“Believe it or not, people do sometimes think we personal trainers are miracle workers. And, yes, it’s not unknown for someone to ask us for a six-pack or a bikini body three weeks before hitting the beach!” And, as James Arnold, Wellness Manager at Sencio Community Leisure, adds “all that leads to is disappointment”.
“First-off, diets and quick fixes don’t work, and many can be expensive and not necessarily effective so let’s put those aside. What does work is consistency, and with that, 12 weeks is enough to see and feel a difference,” says James.
“People want to get fit for various reasons. It might be because of a health concern, or it can be a desire to look and feel better on the beach or to fit into a new outfit for a special occasion. The secret is planning and sticking at it. And, with that, you set-up a habit for the long-term rather than a fad for the short.
“Please ask our team for help as that’s what we love doing. We place the highest emphasis on our gyms being safe, supportive and motivating environments. And, as always, if you have any health concerns, you should always consult your GP before starting any exercise regime,” adds James, who we asked for his top tips.
Start a food diary
You don’t have to be obsessive, but it can really help. If weight loss is your goal, then the simple mantra is “calories in, calories out” – you must expend more than you consume. You don’t have to deprive yourself, but becoming aware of what you eat, when and in what quantities can be really empowering. Fitness trackers and apps such as My Fitness Pal can be extremely helpful.
Scales aren’t always an accurate indicator of weight, which can be impacted by more than what you ate last night and by factors such as how hydrated you are. Record your weight every two weeks. And remember muscle weighs more than fat so, you might not be getting lighter, but you may well be getting leaner. And don’t get fixated on the scales. Often, we instinctively know ourselves if we’re carrying some extra weight through our clothes and how we feel generally.
The first four weeks
Don’t overdo it. Go for a mixed programme of weights (no, we don’t mean body building, unless that’s your thing). Quality and consistency should be your goals. Start by lifting weights and get a trainer to write you a whole-body workout to do twice a week. Then, on the days in between, focus on cardio. Whilst your muscles recover, cardio can be great to help any muscle soreness and keep your metabolic rate high. One of our team will be happy to help you with a whole-body workout you can do twice a week.
Weeks four to eight
This is the time to up the intensity by increasing weights, adding in an extra gym session and, again, one of the team advise which exercises to do when. You should work on increasing the weight each set (called “progressive overload”) and, as you get stronger, keep adding as you go through your sets. Your muscles will respond to this and start to develop faster. Aim, if you can, for three weight sessions a week – a good split is to do “push” exercises one session and “pull” exercises the next as that ensures all body parts are exercised in a balanced way. You should also increase cardio to HIIT (high intensity interval training) – something like a Spin class is perfect.
In the final four weeks, just keep up the great work and – if you’ve followed these tips – you should start to see and feel a real change, physically and mentally. It’ll also give you a great platform from which to progress. Remember, this is the start of a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
After the 12 weeks, your body will have changed and you will be stronger, fitter and feeling much more confident around weights and the gym generally. You’ve done brilliantly. But as we say, this is just the beginning! Keep going!
And finally, why weights?
Many people, including some women, can feel intimidated by working-out with weights so, first off, you will not end up with muscles! It can even be difficult for young males to put on size so the chances of your average lady doing so are, frankly, non-existent. So, why weights? Well, here are some of the benefits. They won’t all apply to everyone, but they give you a general idea:
- You’ll be physically stronger, generally making you more able to undertake life’s daily tasks and – in later years – a stronger body can help reduce the risk of falls.
- You’ll look and feel better.
- Your metabolism will increase and that aids weight loss.
- Your self-confidence may well increase.
- You may sleep better.
- There is some evidence training with weights can improve heart health.
- And, like most forms of exercise, it can be as good for us mentally as well as physically. Those “happy hormones” from being active really are a thing!