I'm still standing - health benefits of standing vs sitting

We all know sitting is bad for you and that the benefits of standing are many. But what does your typical day look like? 8 hours of work? At a desk? Then head to the sofa to relax in front of Netflix? Even if you've managed to squeeze in a gym session, that's a lot of sitting in one day.

Yes, it is as detrimental to your health as it sounds. Our sedentary lifestyle could even be slowly killing us! Here are five benefits of standing up once in a while. Each comes with an easy strategy that will help you take action without having to assemble one of those weird adjustable standing desks in your office.

Woman looking in mirror
Standing instead of sitting promotes fat loss

Weight Loss

Most people interact with this blog would love to lose a few pounds. Here is the simplest recommendation – sit less. Your entire body works to maintain your posture when you are standing. The leg and hip muscles are engaged, the back muscles strengthen, your abs contract to keep you from hunching. The main thing to focus on is keeping your abs tense and your shoulders back.

Obviously, the "stand up" workout will not burn hundreds of calories. Over time, though, they will add up - everything counts. What's more, your balance and range of motion will improve. So will your posture.

A simple way to stand more is to go out for a walk after dinner, instead of retiring to the sofa. A long stroll around your neighbourhood is a wonderful way to reflect on the day. A relaxing walk away from your TV or laptop is the perfect opportunity to get some much needed time to yourself, instead of the distractions of an LED screen. It'll also help you sleep more soundly.

Improved Posture

Your body posture is one of the key non-verbal cues you give out to the world.

Fit and confident women stand tall and lengthen their stride. Their shoulders are straight and relaxed. They look up and project optimism and power.

Stressed and overwhelmed people hunch, they lift their shoulders, they collapse over their heels.

 If you have great posture you look much slimmer and definitely more attractive. Unfortunately, juggling the demands of work, life, and family does not leave a lot of time to think about posture. Spending hours on end in your chair is not much help either.

What does help, is taking short stand up breaks.

At work, every once in a while stand up, walk around, go to the bathroom, go and talk to your colleague instead of sending an email etc. When you spend some time standing up, your core and leg muscles will tighten. Even if you sit back down for another 30 minutes you will be more mindful of your posture.

Over time, this helps you build the muscle foundation for a confidence.

Your Internal Organs Work Better

Internal organs align
Standing aligns your intermal organs

Humans are not designed for prolonged periods of sitting. The 9-5 office job is a fairly new invention. Your body is an amazing machine but you are not using it correctly if you spend a long period of time sitting.

When you sit, your blood moves more slowly. It brings less oxygen to the brain and cognition becomes sub-optimal. In extreme cases, the lack of movement puts you at a higher risk of developing a blood clot. Women who are sedentary have double the risk of developing a deadly pulmonary embolism over time.

One of the greatest benefits of standing more is your organs become aligned properly once again.

They can function best and you will feel your best. At home, consider a standing desk. While this might not be an option at your job, your home office should be suited to your needs. Think about getting one for your children as well as it not only prevents health issues further down the line. It can also help them concentrate better and for much longer.

Your Muscles Get In Top Shape

Fit woman sitting
Sitting less keeps your muscles in top shape

Over time, a sedentary lifestyle causes your muscles to seize up. If you are not using them regularly (during workouts and in your daily life) they lose range of motion, power, and functionality. This puts you at risk for injury and it makes training less effective. Even a great fitness program can be negated by sitting too much.

Besides obviously limiting time spent sitting, you can also look up exercises that reverse the detrimental effect. A couple of simple stretches after work might do the trick. I always encourage my clients to establish that habit. I have found that the ones who do have significantly better results.

And so the bottom line is – sit less if you want to be slimmer and happier! By taking steps to overcome your sitting habit you will improve virtually all aspects of your health and fitness. You don't have to give up your lifestyle, either. Aim to make small lasting changes. Ultimately, they will make the difference and help you reap the benefits of standing.

Do you have any questions for me on this? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Cheers,

David


Writing Things Down

We've been experiencing some glorious (all too rare ;) ) days of amazing sun in London recently. With the sun comes the scrabbling to get into shape and to lose a few last pounds before bikini season kicks off.

The upcoming beach season brings almost as many people to the gym as New Year's resolutions do in January. Many of my new clients come with very specific goals in mind. I only wish they'd get into the habit of writing them down.

My favourite 'hack' I ask my clients to try it to write down what they want to achieve to give them a powerful vision of the future that they can continually work towards. It's highly effective and even though it sounds simple, most people don't do it!

Writing goals down moves you closer to your goals

Write it down.

Does it sound a bit too good to be true that you can write something down at it will actually come true?

There's been a lot of research on this. A lot of studies have shown that those who write their goals down are much more likely to achieve them. One specific study do in the University of California found that those who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them!

The simple act of writing down your goals almost doubles your chances of actually making it a reality!

In my work with clients and on my gym floor, I have seen *incredible* transformations.

What all of those people that actually succeeded had in common is they had commitment. What they also had in common is that they wrote their goals down. 

Over the years, I came up with a very specific strategy to help each and every person I work with achieve that level of dedication.  Here is the exact technique I would like you to follow and why it will work for you:

Is it corny? Yes. Is it effective? Yes.

Start With a Specific Goal

Example goal 1: By 1 August 2017, reduce my body fat percentage by 3%.

Example goal 2: In two weeks' time I will fit into those jeans I used to love.

Great goals are detailed, measurable, and they have a time limit. You have to be very honest about what exactly it is that you want. Vague goals will not cut it.

The reason behind this is vague goals are uncertain and leave a lot of room for manoeuvre. Your brain would rather keep you inside your comfort zone. When you don't have a clear goal, you will be constantly overwhelmed. In fact the brain is at its happiest when you have a goal and you are regularly making positive progress towards it.

