Saturday, 2 January 2016

The 3 noticable traits of a fitness addict

Go for a stroll on any weekend morning and you'll be passed by runners, cyclists and fast walkers wearing up to date trainers and workout clothes.  They may smile at you, wave or yell a quick 'hi', but they all have one thing in common.  They won't stop.  They're the fitness addicts.

We all want to be fit, even if we pretend we don’t care.  Getting started can be difficult, no time, no motivation, can’t be bothered….and then one day we look in the mirror and say ok, this is not the me I really want to be, how do I do something about it?

I was spurred on to write this post by a text that I received from a great friend, who knows that I am a confirmed fitness addict, asking me how many steps I targeted each day.  And yes I have to do my steps, however fast.

Provided you get out and go for a decent walk, climb the stairs whenever possible (and be aware some fitness trackers will award you floors climbed when you’re on the escalator – really not helpful), and walk that extra mile instead of taking the tube/bus/taxi you can build up not only an addiction to your tracker (!) but also a real enjoyment in bhe benefits of doing so.  But just normal walking on the flat is not enough.  You need cardio, which gets your heart rate up (hills/bike/elliptical/running/fast walking) combined with resistance training to really get fit. 

So here are the three noticable elements of fitness addicts.....

They all wear Fitness Trackers:  Fitness tech is a fast growing market and you might be surprised at the number of people enjoying their fitness tracker buddy.  Getting addicted to beating your target is a great start and once you start with a target you can monitor your progress every day, with a smartphone app such as Myfitnesspal, Argus by Azumio, or the iPhone health app or much better with a physical fitness tracker which won’t drain your phone’s battery such as my favourite the Fitbit One.  Once you start you’ll want to continue, trust me on this.

I particularly like the Fitbit One because I don’t want a tracker that goes on my wrist, or needs to be in my pocket, and I really like my watch (so forget the smart watch), and this little gadget clips on to my bra.  So for girls I think it’s the most practical.  It’ll work if you carry it in your bag or put it in your pocket, but you don’t necessarily go around with your bag all of the time, you’ll forget which pocket you’ve put it in, and then put it in the wash……..

Fitness trackers work because you can’t get away from them once you switch them on, you feel guilty if you don’t reach your target and they’re therapy when you do.  I think they’re great motivation.  You'll find many fitness addicts regularly checking their progress, on iphone or wrist (or smartwatch).

They wear trainers much of the time, at home and away and take them with them everywhere.  Trainers make you walk that extra mile because they're so comfortable.  If you have them with you you can wear them walking (or jogging) across the parks in town, up that irresistible hill, up any number of stairs.  Try doing that in a pair of heels.  

My favourites, because of the excellent cushioning are Nike Pegasus or with extra support, Nike Air Zoom Structure  Put a pair on in the morning to walk to work and you won’t want to take them off.  You have been warned. 

Don’t be tempted to buy ‘barefoot running’ trainers because they’re pretty.  If you’re starting off buy something with a lot of support and invest as much as you can.  These shoes are going to be worn a lot….

I’m always to be found walking in London in trainers and then changing outside a restaurant or meeting into something smart.  You really can’t walk fast in a normal pair of shoes and the bounce these give you make you want to walk further.  Then you can speed walk across the park, past everyone in the tube and walk up the escalator (at least that’s the theory), feeling superior as you do.

They don’t need to go to the gym:
  Fitness addicts know that the gym can be everywhere and anywhere they are, and you can't keep them away from staying fit.  They don't have to have expensive gym memberships.  If away they may take an ab roller and resistance band with them - and trainers of course.  Use any available facilities, run outside or find the nearest incline.  But you can't stop them, fitness is part of their day.

When I’m away I go to the gym because it’s either too hot or too wet to try and exercise outside most of the time.  In the UK I’ll be outside, walking up the nearest hill or going on a long speed walk if it’s fine.  I have an elliptical at home so at a pinch I can use that but I much prefer to be outside.

Combine cardio/walking with resistance training
.  You can do this easily at home with weights/dumbbells or resistance bands.  If  you don’t know how to get started then watch these videos and there are loads more to be found on YouTube.

Resistance band arm workout
Bum exercises with a fitness ball
10 minutes abs workout

It helps to have a little equipment at home:  Not just to help you get fit, but to remind you that that’s what you bought it for and you better use it or you’re throwing your cash away.  Start with these:

Reebok dumbell setFitness BallResistance TubesFitness Mat
The Reebok dumbbell set contains 1, 2 and 3kg weights which are perfect for starting.  Use them not just for repetition lifts but also squats, lunges, pull-overs and triceps.   And many more exercises. 

You can use a fitness ball for so many exercises and use it instead of a bench, which you most likely won’t have at home, to do weights, which helps to work your core along with everything else.  Go for 65cm if you’re quite tall, but if you’re on the short side choose the 55cm ball.

Resistance tubes are also excellent for a lot of exercises and particularly good if you’re travelling or want to combine resistance work with a walk in the park.  Here’s a 10 minutes resistance band workout for beginners, and there are loads more on YouTube.  Read How to Buy Resistance Bands here.

And finally it helps to have a mat.  Make sure that you don’t get one for fitness work that’s too thin.  Yoga and Pilates mats are great because you can roll them up and take them with you.  Pilates mats will be thicker than Yoga mats, so check the thickness before you buy.  For at home exercising you want a mat that is at least .5 inches of 10mm thick. 

Do something every day.  Set your target and make sure you beat it or at least reach it every day.  After just a few days, 5 – 7, you’ll be hooked and hopefully you'll join the fitness addicts.  And you’ll be all the better for it.