Monday 19 March 2018

Shape Up: Give in to peer pressure

If you're serious about shaping up, one of the best things you can do is to train with a group

Image posed
Image posed

Damien Maher

In the 2005 documentary movie 'Reversal of Fortune', the producers posed the question: "What would a homeless person do if they were given $100,000?"

The movie begins by introducing Ted Rodrigue, a homeless man living under a bridge in California. He describes his average day of survival -- collecting cans and bottles for recycling for the $25-$35 he needs in order to eat, buy cigarettes and drink beer. His family and friends have disowned him and his ability to "do as he pleases", by not answering to authority, keeps him on the streets.

While doing his daily dumpster drive, one day Ted finds a briefcase containing $100,000 with a note asking: 'What would a homeless person do if he were given $100,000?' The answer, for Ted anyway, becomes clear.


He falls instantly in love with his new-found wealth and the attention it attracts from his previously absent friends and family as he now lavishes gifts on them.

As the weeks progress, his spending increases. He doesn't show willingness to work yet he continues to spend $10,000 a week.

Getting worried, the producers request that Ted meet with a financial planner. Ted agrees but firmly announces that he has no intention of working and wishes to not plan ahead.

He believes that the financial planner is after his money and rips up his card. The story culminates when Ted declares on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' that he has none of the $100,000 left and he is back on the streets and content with his circumstances.

Ted's story is similar to those people who attempt to lose weight rapidly. They celebrate weight loss without learning why they gained it in the first place and go back into their old habits of eating more processed food and not making exercise a part of their programme.

Instead of learning to take control of their health, they succumb to the illusion that it's about weight loss.

By not participating in an exercise programme, they soon regain the weight back plus interest. They claim that they are content with their weight and that you can't change genetics!

For ultimate fat-loss success, you need to emphasise your goal as fat loss and realise that it has to be a long-term plan.


Every CEO of the Forbes 500 companies has a coach to guide them and to help them see the things that they don't in order to avoid any potential icebergs.

The use of a coach or mentor in fitness is common too. Research published in the 'Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness' last year compared supervised exercise versus non-supervised exercise for reducing weight in obese adults.

The research study looked at the effects of training with supervision/instruction with a qualified trainer.

In the study there were two groups. Group one met a trainer twice a week for four months while group two received basic advice to increase physical activity and access to a gym. Any exercise they did was unsupervised.

The group with supervision lost 362pc more fat over a four-month period. The group receiving coaching had a total fat loss of 13.4lbs, compared to only 3.7lbs in the other group. These improvements were made without any dietary advice given.

The benefits of using a coach are well known. West Point Military Academy in the US has conducted studies on its cadets' performance with a coach versus training alone and it came to a similar conclusion.


The point to note is that a coach, training partner or training with a team can benefit your results.

Group training improves results further, as social support is one of the key variables in fat-loss success.

For maximum results in fat loss, it seems the ultimate combination is supervision, instruction, group settings and dietary advice if you want permanent results.

It's not a short-term plan but it should be viewed as long-term empowerment and taking control of your health, once and for all.

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

If you are interested in regaining control of your health visit, where this Christmas we are making a donation of €10 to charity for every 1lb of fat you lose in our Body Transformation Contest. Now, what are you waiting for?

Irish Independent

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