It is common for people to think that the need to get fit before they join a gym or a class. This isn’t necessarily true as you get fit at these places. But I can understand the feeling of needing to be a certain level before joining in with other people. No one wants to make a fool of themselves in front of our peers. Although every single person in that class or gym remembers their first time and how scary it was, they will salute you for going in the first place.
For now lets say that is a step for a later date and you want to get your self on the ladder to being a healthier happier you. Where do you even start? How much should I be doing? What counts as getting fit? Do I have to do it all in one go?
In this post I am going to answer those questions as best that I can so you can make an informed decision on what you would like to do giving you a number of option that could help you get to your own personal goal.
How much should I be doing?
Currently the UK Government recommendations on fitness training, is a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week. Now first off that sounds like a hell of a lot of training doesn’t it! You don’t have to do it all at once, and we can break it down into manageable pieces.
The government recommends the smallest time for exercise should be about 10 minutes. Now all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so scary does it? 10 minutes is less than the time between 2 commercial breaks of your favourite TV programme, and how quickly does that go by when you are sitting on the edge of your seat?
So if we do it in ten minute blocks, that still means that there are 15 of those which can also sound a little bit daunting. Allow me to break that down in to even more manageable pieces for you. If you were to do these training sessions 5 days a week you would have to do 3 of them a day. If we spread that out, that could be one before breakfast, one before lunch and one before dinner.
3×10 minutes a day
5 days a week
See that’s not so bad, in fact, that sounds like something most of us can accomplish.
Now depending on where we are right now this might be a figure we work up to over a period of time. This could be a goal that we have an aim to achieve in 6 months or by the same time next year. Each one of will have our own timetable on how we get to the point we wish.
What if I want to lose weight is this enough?
The UK Government recommendations of 150 minutes a week of activity are to maintain where you are. If you are looking to lose weight they recommend that you do a minimum of 300 minutes a week. So if we add that in to our weekly regime then we would have to up our 10 minutes to 20, making it 60 minutes or an hour a day 5 days a week in order to start loosing weight.
1 hour a day
5 days a week
This is still quite doable seeing as most fitness classes are about an hour long and as we will discuss later there other ways of working out other than being in a gym or a class environment.
Combining this with some dietary changes will help you to have great results too.
So what counts towards my active time?
Well it is just that, anything that gets you up and active and elevates your heart rate for that period of time. Anything from a brisk walk, to doing the gardening, or cleaning the house. We often think of getting fit as needing to be running on a treadmill or lifting weights.
We actually want to get fit for life, for all the tings that we do everyday so that those things become easier for us to do, and that we can perform everyday tasks with out the worry of injury or pain.
Scrubbing the dirt out of the oven can elevate the heart rate just as much as going for a run, it also has the added bonus of killing two birds with one stone. Digging the flower beds over and weeding in the garden can be just as much hard work, again with this sort of work you can sit back afterwards and see the progress you have made.
I know how hard doing the gardening is when I first moved into my studio the garden was virtually a jungle. The hours I spent toiling, digging and laying patios were some of the hardest work I have done and my muscles ached just as much as if I had done a big work out. I wore a heart rate monitor one day and found I burnt over 1000 calories and was working often in my aerobic threshold or fat burn zone for most of the day.
How hard do I have to work?
The easiest way to do this is what we call the RPE scale the Rate of Perceived Exertion. On a scale of 1-10 where 1 is laying down watch TV and 10 is you are running for you life with a tiger chasing you and you feel like you are going to pop. We generally want to sit around the 6-7 mark. This should feel like you are work and getting a bit breathless but still able to hold a convocation with someone. The great thing about the RPE scale is that it works for everyone no matter who you are or how fit you are, because we all feel the same when we are at each point on the scale. As you get fitter you will have to push harder in order to get the feeling at 7. When we all get to a 9-10, we all feel sick! Its relative to our fitness level, what we need to do to get there may differ but the feeling is still the same.
How can I add this to my time?
Let’s say we do this the simplest way that we can.
Monday to Friday we are going to do 10 minutes of walking 3 times a day.
To make it even easier to remember we are going to do it before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Before each meal you are going to walk around the block at a speed that gets us up to an RPE of 6-7 for 10 minutes. As you do this more often you will probably notice that you can cover more distance in the 10 minutes than when you first started, and this is great as it shows you your progression!
This would be a good place to start and as time moves on you will be able to change the activity from walking to some other activities or even change the times that you are training for.
I hope that this gives you an idea and a starting point of what to do and how to get going.
Remember that no matter where you are starting from it’s a good thing that you are starting even if you manage a couple of minutes at a time to start with it’s a great start. It may take a few weeks in order to be able to do 10 minutes in one go. Everyone has to start somewhere and when you look back at how far you have come you should be proud of yourself for taking those first steps!