Made A New Year’s Resolution To Get Fit and Lose Weight?

Personal Trainer Martin Swan gives a few tips on goal setting and diet

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This is the time of year when some people take a look at themselves and decide they don’t like what they see and make a New Year’s Resolution to get fit and lose weight.
Personal Trainer Martin Swan of Banking on Fitness gives a few tips on goal setting and diet.

Firstly set yourself a goal. It should be time framed, challenging but realistic. None of us are going to run as fast as Usain Bolt but a good but challenging example might be doing a sub one hour 10k in the summer. Set micro targets which build up to the main goal. Taking the 10k that might be increasing your distance by 1k a week and once you have achieved that then looking to up your pace.

As a minimum you should do 30 minutes of exercise per day which gets your heart at above 55% of your maximum heart rate. This can be split up and could include walking or cycling to work or even walking up the escalator on the tube.

In many cases your target may include an element of weight loss. If that is the case remember the simple equation that to lose weight calories consumed must be less than calories burnt, with men needing to consume as a minimum at least 2,500 kilocalories per day and women 2,000 kilocalories. Another and perhaps more accurate way of calculating your daily calorific consumption is to multiply your weight in kg by 25 and add between 25- 50% to the total depending how active your lifestyle is.

Keeping a food diary is a very good way of monitoring your calorie consumption. You can run one off the web and many will give you the calorific values for different foods to assist you in working out your calorific input. It is worth remembering that if you are working out as part of your weight loss programme some of your fat will be replaced by new lean muscle meaning you might not drop weight but the new muscle will help burn off calories more efficiently than before.

Also important is the composition of your diet. Roughly 55-60% of your calorific input should be from carbohydrates, 30% from fat and 10-15% from protein.

Another way to look at it is to think of your daily food intake as being a triangle or pyramid. At the bottom you have carbohydrates (which together with fats are your main energy source) – rice, bread, pasta (brown and wholemeal preferably), oats and cereals (non sugary). Have up to 11 portions a day. Then you have fruit and vegetables – have 5-9 portions and if you try to eat every colour in the rainbow you will be covering most bases for essential vitamins and minerals. Then split the next level in two with dairy (fats) on one side (preferably low calories i.e. skimmed milk) and proteins on the other.

Protein comes from lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, and soya. Have 2-3 portions of each of dairy and protein per day. At the apex of the triangle you have oils, fats and sweets. Try to have monounsatured or polyunsatured oils and fats such as those which come from oily fish, nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. These are good for helping cholesterol levels, blood pressure and lubricating muscles and joints. A search on the internet gives some excellent examples of food pyramids.

You won’t necessarily see results over night – Rome wasn’t built in a day. You will also have the odd bad day when you don’t feel like training. That is not a bad thing as rest is an essential part any training programme. That said the good news is that exercise releases endorphins which give you a sense of well being so the pain of working out should give you the gain of feeling better in yourself.



January 7, 2010