Illustration: Lorenzo Gritti/ The Guardian
Find your real motivation
In gyms, as in life, it is a good idea to ask yourself: what am I doing here?” Everyone should be able to have their own aims for their body ,” says Stride.” If you want to get really lean and shredded, I’m not going to cast judgment on that goal. But there are so many other reasons to exercise, whether it’s for your physical or psychological health .”
Overall believes you should train for the body you have , not the body you think you should have.” You can’t really alter your basic shape ,” she says.” If you’re a natural pear shape, you are always going to be a pear shape. You can reduce your body fat, to induce yourself seem smaller, but your bottom will still be in the same proportion to your top .”
Be realistic about what workout alone can achieve
If you want to lose weight, exert isn’t enough – you also need to look at diet. We tend to overestimate the calories we burn in the gym; it is the reason female marathon runners often gain weight while develop. Simmonds points out that many people run really hard in the gym, but then think they can eat what they like:” They give 100% attempt, and then ruin it by having a massive snack .”
Don’t merely smash the cardio.” Throwing yourself into the weights room is where you’re going to get the most effective results ,” says Johnson. And if the number on the scales stays the same, don’t be disheartened.” Clients sometimes complain they haven’t lost weight, but they’ve actually lost fat and replaced it with muscle .”
Gels and protein powders are best left to the professionals
Beware the siren call of expensive energy drinkings and gels.” Unless you’re doing more than 90 minutes of endurance run, you do not need an energy beverage ,” says Overall. The same runs for protein powders, unless you are actively bodybuilding.
Reject the guff and nonsense of diet culture.” I work on an anti-diet basis ,” says Lewin.” That doesn’t mean I am anti-fat loss, if that’s what you wishing. But I’m anti-nonsense-products, such as fad teas, tablets and raspberry ketones- anything that makes a profit, rather than promoting long-term health .”
Don’t do the same thing week-in, week-out
When it comes to fitness, routine is the enemy of progress.” The body responds to progressive overload ,” says Stride,” so unless you progressively overload a movement, you’re never going to move forward. If you don’t ever increase your weights, and you carry on doing the same sets, week in, week out, you’ll maintain your fitness, but you won’t make progress .”
To get the best out of exercise, you need to do a mixture of cardio, strength and flexible work.” Cardio is going to induce you live longer, and attain your heart more efficient ,” says Ghahremani.” Weight training will strengthen your muscles and lead to stable muscle growth. And flexibility run will stop you putting your back out getting out of bed in the morning. All three are equally important to a good, long, healthy life .”
Go at your own pace, and don’t be afraid
If you have the money to hire a personal trainer, be upfront with them about your dreads.” If you don’t want to work out until you’re sick, you should never be in a position where you have to do that ,” says Overall.” Be honest- if you’re really scared and think this is going to half-kill you, share that with the person training you .”
Disabled people shouldn’t underestimate how much they can do.” Often, they tell themselves they can’t do certain things ,” Ghahremani finds,” and they place more limits on themselves than they are able to. Boundary can be pushed! You’ve just got to be a bit creative about it .”
If you are older and have health problems, speak to your GP before throwing yourself into fitness, advises Richard Miller , who are specialized in educate the over-5 0s. Look at the capabilities of your body, and find exert that works for you.” A plenty of the guys I watch have knackered knees; cycling is low-impact, and even better is swimming, which is great body conditioning, but also low impact for people with joint or knee issues .”
Don’t listen to Noel Edmond s
Finally, the most urgent fitness question of all: is stretching truly a scam fabricated by personal trainers? Lewin certainly doesn’t think so.” Although sometimes overlooked, stretching has many benefits ,” she says,” including increasing flexibility and range of motion and improving posture .” She advises that you incorporate stretching into your warm-up and cool-down routines, to help the body prepare for movement and recover after a workout.
Stride agrees that stretching can be useful, but only if you are doing it right: waving your arms about while stand stock-still isn’t going to do much.” Static stretching is rarely necessary or an effective use of exercise time for the majority of clients ,” she says.” Instead, dynamic( moving) stretchings are a great way to warm up, with static holds used only sparingly to access some additional range of motion prior to training .”
The verdict is in, then: stretching is not a swindle. But, as Edmonds might observe, they would say that, wouldn’t they?