I actually really don’t like that word. I only used it in the title because it’s a pretty general term. Much like the word (dare I say it) ‘D.I.E.T’ ( I prefer Nutrition Plan), the word ‘Exercise’ has negative connotations. I prefer the words ‘Train’, Training’, ‘Fitness’, and ‘Workout’. And add ‘Session’ to these last three. So, for the rest of this Post, let’s use the other four words (Train, Training, Fitness, Workout) instead! They sound more approachable, positive and action packed, like their affirming a goal, or giving you something to look forward too!
So, what is it about Fitness that freaks people out? Is it the thought of having to sign up to a gym and spend money (financial)?
Or is it the intimidation of being around other people who are near perfect physical specimens (confidence)?
Or is it just the fact of having to actually get into a routine and commit to a Training Program on a regular basis (laziness)?
These Top 5 tips above are meant to be based on common sense, around sound lifestyle principles that you know you should be following, but don’t / can’t due to other priorities and commitments (Work and Family/Friends mostly). The irony is, when you make time to get these five basics right, you’ll be on your way to actually have more meaningful time and interactions with each of these latter three.
Whether it’s been years or months since you last had a Training Plan, or whether you have never had a workout, this articles is the 101 on what Core Health Dynamics sees as being the critical starting points based on our experience in training all sorts of people from all sorts of life. Let’s start with number…
#5 – Just MOVE: Did you read my Post on the Top 5 Winter Training Tips? If not, you should…and while you’re there read all of my other Posts too, they’re there to make you better! 🙂 Anyway…Chris Kresser has a great article on why he calls “sitting is the new smoking”. Why did he term this phrase? Because being sedentary for too long is not good for you. It even has its own acronym now – SeDS: Sedentary Death Syndrome !
Use the stairs instead of the escalators;
walk to the shop to get groceries;
take the dog for a walk in the park;
get up and walk outside to grab lunch when at work;
on the way back from a meeting walk that extra block back to the office.
We live in a world where you don’t have to actually move for anything – food, entertainment, work! I’m sure you can think of more (are you on the train reading this?). This sedentary lifestyle is linked to Obesity, Type II Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome amongst other ‘modern day’ epidemics. So for your own health, and to start you on your Fitness routine, just move: Use the stairs instead of the escalators; walk to the shop to get groceries; take the dog for a walk in the park; get up and walk outside to grab lunch when at work;. on the way back from a meeting walk that extra block back to the office.
Want more motivation?
Buy a Fitbit* or UP *or other similar device that helps track and measure your steps (amongst a few other cool things). I use one of these and I can tell you that even I will leave 5 minutes early to a Client’s appointment just so I can take the long way round on foot, it’s amazing how they make you want to take more steps! (*nope, I’m not affiliated or sponsored by either of these products, just speaking from experience).
#4 – Have an honest look at your EATING:
Want to lose that belly fast? Eat better.
Want to have more energy? Eat better.
Want to be in a better mood? Eat better.
Stay away from sugar;
stay away from vegetable oils;…
and stay away from the white carbs…
You get the idea. Also, you know you have to eat better, regardless of doing a regular Training Program or not. It’s common sense, and it’s pounded into us from the moment our little baby ears start working! Trouble is, there is a lot of mis-information and contradictory thoughts on what ‘eating better’ looks like. I could (and will) do a whole series of posts on nutrition, but for now, do this:
Stay away from sugar; stay away from ‘vegetable’ oils (“…which isn’t (sic) made from vegetables at all, but manufactured from seeds” – David Gillespie ) ; and stay away from the white carbs (bread, flour, cakes, biscuits/cookies, muffins, etc….you know the stuff I mean).
Eating better doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, it’s very affordable when you forego several ‘fast food’ or ‘junk food’ options. Shop around, make time to cook and eat healthily, and you will feel better!
#3 – Drink WATER for energy: ‘300’ ! What a movie! have you seen it? It’s very Alpha-Male, and not one for the kids, but man, it has some great action scenes and after watching it, it just makes you want to go bust out some core work followed by a few push-ups!. Actually, there is something in it for the Ladies as well – Gerard Butler running around in red Speedo’s with 299 of his Mates, all looking buffed and ready to impregnate every last woman in Sparta!
What about ‘ When we were Kings’? It’s the documentary of the Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman fight in Zaire in 1974. It’s Ali at the height of his powers, all class, funny as hell, and a lot smarter than most gave him credit for. He’s also in peak physical condition (as was Foreman for that matter).
These are two movies that get me fired up to do a workout! But, what has this got to do with water?
Your body is water;
therefore you need water to power it!
