Karl Henry: Your motivation will start to waver... Five tips to help you keep going
School of Health Week 7: This week, our fitness expert says keep going
The dreaded plateau. Probably the single biggest reason that people fall off the wagon when trying to get healthy. In the first few weeks of exercising and eating well, you will see big results. Results that motivate you to keep going. Weight-loss, inch-loss and an increase in fitness are all super motivators and you feel fantastic.
Then around the fourth or fifth week, things get a little harder, the results slow down and your motivation begins to waver. This plateau will test your commitment and ability to stay on track like nothing else. Most people stop here and go back to their old ways.
So this week I want to show you how to get over this hump and push through the barriers that cause you to plateau - and stay on track for the long-term.
* Change it up - This is the crucial one. The body reacts to change. If you do the same workout or the same programme over and over again - the same run or the same walk - guess what?
The body isn't going to change a huge amount. It gets used to what it is doing and then the adaptation slows down, the results slow down and you get frustrated. So the simplest tip of the day is to change it up. Change your workout, change your pace, your weight, your time, your route, your training partner... basically anything that you can. The body reacts to change and continues to improve, giving it new challenges.
* Increase the intensity - As you get fitter, you have to work hard to get the benefits, so aim for the talk test. Which means getting slightly out of breath, but still able to have a conversation, pushing the body enough to get the maximum benefit from the workout.
* Measure several components of health - You are more likely to see changes when you measure different things. The more you measure, the more likely you are to see changes and keep on track. You can measure pretty much every aspect of health, from weight, waistline, heart rate, one hour walk or run distance, one rep max strength tests and many more. It's a simple reminder - measure more to stay motivated.
* Get a workout partner - You will always work out harder when training with someone else than you will when training on your own. So why not team up to push your boundaries?
Even if you aren't that competitive, having someone to train with will help to motivate you, train when you don't feel like it, eat healthy when you don't want to and you will have someone to account to - an accountability partner, really.
* Rest - Sometimes if you are pushing your body too hard, doing too much and not getting the right recovery, your system slows down, and the results slow down too.
Rest and recovery are crucial for health and change, it's where your body repairs itself from your exercise.
Sleep is the optimum form of recovery, aiming for that magic eight hours a night or more. The recovery process also happens post-workout, so eating right and getting fluid into your body after the session helps too. Milk is a perfect recovery fuel and even add some fruit for a perfect combination, then a meal of protein and colourful vegetables will deliver the repair, vitamins and minerals that you need.
Have fun. Random recommendation, but having fun is so important as it helps you to keep focused in the long run.
Health should be long-term, enjoyable and something you can do for the future, not just for the holiday.
Health & Living