EVERY LITTLE HELPS
THE arrival of a new year is as good a time as any to try to change your health for the better. So whether it's shedding a few extra pounds or perhaps gaining a bit of extra muscle, people across Wicklow will be getting stuck into their fitness goals, filling up gyms around the county.
And going to a gym is one thing that Graham Doolin of Shoreline Leisure in Bray recommends, believing it to be the best place to achieve your weight-loss or muscle-gaining objectives.
'For anyone starting off, the first thing I'd say is get themselves in a gym and known to the instructors,' he says. 'The worst thing you can do is go into a gym and just patter around for a few weeks not knowing what you're doing. That's what the instructors are there for; to show you how to use the equipment. They can also design a programme specifically for you that incorporates any injuries or health problems you might have.'
Graham also urges people not to feel in any way nervous or ashamed coming into a gym if they're not as chiselled as some of the more seasoned regulars.
'Most gyms aren't what people think they are,' he insists. 'You might feel intimidated, but normally that goes away. It's about getting to know the staff in any centre as you can. We're all about getting to know our members and making them feel as comfortable as possible when they train.'
He recommends focussing on small, achievable goals to build up a sense of progress and staying patient to see results over time.
'Focus on little things going forward; every pound or half-pound you lose is a win. The worst thing you can do is just jump in for four weeks, starve yourself thin and hope you're going to maintain that.
'The slower you lose it, the more likely you are to keep it off, so you're looking at losing at one to two pounds a week. Anything faster than that and you normally won't maintain it.
However, when hoping to lose fat or gain muscle (or both) good nutrition is paramount, and can undo all the hard work you put in in the gym.
'Nutrition is key,' Graham enthuses. 'You can train as hard as you want, but if you're not eating the quality foods you're going to need it's not going to happen. Cut out your unhealthy fats, simple sugars, processed foods. Go with your lean meats, fish, lots of vegetables, small amount of fruit and lots of water to help flush toxins out.'