three weeks try and give yourself a little treat.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that your ‘treats’ have to be really bad.
“A protein pancake is still a nice treat, but it feels like you’re having a pancake with whatever you want on top of it.
“Or if you’re having a pizza, make your own pizza and have it on a wrap so you’re not having all that dough but have that as a treat night.”
Another great way to keep those motivation levels high is to set goals. Setting yourself a target of losing a certain amount of weight or running a distance can give you something to work towards.
But they can also seem very daunting during the first few weeks, and when instant improvement doesn’t happen as you’d hoped, it can be really demoralising.
Terri stressed the importance of goal-setting, but agreed that setting huge, long-term goals – while great to push you forward – can prove overwhelming.
“With your goals,” she added. “I always think mini-goals. Every week do three mini-goals, and that can be something really simple like hitting 10,000 steps a day or training twice a week.
“Don’t just set this big goal that in a month you want to lose a stone because how are you going to get to losing that stone? You need to set mini-goals to get to your big goal.
“Because then if you hit them little stepping stones you feel really good whereas if you’re slogging away for two months to hit this big goal, you’re probably going to lose your motivation.
“If you’re hitting little mini-goals every week then you’re staying motivated and it’s positive, you’re going to be able to achieve that goal quicker and better.”
Starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can prove incredibly overwhelming and the amount of information online can wear you out before you’ve even put your trainers on.
But Terri gave key bits of advice for everyone to start with: “Get your routine, write it down and have it somewhere visible, three gym sessions and one outdoor session – ie a walk or something – and try to get a family member or a friend to join with you because if you’re having a terrible day and don’t want to go then it’s likely they’re going to say ‘no come on lets go’.
“You’re in it together then.”
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