January and early February (post January pay day) is a time of year when, as a fitness business owner, I’m often overwhelmed with prospective emails and interest in classes and services.
Good for business? Sort of.
Good for the health of the prospective participant? Potentially.
Without wishing to sound negative, the flurry of interest, particularly in January, is often triggered by the ‘new year new you’ marketing in mainstream and social media. People WANT to get fitter so doing all the classes and all the stuff that promises the holy grail of body confidence and optimal health and vitality seems to be the right thing to do.
But it comes with so many questions:
Can I optimise my running?
Which running event do I book onto?
Can I do all of your classes, every week? How can I look like *him*?
This news article says *insert fad diet or fitness thing here*. Should I be doing that or this or all of these?
My friend says she’s achieved *insert genetic and lifestyle specific achievement here* doing *insert fad diet or fitness thing here*. Why can’t I?
Why don’t I look like Davina after 10 minutes a day?
I’ve got a new fitness tracker/watch but I still just use it to tell the time.
Which book should I read first?
There’s just so much. And it gets all a bit messy and muddled so that if you do drop a ball – your child gets sick or it snows (for any non UK readers a mere sprinkling of snow is enough to halt life over here) – it can be very difficult to claw your way back to the levels of fitness service you over promised yourself.
So. In order to cut through the noise and start to achieve the fitness promises you’ve made yourself, I’d propose a little fitness and health de-clutter. And February is absolutely the perfect month to do it before you lose your good intentions and get overcome by the lure of the chocolate egg.
By streamlining your fitness efforts you are far more likely to stick at it, get a far greater sense of achievement AND get results
1. Streamline your workout wardrobe
Few things motivate me more than the need to have a new ‘thing’ to wear for my training. This week I’ve bought a swimming nose clip and handwarmers for my bike rides. BUT if you have draws full of gadgets, leggings, shorts and shirts you never use, get rid of them. Put all your essential accessories like gloves, hats or earphones in one place, so you now where they are. Then work out what you actually wear when you run, swim, attend classes or walk? Select a few key ‘outfits’ from socks to head gear then be ruthless with the rest. Do consider seasonal changes. I’m still in winter weight leggings but if it doesn’t make you feel fabulous (or keep you warm) lose it.
2. Optimise your workouts
What is working for you and what is a ‘nice to have’? If you’re training for a running event then you’ll need your training runs, mobility and strength and conditioning workouts. If it’s a fitness programme that’s just ticking you along then assess which classes or workouts you love or need then make the rest secondary goals. Trying ‘all the stuff’ isn’t necessarily the way to a fitter you. In fact, it’s just likely to overwhelm you and make you tired. Stick to the sessions you know you can do, give them your best and anything more is a bonus – just for fun.
3. Schedule your workouts
When does your training work for you? Could you fit a session into your working day or make a regular meeting with a friend for your steady state, conditioning run? Could you find a class at a time when you’re children are at school or get a swim in whilst your children are at their swimming lessons? Don’t leave it to chance. If your workout is your last priority, not only will it rarely get done but it’s not a positive message to send to yourself.
4. Sort fitness facts from fads and fiction
If there is one thing I’d urge you to do in order to de-clutter your head space when it comes to fitness and nutrition, it’s to know your facts. Check out who has commissioned the research for a study, speak to a trusted source or trainer who you know gets results. If you don’t know who that is in your area, they are usually the ones who aren’t shouting so loudly, they don’t need to! Once you know what really works for you, you can just crack on with what you do and ignore the noise.
5. Don’t always trust Dr Google
The same is true for Dr Google or any other search you might perform.
howsoonafterhavingababycanIrun.co.uk; or perhaps the most popular
I search the internet along with the rest of the population but searches have to be corroborated with fact. Perhaps it’s my journalism training. Perhaps it’s my personality trait to always see both sides but I have to be seriously convinced before I’ll believe what I read, especially when it’s an area of science and research that I have a lot of experience in, like fitness and health. So use it. It’s a great tool. But don’t take everything as fact, especially when someone is trying to sell you something.
6. Minimize your reference section
How many fitness or diet books do you have on your shelf or on your kindle? Which of them is a trusted source? Which of them gives you positive messages rather than requiring you to spend a month’s wages on super specific ingredients and/or equipment. Get them all out, along with those magazines or DVDs, and have a cull. Stick to the ones you reference at least monthly or which bring you happiness and chuck the rest away.
7. Don’t overbook your events calendar
At the start of the year the shouty fitness marketing is added to by events and campaign organisers. They want you to commit whilst your intentions are good and on track. I have nothing against events, I organise them along with fitness campaigns. They are a great way to keep those intentions on track, to measure your results and to enjoy the benefits of your training. Who doesn’t love the endorphin rush at the end of a race? BUT you can over commit to events just as you can over commit in work or home life.
Choose events which align with your goals, such as a new distance every 3 months as part of your 12 month marathon plan. Or choose events you know you love. Make them regular fixtures on your calendar. Map out key family or life events like holidays, birthdays or busy work months and plan around them. Just don’t over do it. As with all things, achieving a few small goals you’ve set yourself is more rewarding than over committing and having to duck out on a few.
8. Understand your technical gadgetry or lose it
Do you have a fitness tracker, super clever sports watch or one of those clever gadgets that goes on your bike? Are you on more than one running App or tracking system? Do you use all the functionality? Do you know how to use all the functionality? Keep it simple. Find one running App and use it consistently. If you don’t like the comparisons, go back to a notebook and pen. If you only use your watch for speed or calories, consult an expert to help you optimise your training based on the results your watch is giving you. Gadgets are only smart if you know how to read the data, or know someone who does.
9. Buy quality not budget
It’s frugal February so my list wouldn’t be complete without a word to cost. If you know you love the gym, don’t bite at the first offer. Shop around and play a little hard ball. And please, if you have a gym membership and rarely use it, lose it. Just walk away. As a previous customer there’ll always be an offer to lure you back in the future.
When it comes to fitness classes, there’s big competition in the budget market but class this as an investment in your health. As I often tell people, would you rather spend the money on a course of private Pilates sessions and classes now or on months of physiotherapy later? As a general rule, when it comes to fitness you generally get what you pay for. Low cost either means massive class sizes or that your instructor hasn’t quite worked out business overheads (and therefore might not be in business for long). Paying more usually means you’ll get experience and someone who knows they need to make money to invest in their training and therefore your health.
Have a go and do let me know in the comments how you get on or if you know you are still in the cluttered camp for some of the above.
Simplified fitness goals are good for business and are definitely great for your long term fitness and health goals.
For more information on all our classes check out our timetable