Your health and fitness should be a priority. After all, we are all given only the one body. Respect your body and you will be able to enhance your body image, self esteem, self image, productivity, quality of life, feeling of wellbeing, sense of accomplishment and overall being. Many people, however, fail to do so. As a result, their body will show signs of disrespect, whether that results in lack of concentration, disease or injury.
Sit down and think for a second - are you doing the most that you can possibly do for yourself? Do you respect your body? Does your body respect you? Do you feel confident, energetic, full of life and proud of where you currently stand? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then ask yourself, "How can I improve this aspect of my life?"
There are many products and services currently available on the market within the health and fitness industry, all geared toward enhancing your body in one way or another. Some examples include protein shakes, thermogenic tablets, diets, books, gyms, personal trainers, abdominal machines and toning products. One approach may work for someone, whilst another may work for someone else. So, what is the best approach for you to achieve your goals? Throughout this article, we will examine various popular methods that are available to assist you in achieving your health and fitness goals.
Supplements can form an integral part to your exercise and training regime, if utilised appropriately with respect to your goals. However, whilst there are many high-quality supplements currently available on the market, no single supplement in isolation will "transform" your body. Supplements will only be effective when integrated into an exercise and nutritional program that is geared toward your goals.
For example, one of the most popular and effective supplements on the market today would be protein powder. Many people who are seeking to gain muscle, tone up or lose weight integrate may some form of protein shake into their daily regime in order to enhance their progress toward their goals. In essence, the objective of using a protein supplement is to provide some high quality protein into your daily dietary regime. Now let's consider that a male, John, was seeking to bulk up and was consuming one protein shake each day. This protein shake would only be truly effective if John:
- Was consuming the correct amount of protein for his body type and goals
- Was consuming the protein shake at the correct time of the day
- Was consuming a sound diet that would form the foundation of his nutrient intake, ultimately accelerating his muscle building results
- Was lifting weights in a manner to stimulate an effective muscle growth response
- Was recovering in an effective manner in order to allow an effective level of protein synthesis (ie. Muscle building)
- Among many other factors
Similarly, there are many thermogenic products currently available on the market. Thermogenic products are designed to increase your body's metabolic rate, thereby expending more calories per day. This would suggest that more fat is broken down relative to not taking the supplement at all.
There is very inconclusive research available with regards to the effectiveness of thermogenic, or "fat burning" supplements that are available within Australia. Yet, there are many of these products currently available on the market. If you perform a quick online search on any of these products, you will discover that there is a mixed consumer opinion regarding their effectiveness. However, those who claim that they are effective will generally concede that they are not a "wonder" supplement. These products have typically been designed to enhance (not replace) an appropriate exercise and nutritional regime. By consuming a poor diet, a supplement of this nature will be very ineffective and costly.
Correct nutrition is absolutely vital for safe, healthy and effective weight loss. It has been well established that in order to lose weight, you need to be in an energy (or calorie/kilojoule) deficit. Considering that our sole intake of calories comes from the foods we consume, we therefore have to pay special attention to what we eat.
On the surface, dieting seems very effective. Limit the number of calories that you consume, create a calorie deficit and weight loss should occur (keep in mind that we are not considering people with exceptional circumstances, such as those with a medical condition present). There are many dietary products available on the market that will create a calorie deficit and thus result in weight loss. However, what many diets do not consider adequately include:
- General health and ensuring that adequate nutrients are consumed
- Exercise, which is essential for a healthy body
- Long-term viability, rather than short-term rapid weight loss
- Palatability and enjoyment of the food that is being consumed
Weight cycling is a very common consequence of repetitive dieting. People who experience this are commonly termed "yo-yo dieters" that typically lose a lot of weight in a short period of time and then regain it once the diet is ceased. Apart from being very discouraging, this also poses many serious health risks.
Exercise is very important for enhancing one's general health and wellbeing. Apart from being a great way to expend calories (thereby helping to create a calorie deficit), exercise can aid you with fat loss, muscle gain, toning, enhancing your fitness, reducing the risk of disease, enhancing your concentration and so on.
