As personal trainers, we have a responsibility to look after ourselves and be a positive role model for our clients. Part of being a role model as a trainer means being in shape, this doesn’t need to be a six-pack, lift the heaviest weight or to run the fastest marathon but you have to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.
There is often a perception that personal trainers live a ‘monk’ type life of eating perfect meals, have no junk food, train every day and take various supplements to stay in shape, whilst this may be true for some, the majority of coaches we know, do not live like this.
Below we are going to share our coaches top tips for keeping in shape that doesn’t involve living in the gym, eating out of Tupperware every day or taking any special supplements.
Tip 1. INVISIBLE TRAINING
A key factor to staying in shape is to have a higher amount of energy expenditure (activity) compared to your energy consumption (food). A great way to do this is by being active every day, this doesn’t mean you have to go the gym every day, in fact being more active in your day-to-day activities can have an overall bigger impact than the gym.
Think of it like this, if we take two people Bill and Steve.
Bill goes to the gym 5 times per week for an hour, his job leaves him sitting at a desk for 8 hours per day on the 6th floor of an office building that he always uses the lift to get to and he drives to and from work.
Steve goes to the gym 3 times per week, has the same job as Bill but he walks 30 minutes to and from work every day. He takes the stairs where possible; he also has a dog that he takes for a walk every day.
So whilst Bill spends more time in the gym, overall Steve is using a lot more energy throughout the week and without putting the extra sweat of being in the gym.
How can you include invisible training to stay in shape?
- Find other hobbies outside of the gym that involves physical activity
- Walk when you can
- Take the stairs, walk up the escalators.
Tip 2. DON’T FOLLOW FAD DIETS
Ask someone in good shape what diet they are on, most likely the response will be “ I’m not on any diet, I just eat healthy most of the time “ or something along those lines.
Healthy eating is just a part of their lifestyle, we need to change our thinking from the mentality of hopping from one diet to another and break away from the ‘diet’ mindset and realise we are all on a diet.
The dictionary definition of a diet is:
“the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”
Any successful dietary approach is built around a high % of your food intake being from ‘natural’ sources. However you want to frame it, the 80/20 rule is a good starting point. If 80% of your diet is from whole natural food sources, the other 20% may be from other not so nutrient-rich sources.
Beyond this, we need to personalise our diets to suit our preferences. What foods make you feel good? What foods if you eat regularly are leaving you feeling fit and healthy? How many meals per day works for your lifestyle?
Learning to create your own diet that promotes healthy living will do more for you than diet hopping from one approach to another.
Tip 3. ENJOY YOUR TRAINING
While training may not be the same kind of fun as being out for dinner with a group of old friends sharing timeless stories, it does need to be enjoyable and fun.
If you do not enjoy your training sessions and the thought of going to the gym bores you then you’re not going to apply yourself in the best way you can, which is going to affect your results.
If you enjoy your training you will put more effort in and the process of training will become far more enjoyable, which is key for long-term success. Now there will be days that you feel less motivated than others however if you enjoy the training you’re more likely to still turn up and get it done.
There are many different training approaches out there, find something you enjoy that you can adhere to and you’re ticking a big box for staying in shape.
Tip 4. BE CALORIE CONSCIOUS
Contrary to what some believe, you do not need to count every calorie you put in your mouth to get in shape however there does need to be an awareness of what you are putting in your mouth.
Reading food labels, understanding what foods contain, having a rough idea of how much food you can consume to stay in shape, knowing when to adjust your food intake such as skipping meals to save calories because you’re planning on being out for dinner with friends and boozing later in the day and you would prefer to spend the calories here.
Having this awareness allows you to understand what your body needs and how to adjust it for your life.
Tip 5. FOCUS ON QUALITY WORKOUTS
When you train you want to have workouts that provide you with the biggest returns for your efforts. This means spending most of our focus on exercises that allow us to overload the body over time so that we can continue to progress, using multiple muscle groups in one movement giving us a high energy output. Think of movements like squats, deadlifts, pull ups and push ups, these movements should create the foundation of your workouts.
These types of movements will do far more for you then spending an hour focusing on bicep curls and glute kickbacks, which by the way have their place but as the dessert, not the main course.