30 minutes is just 2% of your day. Everyone can commit to just half an hour to look after their health and fitness. Psychologically, a shorter personal training session is easier to mentally prepare for and more convenient to schedule into your busy day and week. Focusing on the mind-set aspect of training can ensure that you do not give up so easily and that you stay on track to hitting your fitness goals.
London Personal Trainer and creative director of The CARLOS Method Ltd., Carlos D’Souza, gives his advice on using exercise as a tool for the mind, as well as the body.
Do you work long days in the office, hunched over your computer screen? If you answered “yes” then you are not alone.
A recent survey conducted by Get Britain Standing and the British Heart Foundation revealed that office workers are too sedentary, with 45% of women and 37% of men spending less than 30 minutes of their day up on their feet at work. That statistic shocked me too.
A gruelling week at work can leave you feeling stressed-out, tired and lethargic with no interest to do anything but have a couple of drinks in the pub, or sit at home and watch Gogglebox or catch up on Game of Thrones. Exercise is the last thing you feel like doing after working 50 hours with little sleep, late nights and food on the go.
Hence, this is why personal training has now become so hugely popular within mainstream fitness. A good personal trainer will take a holistic approach to your health and fitness – focusing on the mind-set, exercise and nutritional aspects of your new regime.
Shake things up!
A lot of people exercise because they need to lose weight and get toned up and they solely focus on this goal, becoming a slave to the weighing scales and measuring tape. But a different and maybe better way to look at exercise is how it can improve your mood, lift your energy levels and help you to fight off stress and tiredness. By focusing on how exercise improves your mind, you naturally will want to work out more regularly, meaning that you will get your desired results in fat loss and muscle definition anyway.
The real message here is – focus on how exercise actually makes you “feel”, rather than training purely to burn off calories on a treadmill or exercise bike. We have been conditioned to believe that exercise must be planned out and follow a ‘set programme’ of exercise. However, this is not a realistic and sustainable way to train for our modern day busy lifestyles. The key to remaining consistent in your training is to tune into your body and workout according to your energy and strength levels as well as your mood on that particular day. Energy, strength and mood can fluctuate day to day depending on many factors including how much sleep you have had and how busy your week is. So a better way of seamlessly fitting exercise into your busy week is to train with more flexibility and variety in your training approach.
In my opinion and through my years of experience, it is totally acceptable to mix and match your workouts and have fun with them – so long as it is safe and effective exercise then you have nothing to worry about. Ultimately, many of us want to just be fitter, healthier and pain free. With that last point in mind, keep your exercise sessions a little more randomised ensuring you work on different elements of your fitness within the same session rather than being tied down to a regimented programme that may become boring and mundane.
Harnessing a strong mind-set
30 minute exercise sessions with a personal trainer can be varied, fun and challenging, getting you maximum results in minimum time. These short and intensive exercise sessions can give you increased focus and clarity within your mind, meaning that you feel ready to take on your week.
There are various mind-set strategies that can be used during your workout. While you are training use positive imagery and visualisations of what is going to pan out in your week. Perhaps you have an important business meeting or presentation to do, or maybe you have a series of job interviews or are going to a big networking event. Whatever the scenario, picture it strongly within your mind and work through the scenario, scene by scene, having it clear in your head. Then channel all of your energy into it. Not only will this take away some of the discomfort and pain of exercise, you will be multi-tasking and preparing yourself mentally for the week ahead. This is a great strategy because it makes exercise a secondary focus. As you strengthen and condition your mind, so too will you condition your body.
Another good technique is that of positive affirmations, saying positive things to yourself over and over again in your mind with a strong conviction and focus. Whilst you are working out, say kind and nice things to yourself, love yourself and charge yourself with positive self-talk that gets you really fired up and ready to take on your busy week. The mind and body are inextricably linked and so charging up your mind with powerful messages, will also really get your body wanting to train hard with increase vigour and intensity.