Your fitness journey – where to start?
My holiday read of choice this year has been ‘The 4-hour Body’ by Tim Ferriss (2010). Not necessarily everyone’s choice of relaxing trashy holiday book, as firstly it is far from trashy and secondly it is 567 pages long and certainly not to be consumed in one sitting. I was recommended this author by a friend of mine - for your reading pleasure and interest I have summarised some key bits for you, so on your holiday you can choose something much lighter!! ;)
The decision to do something about your health and fitness: The Harajuku moment.
Most people are terrible at following advise, usually for two reasons:
You don’t have enough of a reason for action. The pain and endurance isn’t worth it. It’s a nice to have not a must have.
There are no reminders. No consistent tracking, no awareness and no behavioural change.
So what is the ‘Harajuku moment’? It’s the epiphany that turns a nice to have into a must have. This will be the difference between it working/you sticking to it, and it falling over in a few weeks. I can’t tell you when this will happen or why as it is different for each person, but it could be as simple as catching yourself in a mirror and not liking the reflection staring back at you or something much bigger like a particularly dramatic incident that really gets you thinking. It has to come from you though and for you to truly stick to it, you have to understand what your motivation is. You also need to track your progress and understand your base starting point and how you are getting on at each milestone.
Where to start:
Once you have made the conscious decision to take your fitness and health in your own hands and really go for it, there are a few things to make sure you have done:
Get yourself a PT– that is what we are here for! Guidance, someone to keep you motivated and challenged, someone to swear at, someone that understands exactly what you are going through.
Take a photo of yourself in the mirror– ideally just with your underwear on, from the front, side and back. This is actually quite a tough thing to do as it is a bit of a reality smack in the face. Don’t try to make it overly flattering, just reality. These photos are for you and act as a reminder of what your base starting point looked like.
The food diary. There is no point exercising to achieve a certain goal or set of goals if you don’t eat correctly as well. You can exercise every day but if your diet is terrible, you will not see the desired changes. Keep an accurate food diary for a week, recording everything after each day (not at the end of the week, as you will always forget something). When you are asked to do this, not only is it again a bit of a reality check but it can then be analysed to see what amends need to be made.
Measure up. There are a number of different ways to measure your body, but some are much more complex than others and require expensive and difficult to find machinery. As long as you have a few basics, and you re-measure yourself in the same way at each milestone, this will enable you to understand your progress. Using a simple tape measure, jot down your waist (at the smallest point), hips (widest point), arms (at the mid-biceps point) and each leg (mid thigh point).
But its genetic, I can’t help that…
Don’t accept pre-disposition. People always say ‘Its all genetic. I can’t do anything about it.’ You don’t have to accept this – you can be fed and trained towards a different physical future. For example, if you are overweight and your parents are overweight, the inclination is to blame genetics, but this is only one possible explanation. Did ‘fatness’ genes get passed on, or was it overeating behaviour? Even if you are pre-disposed to being overweight, you are not pre-destined.
Have a read. Have a think. Want me to explain anything further, just ask. Want to get started on your fitness journey, just let me know.
*Tim Ferriss is author of the No.1 bestseller ‘The 4-hour Work Week. He is also guest lecturer at Princeton University and a faculty member at Singularity University, based at NASA.