I’ve always hated the idea of a summer body; I’d far rather have a forever body - that means developing good, sustainable habits.
This is something I learned the hard way. But what I have also learned is that it’s never too late to make a change.
You’re never too old and you certainly do not have to wait until January to act on your resolution to adopt some healthy habits.
When I made up my mind to make a change, I was 38 and heavily overweight and had resigned myself to being uncomfortable and unfit for the rest of my days.
But something clicked and by the time I celebrated my 39th birthday last year, I was feeling thirty-fine! Losing 36kg in that first year was due to hard work and dedication - and having a support team around me.
Among those on this team is my personal trainer, Romeo Brand, who will share some tips for those who would like to get into an exercise regimen but don’t know where to start.
Something many people do not think of when they step into a gym is what the best kind of training is for them and how to match their goals with a suitable training programme.
On this, coach Romeo advises to clearly outline your objectives and to be realistic about them. “We miss the mark so many times by aiming too high and then becoming despondent,” he says. “I advise aiming for a 500g to 1kg loss per week. It may seem like nothing, but start adding up those numbers and you have a rolling stone that keeps on moving toward 4kg per month which is 16kg in four months. That’s a major difference. The killer of most of our goals is our impatience.”
Often, particularly when one starts seeing results, gyming can become addictive and many of us don’t know when to take a break - or don’t want to.
“I like to suggest one day on, one day off,” says coach Romeo. “Once the central nervous system takes a knock it is extremely difficult for recovery and to perform workouts optimally. You are always running on less than full capacity. This ability will decrease slowly and people often end up with over-training syndrome.”
Particularly important, he says, is to avoid training when you’re ill.
“Rather take a break for three days than to be forced to stay away for three weeks or three months.” Exercise and rest are only part of the puzzle. More important is what you’re eating. During summer we tend to prefer lighter meals. If you stick to seasonal foods, you’ll find it’s easier to reduce your calorie intake without too much effort.
Of course as the weather brightens, so too do our moods and we’re more likely to want to spend more time outside. So, why not spend this time getting your body moving? Go for jog, a walk or a hike in the mountains. Exercising outside is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health too. Remember, however, to take care of your safety, so recruit some pals to join you.
Over the next 12 weeks I’m going to start training for my first 10km race with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. Watch this space and follow @editedeating on social media for more.