A little help with your health and fitness journey

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Ciarán McMullan

A QUESTION we should all be asking ourselves is, ‘what do we believe health and fitness is?’ For me, it’s something that helps us and leaves us feeling good both mentally or physically—or both in tandem. It’s a process that can involve running, lifting weights, playing sport, doing yoga, cooking and eating healthier food, but the key factor is that it’s something for you.

Health and fitness is such a wide and varied landscape and there are so many possibilities as to how we find the balance that fits our personal needs. Someone else’s health and fitness journey—especially with the added influence these days of social media—may not be for us, and generally it isn’t. We need to be realistic on how we find that balance. For example, if we’ve been sedentary all year or only using walking as a for of exercise, is a couch to CrossFit programme going to be the best step forward?

For health and fitness to be sustainable, firstly, it needs to be fun, enjoyable and interesting, but challenging enough that we are out of our comfort zone. We don’t need to jump into levels way above ourselves or train to the point that we are sore for days—this is most people’s time that they quit. And why do so many people start and then stop? Usually the answer to this is they start at 100mph and they can’t sustain the same level throughout, they get bored and think it’s impossible to make changes to get fitter and healthier—no matter what goal they have set themselves.

There will be so many bumps on the road in everyday life and a health and fitness journey is no different—they go hand in hand with one another. When we hit a bump in the road so many see this as ‘failure’ and find it so hard to get back on track. My advice is to think of this process as building a house, we need solid foundations long before we can even think about putting the roof on. Break it down in to digestible parts and it will make more sense.

Start by getting a coach. A good coach will help you lay those foundations, get a plan in place suited to your individual needs and help with better structure so that when you hit those bumps it’s much easier to get back on track.

The fitness industry for new gym/online/class goers can seem a frightening and very self-obsessed place, one that is so off putting to the masses. Health and fitness isn’t just for people already in good shape, it’s for everyone from the new start to the veteran gym goer and everyone deserves their place at the table! Again, the stigma about this is that it’s only for the people with six packs, ‘perfect genetics’—which don’t exist—is arrogant, snobbish and best ignored. In the current climate especially, a top priority for everyone in the industry should be to make it appealing and accessible for everyone. We should be moving more, eating healthier and definitely be trying to look after our mental health, which has no doubt been affected by this pandemic.

Times are tough, there is no denying this, but they won’t last forever. So, let’s get up, get active and be ready for when this is over to live healthier and happier lives. Stay safe folks.

For a six-station easy home workout, visit: https://youtu.be/NYfZHqFKsa4

Ciarán McMullan is a former St Enda’s Gaelic footballer and League Cup winning midfielder with Cliftonville FC. He currently works as a personal trainer in Belfast. Visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cmcmfitness Follow him on Instagram: cmcfitness

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