At this moment in time we are getting ready to come out of lockdown.
For many, this means getting back to the gym after months of very limited workouts or no workouts at all.
For lots of us we are buzzing to get back to the gym and training properly! After being off it for a while we are looking to lose weight, get fitter and stronger again.
We can’t wait for the first session back…..we’re going to kill it!
But should we?
This advice is also useful at any point in time for anyone just considering starting at the gym or starting to get in better shape or eat well.
It is tempting to go straight into the gym, hammer workouts, drop calorie intake to as low as you can manage and hope that all the hard work is going to give you the body of your dreams.
However you may just be setting yourself up for failure or injury or both.
Let’s take someone who hasn’t been to the gym in a while, hasn’t been eating well and has put on a good amount of weight.
If they have gone from no exercise and eating 3,000 calories a day, it would be tempting to drop this to 1,200 calories and get to the gym 6 days a week. Surely this would work right?
Well realistically yeah, they’ll get some results with this, but they will also be knackered, their body will be sore and they will probably feel like s**t and end up bingeing on crap and give up on the gym within a few weeks.
Even if they do manage to stick to it, at some point the results will slow and they will plateau. So then what can they do? Do they go to the gym 7 days a week? Train twice some days? Drop their calories to 1,000 calories or less?
You can see how this is a slippery slope and will just lead to failure, binges and regaining all the weight they may have lost….plus probably an extra few pounds.
The best thing for this person to do would be to simply make small, subtle changes bit by bit. If this sounds like you, here’s a step by step action plan of how that could go.
Step 1 - Go to the gym twice per week, full body workouts with 10 mins of cardio exercise at the end. On the other days, just be a little bit more active, go for a walk, take the stairs, do some stretching or yoga. Don’t worry about calories just yet, simply just look to do a little bit of housekeeping...by this I mean ‘cleaning’ your diet up. All it takes is cutting back a little on the takeaways, taking some home made nutritious meals to work with you instead of jumping out to Greggs etc. This might not seem like much, but trust me, you will see results with this!
Step 2 - Once you have done step 1 for 2-4 weeks, just take it up a notch. Get to the gym a third time, another full body workout. Other days keep active, add in a few more steps if you can. At this point you could start tracking your food to see what your calorie intake actually is. For the vast majority of people, simply tracking their food helps them lose a few pounds as they become more accountable for what they are eating and automatically eat a little bit less. Simple things like when you go to eat some biscuits but remember you need to track it, you’ll have one biscuit instead of three.
Step 3 - Once you’ve done that for another 2-4 weeks, as results start to slow down, the next step is to slightly drop calories and can either add another workout, or increase the intensity of your current workouts. So let’s say you tracked your food and on average you were eating 2,300 calories per day. We don’t need to take a huge amount out here, simply 200-300 calories off would accelerate your weight loss.
Step 4 - As you can see, by this point you could be 6-12 weeks in, still getting results, but never feeling deprived of food like you would have been on 1,200 calories. you won’t feel exhausted and sick of the gym like you would have been jumping straight into 6 days a week. At this point you could drop your calories from 2,000ish to around 1,800, be doing 4 sessions in the gym each week at a fairly hard intensity and will be feeling great, energetic and will have lost a considerable amount of weight.
Can you see how this seems like a smarter, easier plan to follow and will undoubtedly lead to better results?
Make small changes and allow them to add up to big results, instead of trying to dive into the deep end and sinking to the bottom.
Bear this in mind when you get back to the gym. Start thinking about the small changes you can make, trust me, they will get you far greater results!