Hamilton personal trainer Craig Wise is passionate about helping motivate people and change their lives, specialising in helping people with diabetes and the morbidly obese. In his first Fitness Journal column he shares tips on getting started.
I remember when I first started out as a personal trainer. I was sitting at reception in the Auckland gym where I was working. I saw a woman walk past the glass double doors.
About 10 minutes later she passed by again and then a third and fourth time.
On her fifth pass, she stopped, opened the door and stepped inside. With her eyes downcast she said, “I have no idea what I am doing here.”
We sat and chatted for a while, discussed her goals and within a few weeks she became comfortable in the gym. Later she told me it had taken her two weeks to even reach the point of walking up to the door.
There are a number of things which stop us taking that first step. There are the excuses: “I’m too busy to exercise, I find it boring, I can’t afford a gym membership” and “I don’t know what to do.” All popular reasons, and by reasons I mean excuses.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be about joining the biggest gym with the latest facilities; it’s about getting out there and getting yourself moving. It’s not as hard as you think and when you weigh up adding a little activity to your life against the health repercussions if you don’t, then the choice to move is so much easier.
Seven hints on getting started and sticking with it:
1) Be prepared – If you think you don’t have time, then make a daily appointment with yourself. You wouldn’t miss an appointment with your doctor and this is just as important.
2) Drop kick your old mental images – whether they be the mental image of the gym teacher you hated at school pushing you until you cried or the body image of you in a bikini when you were 18 and exercised like a demon. Look towards the future and set new realistic goals.
3) Don’t go it alone – get family and friends involved. You can motivate each other and share your successes and your challenges. Chances are they are struggling to start too.
4) Set goals – bite-sized realistic achievable goals are the key. Set them and share them with your friends who are going to support you.
5) Start slowly – When you begin, do a little less than you are able to. Even starting with a brisk walk if you haven’t done any exercise recently is a good first step.
6) Relish your achievements – no matter how small, celebrate your success.
7) Enjoy – Exercise doesn’t need to be about spending 20 minutes on a treadmill at the gym or lifting weights, there are plenty of options ranging from dance classes and walking groups to classes in community houses and church halls. Find one you enjoy, the choices are numerous.
If you have specific health concerns then speak with your GP or practice nurse.
They may suggest what to consider when starting out, what to avoid or they may point you in the direction of the Green Prescription – which through Sport Waikato advises on lifestyle changes that will improve your overall health.
Don’t be afraid to try, every journey starts somewhere.