Making It Work

How to choose a fitness regime you will want to stick to as the days get colder & darker

This article first appeared in The Gloss magazine

I vividly recall one cold morning in early January last year when the car park at my local sports complex was full by 6.30am, with others still queuing to get in. I shrugged thinking that for most of these drivers, this new found dedication wouldn’t last (resolves like this rarely do). In fact, studies show that a staggering 70% of people that take up a new exercise routine in January, quit before the month is out. They don’t even last four weeks.

Platinum Pilates reformer

Platinum Pilates reformer

So before you pen your New Year resolutions – of which exercising more and eating less will invariably be high on the list – heed to the following tips from Milena Jaksic, founder of Dublin’s Platinum Pilates, which will set you up for the New Year and well beyond:

Commit to the long-term benefits, not the quick fix and you will have better chance of success. One of the biggest reasons for exercise failure is misplaced expectation.

If you go at it hard during the first couple of weeks, you will probably expect to reap the rewards fast. But weight loss and toning is a long road, so don’t let your initial disappointment leave you disheartened. Instead, know that bringing wellness into your life will bring positive life changes well beyond January.

Before starting out know that you may feel a lot worse for a short while. This very point is often the reason people give up so quickly.

It is well recognised that as soon as you cut out sugar, caffeine and alcohol, withdrawal signs including a dull headache, foggy brain or serious cravings start to set in. These symptoms won’t last long so bear with them for 2 days or so when you should start to feel brighter and more energised. If your symptoms persist it may be worth consulting your doctor to check if the plan is right for you.

How to achieve results:

  • 1. Keep a journal: It helps keep you motivated and becomes easier to see when you need to charge up your routine. There is something quite heartening about looking back over your exercise journal to see just how much you have achieved and how best to improve your routine further.

  • 2. Find an exercise class that you love: Whether it’s cross fit, pilates, spinning or barre, research shows that when you work out in a group you will adhere to the exercise far longer and get better results than working out alone.

  • 3. When cleaning up your diet keep it simple: Drink more water, cut down on processed foods and add more green vegetables – do this every day and you will see dramatic weight loss, while also feeling much better about yourself. Lastly and most importantly, make working out part of your life.

  • 4. Exercise is something we all need. This is a proven fact but often difficult to incorporate into our busy lives. Just like brushing your teeth, you don’t even question it. Do the same with exercise. Even 15 minutes will suffice but do it every day. It will change your life for the better.