With January drawing to a close, you may be celebrating a successful month of committing to your New Year’s resolution – or alternatively, you may be gearing up for a second attempt of achieving that all-important goal in the months to come. For many of us, New Year’s resolutions mean improving our health and fitness, but this can mean many different things to each of us. Whether it’s reducing your sugar intake or improving your cardiovascular fitness, each of us feel the need to improve in different areas. At the beginning of each year, our fitness instructors at our Champneys spa resorts up and down the country help countless people to meet their New Year’s goals, so if you’re curious to see what others are aiming to achieve this year, or you’re simply looking for some inspiration, here our instructors share their most popular client New Year’s resolutions…
These days, fit is the new thin, and many of us aim to be supple, defined and slim in a subtle way. However, it can be easy to fall into the trap of fad diets in the New Year that are difficult to maintain and often don’t help to retain a lean physique. That’s why so many people come to Champneys looking for an instructor to help them achieve that desired lean shape through a sustainable combination of diet and exercise.
Fitness instructor Tom Callingham explains that he encounters many clients in the New Year aiming to get toned. He says:
“A combination of a well-balanced diet and a tailor-made exercise programme will burn excess fat and define your shape. Our Nutrition Consultations, Personal Training Sessions and Exercise Prescriptions at Champneys have proved very popular and are an ideal way to start your journey to a leaner you.”
Losing weight is perhaps the most common of all New Year’s resolutions – fitness-related and otherwise. Tom comments, “This will always be among the most popular resolutions, and because it continues to dominate such polls, [this] shows how difficult it can be.” A combination of cardiovascular activity such as running and swimming along with full-body toning exercising such as weighted lifts are widely regarded as the quickest way to lose fat. However, diet is essential – as Tom notes, “we’d recommend that you keep a food journal as well.”
Although many people primarily focus on exercise resolutions as a means of feeling better about themselves in terms of fitness and appearance, there are incredible benefits to be had in terms of flexibility, too. Fitness instructor Jordan Forman comments, “If you feel like you suffer with tight muscles and restricted movement in certain places around your body, like so many of our guests and clients, then maybe 2017 is the year to change that. At Champneys we provide personal stretch instructors to get people in their best possible shape. It’s also great for improving mental wellbeing, thus reducing stress levels too.”
Of course, at the core of any successful fitness plan is confidence. So, it is no surprise that many people’s New Year’s resolutions are a means of feeling better in themselves – inside and out. Champneys instructor Becky Uterhark notes: “Confidence can be an issue in regards to getting people out of the house and into the gym. Many people are daunted by the experience, but fear not, you’re not alone. Something I recommend is working on your posture and ways to help you feel taller, stronger and more confident. That can be achieved through Pilates, which focuses on core strength and lengthening. Give a beginners Pilates a go, and maybe even take a friend along which always helps when you step outside your comfort zone. A thing to remember when you’re in a gym is that, in truth, no one else cares about what you’re doing. They are far too busy involved in their own workouts. Just think confidently, believe you are strong and believe you are worthy of life freedom too.”
Whilst some are blessed with a naturally-speedy metabolism, others require a little kick-start to get our systems to processing our food in the most effective way possible. Improving the metabolism is one of the most popular resolutions Champneys clients share with instructors. As Tom Callingham advises, “This can be achieved with a tailor-made and varied resistance programme (this does not have to be lifting weights in a gym) that increases your daily calorie burn. It will also help maintain a healthy body composition and fat percentage.”
Not everyone simply wants to shed weight in the New Year – many Champneys clients in fact undertake tailored fitness plans to target specific areas, such as upper body strength. Jordan Forman says: “If you find yourself struggling to carry things on a daily basis, you’re be among the many people who want to improve this aspect of their body. A good combination of body weight resistance mixed in with a personalised weight programme is a great way to start making a stronger you.”
One of the main barriers holding individuals back from sticking to their New Year’s fitness resolutions is a lack of time. What with work, home life and other commitments, maintaining a dedicated exercise plan can seem like a big feat. As Tom notes, “It’s common for people to say that they don’t have enough time to exercise. But exercise doesn’t just have to be done in the gym. At Champneys, we talk to loads of clients and work with them to devise a plan for the home. It might involve small chunks of exercise spread out throughout the day in simple, easy to manage steps. You can even turn household chores into an effective cardio session.” Whatever your routine, there is guaranteed to be a way of fitting exercise seamlessly into daily life.
“Everyone would love a bit more energy wouldn’t they?” notes Becky Uterhark. Whether it’s feeling lethargic at your desk or missing out on social occasions because you’re simply too tired, lacking energy can be a real inconvenience preventing us from maximising our potential. However, as Becky says, “We’re not talking about the energy that comes from a can or in sweet form. In fact, if you want more energy, I would suggest staying away from all kinds of refined sugar.” Understanding how to boost energy levels is one of the most common resolutions clients consult nutritionists and instructors about, looking to formulate a plan that, through diet and exercise, will make them feel energised and inspired.
Tom comments that one resolution that is becoming increasingly common is less about the results of a workout and more about the experience itself. He says, “More and more of our clients are asking about moving away from training solo. Working out with a partner will certainly provide extra motivation, especially when choosing someone who has similar fitness goals to your own. They will help push you on, keep you accountable and will also make the gym environment more fun.” If you’re struggling to find the perfect training partner, a fitness boot camp is the ideal place to meet like-minded individuals, get motivated and find out why exercising with others is so popular.
Finally, one of the resolutions that is brought up time and again in the New Year is to conquer the pull up. Tom shares; “Be it men or women, this is without doubt one of the most requested exercises that people want to master. But it’s also one of the most difficult. The rewards are great, though. Besides a more defined back, you’ll also gain arm and core power and improve your strength in relation to your body mass. It’s not the easiest to master, but it’s an exercise that can be developed in stages - as you can see on the Champneys Instagram account.”
If you’re serious about keeping your New Year’s fitness resolutions, then it’s about more than simply sticking to your diet and exercise plans. There are certain factors that all successful exercise plans have in common, so bear these tips from our instructors in mind while you’re reviewing your progress thus far and planning into the future:
“When it comes to dieting and losing weight, start small. There’s no need for a drastic overhaul. To begin with simply start with breakfast; everything else can stay the same (for now). Just be sure to get your breakfast right. The same applies to exercise. Some of our guests and clients come in and think that four one-hour sessions per week is the way to go. But that’s too much. 90 per cent of those people will fail to maintain that. I’d recommend 10-15 minutes twice per week for those that are relatively new to exercise. Build that habit over the first month or so, then increase the time. Anything else is a bonus. Build the habit first and the body will come.”
“This is where personal training becomes important. We’re here to motivate and help clients achieve what they set out to do. If you’re accountable to someone then you are much more likely to continue that behaviour. Training partners are good, and making your goals public on social media also helps some. Think: ‘I’m going to achieve X by Y and will post photos of my progress.’”
“Spend some time getting to the bottom of those resolutions: what are the real reasons you want to lose weight? For example: “I want to lose weight from my stomach area”. Why? “Because I have a wedding in three months”. Why not buy a bigger dress? “Because my ex-boyfriend is at the wedding and I want to get back with him”. The goal has now changed from losing weight to getting an ex back. This will be an important motivational tool and understanding that relationship with a personal trainer is what separates a Champneys PT from a box standard gym PT. We think about the bigger picture.”
Whatever your New Year’s resolution, taking the time of understand exactly what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it is key. So, next time you’re going out on that run or preparing that salad, keep in mind your motivation, reasons and goals and you’ll be on your way to maintaining a balance that will improve your lifestyle in 2017.