Set realistic goals with the help of an expert
GETTING FIT is top of most people's New Year's resolutions, but fitness expert Shane Edwards of the Apex pool and leisure complex in New Ross says most people don't stay the course, giving up within weeks due to a lack of planning.
The duty manager at the Apex, which features a state of the art gym, has over 12 years experience in fitness and has seen many people resolve to get fit every New Year only to trade the weights for the remote control within a matter of weeks.
'This time of year is obviously huge for the fitness industry. You see people with New Year's resolutions and they go and get a gym membership and within a couple of weeks they are gone again. A lot of them start off too quickly and take on too much without adequate planning,' Shane said.
His top tip for people planning to shed some excess pounds is to sit down and plan realistic long term goals, for example how many pounds you plan to lose within three months.
'Plan how many times you want to go to the gym each week and when you want to go, and meet a gym instructor to help you formulate your plan. This is especially important if you haven't exercised for a few years. Meeting up with an expert is important as they can tell you what you should and shouldn't do.'
He said one of the biggest constraints for people is time.
'You will see people who want to spend two to three hours in a gym and they are the ones who drop out first. There is no reason why you can't come in for 40 minutes after work in the evening and on weekends and do this four times a week. Over four months that's 14 visits to the gym and already you will have noticed a major improvement.'
With many gyms now offering monthly and three month memberships, there is more scope than ever before for people to give the gym a try.
Shane recommends that you try out the gym a few times before signing up to becoming a gym member.
'People have great intentions and great ideas about getting fit, especially around this time of the year but they are the first ones to drop off by the wayside. People think more time in the gym is better but people with children and work find it hard to do that.'
He said variety is important for anyone trying to get back to fitness, otherwise they will get bored and revert to less energetic habits.
'If you're doing the same thing week in week out in terms of fitness you will get bored fast. You need to talk to your personal trainer or gym instructor and work out a programme. You could go on an exercise bike for one session and do weights the next one and go for a walk with a friend or try swimming the next time so you are keeping it interesting for yourself.'
Shane said the gym should be something people look forward to and not a dead weight around their necks.
'You shouldn't be dreading the thought of spending 90 minutes on a treadmill walking aimlessly. 60 per cent of Irish people who start exercising drop out within four months and at this time of year you see all the memes on Facebook and Twitter mocking people who have resolved to get fit. By May or June many people who signed up for a year's membership in January have dropped out. These are people who are spending their hard earned money and by three or four weeks they're bored and come May or June they've completely given up.'
Along with the physical benefits of exercise, Shane said there are many health and social benefits to joining a gym or participating in an exercise class.
'From weight loss to mental health the benefits of exercising are massive. It holds off Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease and it increases your self esteem and self confidence while putting you in a better mood. You have the whole social aspect of the gym also. People end up meeting other people and they often start training around the same time. Friendships are formed and people get to know each other in classes also so that's another benefit.'
With the huge interest in triathlons in recent years, more and more County Wexford people are trying out new sports and Shane said many people are choosing to exercise outdoors especially come spring and summer time.
'By summer you will see a lot of people walking the roads or out on the beach instead of going to the pool or gym so there is definitely a seasonal element to it. This is a good time of the year to set long term goals with your gym instructor, like how many pounds you want to lose within a certain period. If you stick with it you will see so many benefits sooner rather than later,' Shane said.
New Ross Standard