They say summer bodies are built in the winter, right? The start of the year is when many of us commit to making a change to improve our health and fitness. Whether that's running that race, taking out that gym membership, or even learning to cook instead of ordering Uber Eats. We spoke to personal trainer Ryan Thomas and former powerlifter Jo Lwanga to understand how to keep fitness at the forefront in 2020.
How do you set realistic fitness goals and keep yourself accountable beyond New Year's resolutions?
J: I think about my work and life schedule and then fit the gym around that. I find that a lot of people make the mistake of trying to force life to work around their set gym time when, in fact, it should be the other way round. I also try to focus on myself and what my body can do instead of following the exercises that are 'trendy.' This helps me stick to a set timetable without feeling the need to add in the latest cool exercise.
R: I usually work on things in a 6-week block. Whether that be getting stronger or losing weight, 6 weeks is enough time to notice a difference if you apply yourself to improve in a particular area. As a trainer, you build a rapport with your clients, and actually, my clients help keep me accountable. I let them know what my short terms goals are.
Former powerlifter Jo currently works as a business analyst for a fintech start-up
Any advice for someone who is looking to start a healthier lifestyle, or who is just feeling unmotivated in general?
J: Start with small, realistic goals and work your way on to more difficult challenges as you gain strength and confidence. The gym is not the only way to keep fit. Try different activities: yoga, rock climbing, cycling, dancing (Zumba), pole dancing. Do not restrict yourself - you'll be surprised what you end up loving.
What's your advice on healthy eating or meal prepping on a budget?
R: Cook most of the food you eat. It's more than likely you're going to make a healthier version of what you could buy. This will also save you a lot of money. The average person spends about £8 on lunch per day; that same £8 will buy you enough ingredients to make lunch for the week. Make your food on Sunday night so that you're in the right mindset from Monday to be consistent.
How do you stay motivated and consistent?
J: I set realistic goals and think about the quality of life I want to live when I am much older. This helps me stay not only motivated but consistent. Setting unrealistic goals will very quickly put you off going to the gym because you go in expecting to fail. I also don't beat myself up when I don't have the energy to go to the gym.
R: Being a personal trainer, there's an expectation from most clients, or others in your field that you have to look a certain way. Even on days when I don't want to train, seeing another PT training or knowing that one of my clients is getting stronger helps to get me enthusiastic about training again. Having a training partner is also an excellent way of staying consistent, as you can help to motivate each other when one of you is feeling demotivated.
IS FITNESS ON YOUR RADAR THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR STAYING FOCUSED AND BUILDING THAT SUMMER BODY THIS WINTER?