There is no ‘perfect’ scenario for anyone to get into shape, says Jamie

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to cover this week.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 12:12 pm

Previously I’ve talked about dieting, exercise and how to live a healthier lifestyle, and for those of you currently trying your best to lose some weight, eat better food and exercise more frequently, I hope these articles are super beneficial.

But today I want to reach out to those of you who are at the stage where they think that they are a lost cause. The readers out there who have tried every diet out there, only to find themselves back at their starting weight, (or worse). Those of you who are scared of the gym, that thinks everyone will stare at them and worries that they don’t know what to do, so why even bother.

Where many will have dreams of ripped abs and bulging biceps, I want to help those with aspirations of feeling comfortable in that tight pair of jeans, be able to walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air and hopefully feel a bit more comfortable in their own skin.

There is no perfect scenario for anyone to get into shape. You don’t have to be a certain weight or a certain age. You can be a complete beginner or someone who hasn’t entered a gym for 20 years. You may not know how, you will certainly make lots of mistakes, but the best time to take action is now.

Many people are defeated before they even start and this all comes down to the perception of what it actually takes to become healthier, fitter and stronger. But what does it take? I’m sure many people imagine getting into shape is a gruelling 24 hour, seven days a week process. You hit the gym every day, eat nothing but broccoli and dry chicken, have zero fun at weekends and starve yourself to sleep every night.

If that’s your perception of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ no wonder you are happy keeping things the way there are. Who in their right mind would ever choose to live their life in the most boring and bland way possible.

Thankfully losing weight and feeling more confident doesn’t have to be painful and gruelling. in fact, when done properly it can be pretty enjoyable with the rewards addictive and life-changing.

But where do you start? I like to teach the basics of a healthier lifestyle with the acronym SECS - Sleep & Hydration; Exercise; Calories & Nutrition; Steps.

Making positive changes in each of these categories can make a significant change to your body shape and motivation. I’m going to cover each step and how you can make easy tweaks for a more active, healthy lifestyle.

Sleep and Hydration - How much sleep do you get? and how much water do you drink? Two questions that many don’t know the answer to and two areas which most people need to improve on. Being sleep deprived will leave you feeling hungry and demotivated. It has been proven that those who have insufficient sleep will feel less satisfied after consuming a meal and will be hungry again much quicker than those with a good nights kip. I understand some people struggle with sleep (young children, medical reasons) but for those who sit up watching TV all night and live off four hours of sleep, there is no surprise you are starving the next day with no energy to train. Another quick tip for the caffeine lovers out there is to cut out all caffeine after 2pm to ensure it’s out of your system before bed. Our bodies are made up of (around) 60% water, it cleanses our body, is vital for exercise performance and organ function. Living your life dehydrated is another way to make you feel awful! For those of you fond of a frequent alcoholic beverage, this will further dehydrate the body and leave you feeling sluggish and demotivated. I think this is one of the best things to begin focusing on when it comes to transforming your lifestyle.

It’s like sharpening an axe before you cut down a tree. Trying to do this with a blunt blade will take too long, you will get tired and give up.

If you are well-rested and hydrated, you will begin to feel fresher and smash that tree down! So work on your exercise, calories and sleep.

Exercise - A word that can send shivers down a spine, for many, it has a real marmite effect (you either love it or hate it, but for those who hate it, I honestly think they haven’t found the perfect exercise for them.

This two-part article is aimed at those who think they are a lost cause, or maybe think they are too old, overweight and too out of shape to begin even thinking about entering the doors of a gym.

I completely sympathise with those who hate the gym, for many, it’s not even the exercise that’s the problem. It’s the idea of being stared at, doing things wrong, being laughed at the situation itself is just too intimidating for many. Lots has changed over the years in ‘gym mentality’ and in my personal opinion, there is no better time to join a gym or hire a personal trainer than right now. Gym owners are catering for people of all age, sizes and shapes. Members are encouraging and helpful and the trainers who work in them are there to help and educate you along the way. For those who don’t like the public gyms, there are plenty of fully private gym facilities (like one2one fitness NI), private pools and plenty of one-on-one coaching options. I can’t guarantee that you will instantly fall in love with exercise or feel fully comfortable in your new surroundings, but what I can guarantee is that after every session that passes you will be another step closer to your end goal.

Even if you only go once a week, for 30mins that will be an extra two hours of exercise per month.

You can row, cycle, swim, walk, lift weights, do a zumba class, but please keep trying something until you find the right exercise for you. Once you find a type of exercise you enjoy doing, you will want to do it more. That 30 mins once per week may double to twice per week.

All of a sudden you are exercising four hours per month. Your resting heart rate will begin to drop, you will master stairs easier and the knock-on effect of exercising more frequently will have you eating better and making healthier food choices. All you have to do is keep trying until you fall in love with your perfect exercise of choice. The beauty of regular exercise is that it will help increase your sleep quality (see point one) and the results are extremely addictive.

If you haven’t found your calling in terms of exercise, I beg you, think of something you have always wanted to try, reach out to someone who specialises in coaching it one on one, book a session and see where it takes you. If it turns out it’s not for you, try the next thing on the list. Rinse and repeat and I know you will eventually come across a coach/exercise that is perfect for you and will have you coming back for more.Part 2 will be out in 2 weeks. In the meantime, start focusing on sleep and hydration.