Well, both stories are true, albeit ‘300’ being a fictionalized movie version of the real event (it did happen though, click here on Battle of Thermopylae , it’s a really cool story!… I’m digressing…) Yes, both true, and I’m fairly sure that both Muhammad Ali and the Spartans did their heroics without the need for Sports Drinks, Protein Shakes , or highly caffeinated and chemical laden cans of energy drinks! They drank water!
Your body is 70% – 80% water depending on what White Paper you read. When you physically exert yourself, you sweat water. When you sleep, you lose water. When you breathe, you breathe out water (in molecules in the gases that are exhaled). Your body is water; therefore you need water to power it!
Drink water – it’s cheap, accessible, and has so many other benefits apart from powering your body
#2 – SLEEP 7 – 9 hours per night: Sleep is not sexy to read about! If you don’t want to lose an audience, this is one of the topics you stay away from! But, sleep is so crucial to you getting into a fitness routine, and for overall health, that it is and always be in my top 5 tips of any successful health and fitness program!
There are so many variables about why it can be difficult to get prolonged, sustained sleep. And there are so many reasons why you should do everything you can to overcome these and get this refueling time your body craves. This Post would never be long enough to go through all of these, however I do recommend ‘The Sleep Diet’ by Dr. Carmel Harrington  for anyone wanting to know more about this, especially if you are having issues getting the requisite 7 to 9 hours per night.
#1 – Have a GOAL: Want to know how I got into Personal Training? I ran out of goals!
I’ve played a sport, usually multiple sports, some at a fairly high level, since I can remember. Growing up in the country on the east coast of Australia, with mountains on one side of us, and the beach on the other, my parents signed me up for anything and everything sporting!
However, when I hit my late thirties, my body started to revolt! It got to the point that my right shoulder, my right knee, my left calf muscle, and both hips would ‘lock up’ the mornings, due to years of playing contact sport, or after any physical exertion. Seeing as I had three small but very active children, I thought it best to hang up the footy boots, and concentrate on lower impact, non-competitive pursuits. Plus I liked wrestling my sons and throwing my Daughter up in the air, things that were becoming hard to do due to ongoing niggling injuries. So I stopped playing sport. I still surfed, I can’t ever seeing that stopping; and I swam laps at pool; but I didn’t race. I got lazy, stressed, out of shape and stopped sleeping well.
No goals means no reason:
no reason to train,
no reason to get up early or do that extra set;
no reason to eat correctly;
no reason to question why you’re puffing walking up a flight of stairs.
Why? Because I didn’t have anything to train for, nothing to strive for, not health or fitness routine whatsoever. Basically, I had no goals!
No goals means no reason: no reason to train, no reason to get up early or do that extra set; no reason to eat correctly; no reason to question why you’re puffing walking up a flight of stairs. I didn’t like it very much, and I didn’t like what I was becoming. So I needed a goal, and that goal was to learn a little more about what was, in hindsight, a life long passion: Fitness!
I went and completed my Certificate III in Fitness, and it just snowballed from there, in lots of brilliant ways that are still happening even as I write this Post!
Importantly, I have my goal back: to be fit, healthy and well; to live long enough to ensure my kids are also fit and healthy; and to be the best version of myself I can possibly be! That’s my personal goal, and it drives me every waking hour of every day! It’s hugely motivating and places me in a perpetually happy, driven mood!
A goal can be something simple, something that will just put a smile on your face: Doing 20 push ups in a row; losing a couple of inches off the belly; playing footy in the backyard with your kids without your chest tightening.
Or a goal can be something grand: Climbing Mt.Kilimanjaro for a Charity; surfing the islands in Fiji with your wife; wanting to be physically able and coordinated enough take your new-born son out Kayak Fishing with you when he gets old enough…
What will your goal be?
To recap on the Core Health Dynamics Top 5 of How to start exercising:
1. Just Move
2. Take an honest look at your Eating
3. Drink Water for energy
4. Sleep 7 – 9 hours per night
5. Have a Goal(s)
Note that none of these tips forcing you to spend extra money, do a quiz, follow an extreme nutrition plan, join a gym or sign up for a Marathon ( or take on Persians or George Foreman)!
Finally, how do you start? Well, you just do! Choose all five tips above (this is doable), or just two to three to begin with, then go from there. So go! Go on! Right now! What is the first of these you can do immediately?
…look, I’ll even start you off – get up, walk to the fridge, and grab a glass of water.
Congratulations – You’ve done two already! 🙂
Sources and Notes:
 Toxic Oil – Why vegetable oil will kill you, and how to save yourself – David Gillespie, Penguin, 2012.
 Want the ‘300 Workout Plan’? Go here: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/300-spartan-workout
 I’m very fussy on Protein Shakes, although I do take one myself. Just email me if you want to know more.
 The Sleep Diet – Why sleeping well is the missing link to permanent weight loss – Dr. Carmel Harrington, Pan Macmillan, 2012