Hello everyone! There is a lot of info-twaddle out there in the area of health and fitness. I try to base everything I practise on sound science research and trial and error, then apply it to the real world. I was not into sport or fitness when I was young, I did not get really serious about it until I was 32.
My tips for helping people prepare for starting fitness and a healthier lifestyle, are sometimes more downbeat and counter to many trainers and coaches out there (especially famous ones). When they tell you that getting fit is easy, they are lying. It is also a load of old guff-tunnel that by thinking positive you can become wonder woman, or wolverine. You won't. If it's just a case of thinking positive and go get, why the fudge am I not travelling to Alpha Centauri in my super space battleship. I'll tell you why, because it's all balls. The positive thought brigade is a racket run by berks, who have already achieved their objectives in life. ANYWAY [slaps own face].
Now back to the top 10, which will probably end up as 13 or more. I must stress, this is a general preparation guideline only, not a fitness regime.
1. Start now. Don't find a reason to start later. Get on with it!
2. Expect it to be really difficult. Let's face it, a lot of the time, the thought of training is less than appealing. It's also ruddy exhausting and it's especially hard watching your food intake. This is counter to all the apparent easy fixes available in the "health" industry. However, when your body starts to improve, you will feel amazing.
3. Learn to train without a gym. Save time and save money, train at home or your surrounding areas. Spend the money you save on a personal trainer, even if it's once a fortnight. Use simple equipment like dumbbells, natural body weight, workout dvd's, online videos, your music collection and start walking/hiking.
4. Mix it up. No single sport or discipline trains for ultimate fitness. Mix it up with crossfit, aerobics, jogging, weights, yoga, martial arts, hiking, cycling, classes, gymnastics, swimming, dressing up as a giant duck to waddle through town for 2 hours and a heap of other great ways to workout.
5. Training with others is fun. It generally makes people perform better and has been proven to aid mental health. But…
6. ...learn to train on your own as well. This is an ultimate target in self discipline. It's really hard though!
7. Planning rest days is rubbish. Don't plan them, let them happen naturally, e.g when you are way too busy to train, or aching so much you cannot move, or you have been imprisoned by alien greys... well actually you could still do press ups or something.
8. Train when the opportunity occurs, for any length of time from 10 minutes to 10 hours! Don't just train to a planned schedule, it will invariably go wrong in modern life.
9. Calories in calories out - a basic equation. No fancy diets are needed, they are just an arse-ache (that said, intermittent fasting is handy and basic). Food and drink and booze intake has to be controlled to match, whether you want to lose fat or bulk up. Learn to count calories every day. Slimming clubs are a rubbish con forget them all. They probably only work for 1% of people and even then the successes don't always last, as the diets are so boring and bland.
In versus out. Keep it simple.
10. Ignore newspapers and media outlets. If you want health and fitness news go to reputable sources that quote published science papers. Or go to science and medicine journals direct. Tabloids are especially damaging. Here in the UK, tabloids like the Daily Mail et. al. should be accountable for the pig swill health advice that they print.
11. Surround yourself with as many people who are into fitness as possible, and then inspire others. It's wonderful to help others as you help yourself. Being responsible for other people's improvements in turn makes you try even harder!
12. Ignore celebrities and athletes. The bodies you see in photos are often small and/or digitally enhanced and therefore look more defined. Many actors and models use drugs like HGH to create artificial bodies. They also have people to prepare all their food for them.
While it's OK to be inspired by sports professionals, don't put too much pressure on yourself by setting unattainable goals - you can never know if some of them are reaching their targets by using illegal enhancements, plus they are training for a living, so they have day to day coaching and guidance.
13. 300 minutes hard training per week is your aim for a maximum benefit.
14. Illness and injury. Work around it. Get back to exercise as soon as possible. If your legs are not working, then use your arms.
15. Don't obsess about weight. Your belt or clothes size is a friendlier and more accurate gauge if fat ratio reduction is your aim.
16. If you could take a pill every day, with no side effects, that is really cheap or free, which does all of the things listed, plus much more:
Increases your life span
Turns on genetic switches for tumor suppression, Alzheimer's suppression, dementia suppression.
Combats a variety of mental illness.
Increases muscle mass and strength.
Increases cardiovascular output.
Prevents type 2 diabetes.
Decreases fat, including visceral fat.
Increases bone density.
Increases overall quality of life.
Improves joint movement and agility.
Prevents erectile dysfunction.
Super charges your immune system
and on and on and on.....
Well, that pill is already available and it is called vigorous exercise! Let's do it!
This is just a general think-list. I hope it helps you a tiny bit.
In future articles, I will discuss strategies for fitness while looking after babies and toddlers. I will also be talking about the fitness crisis in the west and interviewing key scientists, doctors and health professionals.
PRESENT: Coffee addict Dan is 42, a father, husband, health & fitness professional, filmmaker, photographer and budding scientist. Welcome to his tiny part of the universe, where he chats nonsensical about the topics he loves.