Dmitri Tkatchev (the hot guy, above) is a Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist, Reformer Pilates Instructor, and founder of Epoch Fitness. He works largely in antenatal and postnatal fitness, and in his new monthly column focuses on achievable fitness goals to lift the body and the soul.
And so it begins. 2015 is here and with it comes the promise of a fresh start. The year when we take control of our health and fitness and find that elusive moderation. Wishful thinking? Not at all. The intentions are certainly there as indicated by the various resolutions we set ourselves on annual bases.
My goal as a Personal Trainer is to make sure that the health and fitness plans made by our clients lead to fruition. To succeed these goals must maintain their clarity, purpose and momentum throughout the year. Otherwise they risk being abandoned for the lack of space in the already busy, socially demanding and – at times – willpower-challenged lives.
So what is the key to achieving those goals and creating a real positive change that lasts? More importantly how can you ensure that your health intentions do not overload an already packed itinerary?
Keep it simple. The biggest obstacle to making a lasting, positive change to health is overcomplicating. People make too many resolutions that are often intangible and unrealistic. The result is lack of focus and disconnect from the main purpose of setting such goals – improving your health. I want to show you how focusing on only one area this year is a much better strategy to improving your overal health.
Find your key
I find that very often there is only one (sometimes two) issues on which everything else hinges. Focusing on that one key area brings everything else into focus and makes everything else fall into place. One example would be habitual sleep deprivation. Scientific evidence suggests that lack of adequate sleep can lead to one or more of the following: elevated stress hormones, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, increased food intake, consumption of energy dense food/drinks, reduced cognitive function and increased likelihood of mental disorders. Focus on getting more sleep and lo and behold, you are less stressed, you start to reduce fat weight, improve your metabolic profile, improve cognitive function. The list goes on.
You can see how focusing on one goal, here improving sleep (which I accept is hard when you have young children – but must be prioritised whether that means taking turns with a partner, or going to bed earlier), can have a powerful effect on the variety health issues, many of which are often goals in their own right.
Pursuit of better health is not a burden. It is a process that helps you to reinforce many other areas of your life
Today I encourage you to do a very simple, 3-step exercise that helps many of my clients stay on track throughout the year.
1. Make a list of health and fitness issues that you feel need improving in your life, e.g. sleeping, smoking, drinking, nutrition, walking, exercise… The list could be long or short. These are not necessarily your goals for this year but a list of areas where you feel improvement will benefit your health. The purpose is to frame your state of intention and give you a better understanding of the ideal scenario.
2. Prioritise the list by rewriting it in order of most to least important. Don’t overthink it, this should not take long.
3. Now pick one issue from the top of that list that you feel will have a positive impact on the others. This will require a little thought, but again avoid over thinking. Is too much alcohol the reason behind your food binges/stress/lack of sleep? Is complete lack of exercise the reason behind your increased stress levels/low energy/back or joint problems? Could excessive intake of caffeine be the reason behind your mood swings/poor appetite/late night binging?
Look out for that one key issue that effects a multitude of others. This should be your goal for the year. Focusing on this one area will have positive impact on the others and will inevitably lead to overall improvement to your health.
Remember the goal is the betterment of your health. With that in mind, any step towards improving that one area is a plus. Getting more sleep even on one or two days of your week will improve both your physical and mental health the very next day. And if that is all your lifestyle allows you, do that.
Pursuit of better health is not a burden. It is a process that helps you to reinforce many other areas of your life. The intention to be healthier is often all we need. As long as the intention is there it will always lead to positive action. Eat well, be well, stay healthy.
Have a question relating to exercise and nutrition? Get in touch – email@example.com – and Dmitri will aim to answer you in his column