Fit for the long haul

Make it your new year’s res­o­lu­tion to ready your­self men­tally and phys­i­cally for the long road ahead

Owner Driver - - Health & Fit­ness - Steve Roberts

“IF YOU DON’T LIKE SOME­THING, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary En­gel­breit.

One of the most com­mon myths for get­ting fit is that it’s all about diet and ex­er­cise, right? By de­fault, you will im­prove from an in­ter­ven­tion of reg­u­lar ex­er­cise and bet­ter nutri­tion, but it all starts with the head. You must be ready men­tally be­fore see­ing long-term changes and here’s how to do it.

Be­hav­iour change is dif­fi­cult. It re­quires not only de­vel­op­ing the mo­ti­va­tion to change, but learn­ing how to main­tain mo­ti­va­tion over time.

A use­ful way of un­der­stand­ing how and why peo­ple change their health-re­lated be­hav­iours has been pro­vided by the trans­the­o­ret­i­cal model or the ‘stage of change’ model.

The model is de­signed to de­scribe the process of how peo­ple change and the fluc­tu­a­tions in mo­ti­va­tion that can oc­cur when mak­ing change.


Try this brief se­ries of ques­tions (see right) based on Prochaska and DiCle­mente’s Trans­the­o­ret­i­cal Model* to see where you are at.

Once the stage of change has been de­ter­mined, it is pos­si­ble to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion us­ing the tai­lored strate­gies out­lined in Ta­ble be­low.


Con­tem­pla­tion is the stage in which peo­ple are aware that a prob­lem ex­ists and are se­ri­ously think­ing about over­com­ing it, but have not yet made a com­mit­ment to act. That thought usu­ally hap­pens when we take time out from work, to re­coup, wind down and con­sider new changes to how we fell, what our goals are and what we want.

Per­haps you’ve con­sid­ered start­ing a phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity pro­gram — you’re just not sure when or how. You may want to think more about what it means to get fit or try some small steps first. Reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity en­ables your body to run smoothly. Ac­tive peo­ple have more en­ergy than in­ac­tive peo­ple do. And there are lots of other ben­e­fits too:

• helps pre­vent bone loss, re­duces risk of heart dis­ease

• helps pre­vent or man­age high blood pres­sure and di­a­betes

• im­proves alert­ness

• im­proves sense of well-be­ing

• helps you to look bet­ter and boosts en­ergy level.

With any be­hav­iour change, there are ad­just­ments to make in your nor­mal rou­tine. To help pre­pare, make a list all the rea­sons that you ex­pect to ben­e­fit from phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and keep this list in a place you can see it daily.


An im­por­tant step in chang­ing any be­hav­iour is the abil­ity to vi­su­alise suc­cess. Take a mo­ment to con­sider each of the fol­low­ing im­ages that you see as be­ing mile­stones to your ul­ti­mate shape or feel­ing. It could be the end of first day of your new train­ing pro­gram where you are smil­ing be­cause you did it and en­joyed the feel­ing of look­ing for­ward to the next ses­sion.

It could be a few days later where you re­move sugar from your diet be­cause you know this is one thing you don’t need. It can be a few weeks in to the pro­gram where you are in bed and it’s so warm that get­ting out would be the most ridicu­lous thing you could pos­si­bly do … but you get out any­way and put on your run­ners. You go out­side and it’s cold but you soon warm up and do your work­out that you could have skipped.

You have the con­trol to de­cide and you de­cided against all the things that said ‘no’. Pause on each be­fore mov­ing on to the next. Give your­self time and let the thoughts sink in and be­come a part of how you think of your­self.

It is pos­si­ble to vi­su­alise your­self be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive. If doubt creeps into your mind, re­turn to this ex­er­cise to imag­ine suc­cess again and again.

Pic­ture your­self be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive – health­ier and more en­er­getic than you’ve ever been – look­ing for­ward to the day with en­thu­si­asm for what lies ahead.


Ask­ing the right ques­tions to get you started is im­por­tant. Use these ques­tions as a guide:

1. Which ac­tiv­i­ties do I en­joy the most and can start do­ing right away?

2. Do I want to choose an ac­tiv­ity I can do alone or with my fam­ily?

3. How do I fit phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity into my life­style?

How we do any­thing is of­ten how we do ev­ery­thing! It’s then im­por­tant to re­alise that reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, good nutri­tion and healthy life­style needs to con­tinue through the work­ing day be­cause it’s how we do ev­ery­thing that counts.

Please note: It is rec­om­mended that you screen your­self for po­ten­tial risks prior to par­tic­i­pa­tion in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. This can be done us­ing the in­ter­ac­tive Adult PreEx­er­cise Screen­ing Sys­tem (APSS) tool at www.ex­er­ci­


Try my Fit­ter Af­ter Forty 30-day ex­er­cise and nutri­tion pro­gram free. This pro­gram uses body­weight and home equip­ment which great for busy men and women just like you. Feel lighter, in­crease en­ergy, get your mojo back, build a rock-solid body and add years to your life.

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