Congratulations on taking your first step to a better you! You’ve just made a good investment in your health and fitness. Now what?
It is important to know that although you’ve hired a personal trainer, the success of your program highly depends on you. Hiring a personal trainer is not the ultimate solution to your health and fitness goals. Instead, a permanent change of a healthier lifestyle by eating right and being more active is the best solution for your lifetime goal – which is to be healthy and strong at any age; although you may have shorter goals such as to run your first half marathon, lose 5KG and so forth.
These are some things you should do, as you progress (no, I am not asking you to do everything in one go).
1) MIND YOUR MEALS
When it comes to diet, there are many radical diet plans and ideas that only cause confusion. Some are even dangerous! Diet is not about starving yourself. It’s about MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES. Here are some tips.
a) Eat more fruits (fruit juice is not counted) and vegetables (dark green and colourful vegetables are best).
b) Eat more lean white meat (chicken, fish, turkey, etc,) and lesser red meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.). Remove the fats or skin whenever you can.
d) Portion your meals. Try placing your food onto a single plate and finish what’s on the plate only.
e) Choose steamed, boiled, grilled, baked or pan fried over deep fried foods. If you see greasy food such as a layer of oil at the surface of a soup or curry, skim it away. Try to eat raw/steamed vegetables instead of frying them.
f) Choose medium to low GI carbohydrates as fuel. See link for a list of food that has a lower GI index. http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/
g) Minimize eating processed foods such as sausages, burger patties, fish balls and junk food. As a guide, anything that is factory made is usually processed.
2) DRINK MORE WATER
Hydrate yourself with plain water. Reduce consumption of sweetened drinks such as Limau Ice, Milo, fruit juices over the supermarket counter, cordial and sodas. Start with only drinking a glass of sweetened drinks a day and slowly reduce it to a glass every 2-3 days.
3) BE MORE ACTIVE
Having a Personal Training Session does not mean that you don’t need to do any form of exercises on other days. To enjoy health benefits, it is recommended that you do an easy to moderate exercise of 30mins, 4-5 days a week. If lack of time is a factor for you, you can exercise by being more active. Walk for lunch instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do more house chores and so forth. Otherwise, set a time to walk or a jog with your family or friends.
4) GET SOME SOCIAL SUPPORT
Let your friends or family know that you’re taking a positive step towards a healthier life. In fact, you should be proud of it. Join an exercise group or ask for support from your friends and family by asking them to join you for your walks. Be prepared to face some challenges down the road and having good social support helps.
Aim to achieve a minimum of 6-7 hours of quality sleep. Start developing good sleeping patterns by eliminating distractions. Your body gets stronger when you sleep.
6) KICK THE BAD HABITS
Start to quit smoking and drinking, gradually. Smoking has no benefits to health and although drinking alcohol may provide some health benefits, exercising and proper diet is more effective and safer. One gram of alcohol has 7 kcal and it will bring in that extra weight that you’re trying so hard to lose.
7) STAY POSITIVE
Although changes or improvements take time, know that positive things will happen. Also, starting a new habit can be difficult. There will be times where you might want to just give up. Always remember that whatever you’re doing now is for your own benefit and for your loved ones. Don’t settle to be the majority who are overweight, sickly and weak. Try keeping a health or activity journal if it helps.
I hope that these simple and straight forward tips will help you in your endeavour. Remember, living a healthy life is not confined to 3 or 6 months only. It is for a lifetime. All the best!