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Push through winter blues to keep fitness plan on track

WEEKEND WORKOUT: Choosing to get fit and healthy is a big step for many people and it is often started with a goal in mind.

Goals differ depending on the individual.

For some people it can be to get fit and lose weight for health benefits or just to fit into an outfit for a special occasion.

For others it could be to get in shape to compete in a sporting event they have always dreamt of doing.

Whatever your goals might be, the one thing we all want to see is results.

Sometimes seeing the results can be difficult, especially when your motivation is slipping – which can be the case over winter.

Over the past few months I have repeatedly kept the focus of these articles on invigorating and maintaining momentum.

I know from years of experience this is one of the major reasons why many people drop away from health and fitness, especially when they feel they are not achieving their goals quickly enough.

As you know I am all for arming ourselves with as many tools and options to keep us motivated and on track – being able to measure and keep a record of your fitness results can be a great way to keep your enthusiasm at a high.

When you can see the improvements in front of you it reinforces that your hard work is paying off and it doesn’t matter how big or small those results are, the reward is the positive step forward you are taking to make a change in your life.

This can all be done by doing a simple fitness test with a few basic exercises at the beginning of your fitness journey and then repeating the test every four to six weeks.

By recording your results you can monitor your progress and see how effective your fitness routine is and make adjustments accordingly. If you are seeing some positive results you know you are on the right track and should continue what you are doing.

But if you start to see your results stagnate then you know you need to change up your exercise to kick-start your results again.

Remember it usually takes a minimum of two to six weeks to see a demonstrable change in any aspect of fitness, so have a little patience as change never happens overnight.

Another benefit of doing fitness testing is it can identify your weaknesses and strengths and give you an indication of the areas you might need to work on – for example, cardio, strength, endurance, core and flexibility.

It can also provide incentives and motivation to aim for certain times and reps within the fitness testing – which can result in quicker gains.

Here are a few ideas for a beginner fitness test to get you started:

Run or walk for 500m and record your time.

Cardio and fitness test for time. Grab yourself a skipping rope and do 100 skips, then 10 reps of three body-weight exercises – I usually like to do squats, push-ups and sit-ups as it works the entire body. Do three rounds and record your time in a notebook with the date the fitness test was taken. Next time see if you have improved your time.

Hold a plank for as long as you can.

Do as many push-ups for one minute. You can also do this with squats, sit-ups or almost any body-weight exercise.

Remember to concentrate on form as there is no benefit to short-changing yourself with the exercise. Next time you repeat the test try doing more reps in the minute.

Always keep your fitness testing as simple and as uncomplicated as you can and remember to celebrate your achievements no matter how big or small and keep that motivation happening.

Shelley Myatt