Spring into ac­tion as win­ter fades into the dis­tance

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFESTYLE - Chantel Er­fort Manuel | chantel.er­fort@inl.co.za

WHILE it may not feel like it yet, spring is ap­proach­ing, and as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, you’ll start to see more peo­ple in the gym get­ting into shape for sum­mer.

I’ve al­ways hated the idea of a sum­mer body; I’d far rather have a for­ever body –that means de­vel­op­ing good, sus­tain­able habits.

This is some­thing I learned the hard way. But what I have also learned is that it’s never too late to make a change.

You’re never too old and you cer­tainly do not have to wait un­til Jan­uary to act on your res­o­lu­tion to adopt some healthy habits.

When I made up my mind to make a change, I was 38 and heav­ily over­weight and had re­signed my­self to be­ing un­com­fort­able and un­fit for the rest of my days.

But some­thing clicked and by the time I cel­e­brated my 39th birth­day last year, I was feel­ing 39! Los­ing 36kg in that first year was due to hard work and ded­i­ca­tion – and hav­ing a sup­port team around me.

Among those on this team is my per­sonal trainer, Romeo Brand, who will share some tips for those who would like to get into an ex­er­cise reg­i­men but don’t know where to start.

Some­thing many peo­ple do not think of when they step into a gym is what the best kind of train­ing is for them and how to match their goals with a suit­able train­ing pro­gramme.

On this, coach Romeo ad­vises to clearly out­line your ob­jec­tives and to be re­al­is­tic about them. “We miss the mark so many times by aim­ing too high and then be­com­ing de­spon­dent,” he says. “I ad­vise aim­ing for a 500g to 1kg loss per week. It may seem like noth­ing, but start adding up those num­bers and you have a rolling stone that keeps on mov­ing to­ward 4kg per month… which is 16kg in four months. That’s a ma­jor dif­fer­ence. The killer of most of our goals is our im­pa­tience.”

Of­ten, par­tic­u­larly when one starts see­ing re­sults, gyming can be­come ad­dic­tive and many of us don’t know when to take a break – or don’t want to.

“I like to sug­gest one day on, one day off,” says coach Romeo. “Once the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem takes a knock it is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for re­cov­ery and to per­form work­outs op­ti­mally. You are al­ways run­ning on less than full ca­pac­ity. This abil­ity will de­crease slowly and peo­ple of­ten end up with over-train­ing syn­drome.”

Par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant, he says, is to avoid train­ing when you’re ill.

“Rather take a break for three days than to be forced to stay away for three weeks or three months.” Ex­er­cise and rest are only part of the puz­zle. More im­por­tant is what you’re eat­ing. Dur­ing sum­mer we tend to pre­fer lighter meals. If you stick to sea­sonal foods, you’ll find it’s eas­ier to re­duce your calo­rie in­take with­out too much ef­fort.

Of course as the weather bright­ens, so too do our moods and we’re more likely to want to spend more time out­side. So, why not spend this time get­ting your body mov­ing? Go for jog, a walk or a hike in the moun­tains. Ex­er­cis­ing out­side is not only good for your phys­i­cal health, but your men­tal health too. Remember, how­ever, to take care of your safety, so re­cruit some pals to join you.

Over the next 12 weeks I’m go­ing to start train­ing for my first 10km race with the Sports Science In­sti­tute of South Africa. Watch this space and fol­low @edit­edeat­ing on so­cial me­dia for more.

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