5 dos and don'ts of a successful fitness program

You don't need me to tell you how much of a challenge maintaining a fitness program can be (especially in the early days). From "gymtimidation" to simply not knowing what to do or how to do it, there's a multitude of things that could put you off. But at the same time, you also don't need me to tell you how fulfilling it feels to see the gains.

Whether you are doing your fitness program for health reasons or purely aesthetic ones, staying in shape is always a good thing and highly recommended. It also helps with mental well-being and that's always a good thing.

To support you on your journey, we've teamed up with David Lundy, co-founder of fitness enterprise,  The XF Brand to put together a short list of dos and don'ts. Whether you already have a routine, only just started or thinking about starting, these tips will help ensure that you have what you need to enhance your overall well-being, as well as look and feel your best

·       Never Skip Breakfast

 Your mum wasn’t kidding when she used to drill into you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. She wasn’t wrong… it really is, and the clue is in the name (break – fast). Eating when you wake up is vital, it kick starts your metabolism for the day and more importantly, takes your body out of the fasting state it goes into when in rem sleep. The last thing you want to be doing is sacrificing any of those hard earned gains because you passed on your first meal!

·       Take Your Rest Days

 Overtraining is probably the most common mistake people make in the fitness world. You  don’t need to be in the gym for hours to see some serious progress and furthermore, it certainly doesn’t have to be every day… in fact, it shouldn’t be. Your muscles will be repairing and growing back stronger when your resting. You also need to allow your central nervous system some downtime and your joints some relaxation, so never over do it!

·       Mix It Up… Cardio style!

 Combine both Light Intensity Steady State (LISS) & High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) when deciding what method you are going to implement. Done correctly, both forms have huge fat burning benefits as well as the potential to enhance your cardiovascular system. Try a fast paced walk on the treadmill one day but then hill sprints another… or why not go for a slow bike ride with the family on one occasion but then take to the rowing machine like Sir Steve Redgrave when you visit the gym after work!

·       Always Have A Plan

I admire anyone who manages to squeeze in their training in and around their busy lifestyle, whether it be work, their children or social lives. However, don’t be that guy/girl who wanders in the gym and jumps on the first thing they see or feel comfortable with. Nothing good ever came from comfort zones! So bite the bullet, do some research, ask the instructor or even pester your one ‘gym friend’… organise a fitness plan before you step on that gym floor for maximum results.

·       Don’t Ignore The Core!

 Many fitness enthusiasts make the common error of segregating their Abdominal work from their intense resistance programmes…DON’T! Treat your abs like any other muscle group in the body. Attack them hard and consistently, with at least one set workout per week dedicated to the area. The core is made up of 3 main areas: Transverse abdominus with the internal and external obliques. Your self made six pack could be around the corner!

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