When I meet someone new and they ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I’m a personal trainer, invariably the response is “Oh, you must be really fit then!” Well, not really! I’m not the type of trainer to use my clients’ time to upgrade my own fitness, bashing out thirty flash press ups while my client is struggling away. I used to be quite fit but, since children, (yes, I’m blaming them 🙂 ) there’s been a steady decline over the past seventeen years in my strength and running speed. Age is obviously a factor, but research shows that regular exercise can dramatically slow the physical decline that occurs with age, so I can’t lay total blame there.
We all lead busy lives, and making time for exercise has to be a priority in order to have a chance at maintaining a routine. A client said to me this week “how do you make sure you get your weights done?”. What works for me (mainly) is to write on my calendar for the week ahead dates and times I will do my weights sessions. Twice a week a big red ‘W’ signifies that I’ll be busy puffing away with my dumbbells. I’m specific about times (3 or 4 pm works well for me) to increase my chances of success. I have to remember when I turn over the calendar at the end of each month to mark out the new weeks’ ‘W’s or I might forget all about it! Well, I’m not perfect, are you?
What is paramount, and I must have said this before many times, is to find an activity you like doing, and then it’s not so much of an effort to a) remember, and b) to do. I love running. I love doing weights. I love walking, cycling and yoga. So, it’s generally easy for me to motivate myself to do it once I’ve planned it in.
Strength training, in an ideal world, is best done two to three times a week. Let’s call that twice. If you can schedule one structured twenty minute resistance session into your week, and add in several other activities over the week that cause overload to your muscles, you’ll be doing very well. Yoga, gardening, heavy household chores, carrying shopping etc. all count.
Instead of aiming for perfection, aim to do the best you realistically can. Plan ahead, do the things you love, and enjoy the journey.