- Get into the habit of being active everyday. Multiple times a day, in multiple ways
What a trainer does with you in one hour a week (or even if you can afford to see a trainer seven days a week) isn’t going to make up for the other 161-167 hours per week spent sitting or laying down. Something a lot of people don’t realise is you’re going to need to be active by yourself a lot and any trainer worth their salt is going to encourage you to do this. So trying to get a head start by yourself by practicing something as simple as walking everyday could actually save you some money.
- Keep a food diary
If your goals involve fat loss then it’s likely you’re going to need to make some changes to your nutrition at some point. The first thing a trainer will ask for is often a food diary and the first thing clients often say to me after they’ve kept a food diary is, “oh… I see now” when they actually pay attention to what they’re consuming and realise how little their food choices align with their supposed goal.
The second thing that happens with a food log is when we have to write it down, especially if we then have to show it to someone, we end up eating better. What you study you change. Granted you may still need a coach but if you do manage to make changes based on your food diary you’ll have saved yourself some more money.
(Pro tip: there should be vegetables, fruit and/ or a source of protein in most meals and snacks. If there aren’t, correcting that will probably help move you towards your goal)
- Double check how many calories you’re drinking
Many drinks contain high numbers of calories and must be counted too. Milky takeaway coffees, fruit juice, fizzy drinks and (I’m sorry but it’s true) alcoholic beverages. And while we’re on the topic of drinking make sure you don’t forget to include all the extra munchies you consume while drunk and while recovering from being drunk in your food diary… they all count too. It’s worth noting that for some people just switching from high calorie to low/zero calorie drinks could be enough to create a deficit and start fat loss.
(Pro tip: the calorie difference between drinking a regular 500ml bottle of coke and drinking a diet/zero 500ml bottle of coke instead, is the same difference as eating a mars bar and not eating a mars bar)
- Get some more sleep
Changing your fitness and or the way your body looks requires good workouts. Good workouts require that you aren’t exhausted before you start. If you’re getting less than seven hours sleep per night, start by making an effort to go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Chronic sleep deprivation is going to make good workouts more difficult, makes fat loss harder and is not good for your health (and any trainer worth hiring won’t be encouraging unhealthy behaviours; like skipping sleep).
- Start setting boundaries concerning health and fitness
Although some health and fitness activity is better than none, in order to see any real change these activities are going to need to happen regularly… not only when you have nothing else to do. This will likely mean having to say “no” to some things you would currently say “yes” to and setting boundaries with friends, family and even work so that health and fitness activities can actually take place. This is one where having already hired a coach can actually help because having an appointment can make telling someone “no” easier but as we’ve already discussed in number one: health and fitness activities need to happen a lot more than once a week so getting used to making health and fitness “non-negotiable” is something you could practice even before hiring a coach… and in some cases (where activity levels were very low) might mean a coach isn’t needed until later.