Exercise machines come in many shapes and forms. There are your "as seen on TV" exercise machines, home gym machines, cardio machines, abdominal machines...and the list goes on. Prior to purchasing a machine, you need to establish what your individual goals are in a specific manner. Next, scrutinise the product:
- Do you know what this machine will result in?
- How effective is this machine?
- Are the company's claims substantiated by sources other than the company itself?
- Is the machine worth the investment?
- How else would you be able to achieve your goals?
- Is this the most effective way to achieve your goals?
Ask yourself these questions and research the machine that you intend to purchase. I stress this because, due to the relatively poor regulation of the fitness industry, company claims can often be misleading.
A very common form of exercise apparatus advertised on television are the abdominal machines that may claim to flatten your stomach. However the end result can often be contrary to the promises. Flattening your stomach involves more attention than performing a few crunches. This is because you need to focus on muscle gain and fat loss. Crunches (or any abdominal exercise for that matter) will not necessarily assist with fat loss around the midsection, because it is not possible to "choose" a spot to lose fat from. This myth is known as "spot reduction". For example, you could be running and lose more fat from your arms than your legs. Fat loss is going to occur from a calorie deficit, through the careful consideration of nutrition and exercise. Meanwhile, to build your abdominal muscles, this will require special attention to the type of exercise being performed for the abdominals in conjunction with a sound nutritional regime.
Joining a gym can be an excellent start to enhancing your lifestyle. Exercise can have some profound benefits upon your body which can transcend into your work, social and family life. For example, exercise can reduce stress and thus increase happiness, focus and productivity.
A major concern regarding the use of a gym is knowing "how" to use this facility effectively for your goals. For example, if you want to lose weight, what do you do at the gym? Do you run, use the bike, lift weights, do classes or a combination? Conversely if you wanted to build muscle, what weight machines do you use? Do you perform cardio? Here are some aspects to consider when training in a gym:
- Know what exercises and exercise machines are the most effective for your goals
- Deduce an effective format for your training (eg. Type of interval/aerobic/progressive overload cardio, sets, reps, rest times etc.)
- Have a structured and specific training plan
- Incorporate some way of measuring your progress into your training
- Understand the optimal length of training time per session for your goals
- Ensure your program is safe and is not likely to aggravate or induce an injury
- Ensure that you are performing the exercises correctly
- Train at a suitable intensity for your goals and body
- Importantly, are your nutritional habits complimenting your workouts?
Of course there are many other considerations to be made when training in a gym such as service, price and ambience.
Hiring a personal trainer can be a daunting task - you are putting your trust into a professional in order to achieve your personal health and fitness goals. Apart from there being a financial investment, there can be a lot of emotional, time and effort invested with a personal trainer.
The primary advantage of utilising a personal trainer is that this professional can help you to develop a holistic approach to achieve your specific goals. Your personal trainer is your central hub for your nutrition, supplementation, exercise and general lifestyle.
Nowadays, there are two primary options with personal training. Face-to-face and online. The primary advantages of a face-to-face personal trainer include:
- Them just "being there" and the emotional connection associated with this
- The ability to be pushed harder than what you would on your own
- To show you how to perform exercises safely and effectively
- The ability to discuss issues face-to-face
Meanwhile, the primary advantages of hiring an online personal trainer include:
- Reduced cost because the trainer doesn't have to physically be with you
- The ability to contact the trainer several times per week as opposed to only during a session
- Often more information and educational resources are provided/referenced
- The ability to train by yourself without distraction
Of course, whilst the latest supplement, diet, exercise machine or gym may be a cheaper option, unless you know what you're doing, you will most likely not achieve your goals in the expected time frame. Investing into a personal trainer can be a worthwhile, fun and liberating experience.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some "food for thought". If you are serious about achieving your health and fitness goals, do something about it now! Please feel free to enquire about our online and face-to-face personal training services if you feel that this is a suitable option for you. I wish you the best of luck with your health and fitness endeavours!