8 tips for achieving your goals

Group fitness and vitality

Here are my 8 tips for achieving your goals

1 – Enjoy your Exercise

How many of you actually enjoy the exercise that you do? If you do, that’s great! Sadly, though, a lot of people exercise because they feel they have to. It becomes a chore. Running on a treadmill for hours on end or forcing yourself to go to the gym. After time, your motivation can lack and you watch all your hard work go to waste.

You don’t have to be an exhausted, sweaty mess to get results. Although this can be good sometimes and intensity is important, the best exercise is the exercise you actually enjoy. You’ll be more likely to be consistent with your training and you’ll actually look forward to doing it.

For me, I love heading down to the harbour in the Summer and playing a good game of Kayak Netball. Now I know this is my job, but I genuinely love it! It’s a great, full-body workout with varying intensities and its loads of fun!

During Winter, the water can be a little cold, so I head to Jetts Fitness in North Sydney and enjoy a group workout with my regulars. This can include group Boxing classes and Jetts circuit training, and on warmer nights, we do outdoor Bootcamps and Run Clubs, leaving from the gym!

Find exercise that you enjoy and make it part of your life. It doesn’t have to be a chore.

2 – Ensure you are doing some form of resistance training

Strength training or “resistance training” is great for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. Now, for the girls, I’m not talking about getting big and bulky (unless that’s what you want), I’m simply talking about having strong, defined muscles and a toned and healthy body.

Don’t get me wrong, cardiovascular exercise definitely has its place in your exercise routine, but to prevent injury, increase bone mineral density and maintain a strong, healthy body, it’s important you include some resistance training in your routine.

Resistance training is also twice as effective for fat loss, if done correctly. Heading to the gym to lift some weights is highly effective, as is body-weight exercise and outdoor bootcamps that use “free-weights”. Some sports can also provide some resistance training to get you the results you want.

3 – Consistency is key

It’s important that you’re consistent with your exercise in order to get results. This brings me back to the whole “enjoy your exercise” point. If you feel unmotivated and take a week (or more!) off, it’ll be twice as hard to get results when you find the motivation to start again.

Get into a routine, yes, but also try and mix things up to challenge your body and keep things interesting. Try a new class at the gym, or a new outdoor group fitness class. Perhaps try a new sport or outdoor activity. Go kayaking or mountain biking, both great sports for upper and lower body resistance training. Jetts Fitness in North Sydney are now offering small group fitness classes, both in the gym and outdoors! These kinds of classes are great for motivation and team moral.

4 – Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

This should be a no brainer. We’ve all been told for years we should be getting 8 hours sleep per night, but how many of us do? Getting enough sleep is imperative to allow our brain and our bodies to rest and recover. It also plays a pretty big part in weight-loss. How many times have you reached for that extra cup of coffee or a sweet fix in the afternoon at work “just to get you through the day”? You then feel sluggish and skip your after work workout and get take-away on your way home because you’re too hungry to wait until you’ve cooked something. When you do finally go to bed, you’re too wound up on coffee and sugar, only to find you can’t sleep! Sound familiar? It’s a vicious cycle.

To make things worse, our hormones are also affected by lack of sleep.

The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin (the name always reminds me of the gremlins, who can’t eat after midnight), and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are deprived of sleep, you have more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.

So, generally, more ghrelin and less leptin means there’s a high possibility you’ll eat more, which means more weight gain.

Lastly, if you’re training hard and feeling fit, you don’t want to ruin it by having heavy bags under your eyes 😉

5 – You can’t out train a bad diet

You may have heard this before. It’s one of my favourite quotes. I find myself saying it to clients all the time. It doesn’t matter how much exercise you do, if you’re going home and over-eating bad food, you won’t see any results. Not many anyway.

Try and stick to the 80/20 rule. Be good 80% of the time and allow yourself to enjoy a pizza and beer night or a dessert, once in a while. Not every night, though. I’m certainly not good 100% of the time. I don’t pretend to be, but I do eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of variety. I also enjoy the occasional meal out and a glass of wine. I’m human, just like you. It’s still important to enjoy life. There’s nothing worse than becoming obsessed and depriving yourself. You’ll crack eventually, then you’ve got to deal with the blow-out and the guilt that follows. I’m sure most of us have been there, haven’t we?

6 – Do exercise that challenges you, but do it safely

So many people believe that exercise needs to be torturous and exhausting. They think being yelled at will help them get better results (I guess it can be motivating for some people). It doesn’t have to “kill” you every session. If you’re doing hours of exercise, every day to get results, but you’re too exhausted to cook dinner or socialise with your friends and family, you need to ask yourself if you’re getting the results you want. Is it sustainable? Perhaps if you’re training for a competition or sporting event, you have to put in the hours, but if it’s taking over your life and stopping you from enjoying yourself, you should think about changing your routine, so it’s more enjoyable and sustainable. Consistency and balance is important.

7 – Quality Over Quantity

You may not believe me when I say this, but 2-3 shorter, better quality workouts per week (coupled with a healthy diet) will give you better results than heading to the gym for an hour every day.

Don’t think about the time you put into an exercise program, think about the effort, the quality and the intensity.

In my group training sessions, we do high intensity interval training, such as tabatas and hill sprints. These sessions are 30-45 minutes long and we do them only a couple of times a week. On the other days we might do some boxing or a circuit class in the Jetts gym, kayaking on the harbour or go for a bush walk for active recovery.  All of these sessions are great fun and will get you better results in a shorter period of time. Doesn’t that sound appealing?

This brings me to my last point..

8 – Make sure you have a rest day

Exercise and nutrition is just as important as rest, sleep and hydration. It’s important, if you do a high intensity workout, that you give your muscles a day to recover and adapt to allow you to optimally train again in the future. This doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch, eating bad food. You can still go out and enjoy activities, but at a much lesser intensity.

Of course I’m going to recommend Social Kayaking as an active recovery activity 😉 others may include walking, swimming, yoga or simply playing catch in the park with your kids. I also recommend our cool-down and stretch area at Jetts. We have a new foam roller for your back, which is sure to iron out any clicks and cracks. Ask one of our Personal Trainers to show you how to use it.

Implement some of these strategies in your exercise routine and hopefully you’ll see and feel some positive results.

If you would like to try one of my Jetts Group Fitness classes, Kayaking sessions (either the Social Fitness Paddle or Kayak Netball), or one of my North Sydney Outdoor Group Training Sessions, jump online and book in! Jetts 24/7 Fitness in North Sydney offer very low rates and no lock-in contract, plus access to the gym anytime!

“The best way to predict your future, is to create it!”