Unfortunately, procrastination is the most common way your mind deals with overwhelming situations. When a specific goal exists, the uncertainty is out of the equation and so is the anxiety. You can focus all of your mental energy on achieving that goal.

Don't be too ambitious with time frame or size of goal

Avoid being rash or trying to achieve things too quickly.

Don't crash diet to try to reach your goal on an accelerated time frame, you'll end up worse off than when you started because you'll miss your target and feel like you've failed.

Don't break off more than you can chew either. A big part of my philosophy is doing one small thing first to feed a positive feedback loop. 

If your goal is to 'tidy your bedroom today' and you do it - you'll be amazed how this small action can create an amazing positive feedback loop.

Word It Right - be positive

It's all possible if you're positive!

Only use positive sentences in your goal.

Instead of saying 'I want to get rid of cellulite', say 'I want toned upper legs and smooth skin.' These are not the same for your subconscious mind. The first one tells you that there is something wrong. It creates negative emotions and negative self-talk. The underlying message is that you are not good enough.

The second option does quite the opposite. It empowers you. It creates a positive vision to work towards, rather than a negative image that you are trying to run away from.

To make this goal even better, use a verb for action rather than desire.

'I am working toward toned upper legs and smooth skin.'

or

'I am in the process of achieving toned upper legs and smooth skin'.

Not only does this further empower you it makes the goal a reality. Once your subconscious mind accepts that the goal will come true it is much easier to keep pushing to achieve it.

Every goal you have (in your fitness journey or in your life in general) will cause you discomfort. To protect you from the discomfort, the brain builds resistance against the goal. That resistance is what makes the first step the most difficult.

By wording the goal to sound like you are already on your way to achieving it, you effectively trick your mind into thinking that the first step has already been made. This supercharges your motivation and your commitment to the goal.

Put It Where You Will See It

Putting goals by your bathroom mirror increases the chances you'll follow them!

You want to have a constant reminder of that vision you have for yourself. If you enjoy keeping a diary or a physical planner, put your goal on the front page.

If not, another great option would be the bathroom mirror. It might sound weird but it is much more efficient than the traditional 'sticky note on the fridge' method.

Think about it. Every morning and every evening you will spend at least 3 minutes actively thinking about your goal. The power of this daily reminder is intense. It creates a sense of urgency. This is at the core of building lasting motivation.

Break It Down Into Mini Goals

Now that you have your large-scale goal set and visible, it is time to create an actionable plan. Your plan will consist of smaller goals. You want to constantly challenge yourself a little more than you had yesterday. This is what effective workout plans are based on. They are nothing else but a step-by-step instruction to reaching your fitness goal.

I enjoy helping clients put together goal plans in a checklist format. This way every workout feels like a milestone, which it truly is. You are much less likely to skip workouts if you feel the rush of achieving a bit more than you had yesterday.

Remember to write your goals down and if you have any questions or ideas, leave them in the comments below!

Cheers,

D


The Top 7 Ways People Waste Time At The Gym

I get it: you’re really busy juggling work life, home life, having your own life and trying to squeeze a regular gym routine into this busy schedule!

But, simply turning up at the gym isn’t enough, if you’ve only got a few hours each week to dedicate to your training, then make it count. There are plenty of ways to waste your time and I see so many of them virtually every day.

I don’t want you to make those mistakes!

Here are my 7 top ways (not) to waste your time at the gym...

 

Long Slow Cardio

When I ask a new client what they usually do at the gym, I virtually always hear, “the treadmill or cross-trainer for 20-30 minutes and then some weights…” Who made this programme up that everyone seems to follow? I’d love to find them and slap them!

This is honestly such a bad idea and for a number of reasons...

It is a common misconception that you should spend a certain amount of time doing long, slow cardio during every training session. The truth is that you need to do exercise that is of a high enough intensity to make a positive change. Whether that would be strength training or 'cardio' does not matter. Both will make your heart stronger.

Long, slow cardio does not help your muscles grow. In fact, it can even slow down the results. The optimum time to train is around 45 minutes (I’ll go into more detail on this in later articles). So, when you do 30+ minutes of cardio before a workout, fatigue will set in. You will not perform as well during the strength portion. This means you will not hit your muscles as efficiently, you won't see as much improvement in strength, and you will not build muscle. Since increasing your lean muscle mass is what ultimately keeps you looking slim and toned, you really don’t want to miss out on it.

Pink Dumbbells

Pink dumbbells do literally nothing - give them up

I get it, you don’t want to get bulky. Yes, those pretty pink dumbbells are less intimidating, but you have no reason to fear heavier weights. Think about how much a baby weighs and you girls sling one of them on your hip while you get on with that thing called multi-tasking that us guys have no concept of!

Believe me, you will NOT become too bulky as a woman because your biochemical makeup does not allow it and if you only use the pink dumbells you won’t challenge your body enough to change.

When I create a workout program for a client, the main goal is to keep challenging them. If your body is not under enough pressure to perform better, it will not change. The pink dumbells are simply too light to produce the body's response. You have to really hit your muscle deep or else it will not make a difference.

Time under tension is a must for your weights workout.

The Recumbent Bike

Chilling out in the gym is a chronic waster of time

I do not know why they even put these at gyms. The only case where I would recommend the recumbent bike is if you are recovering from some serious neck or back issues. Otherwise, it is a complete waste of time.

First off, steady state cardio is virtually pointless. More importantly, people prefer the recumbent bike because they are more comfortable. You can scroll through Instagram while you are "exercising"! This is not efficient exercise and it won’t even get your slightly out of breath! So please, move on to another machine.

Hip Adductor /Adductor Machine

More time wasting

I get it, the image on the side of the machine shows you that this is the best machine to tone your butt and develop that elusive thigh gap! But don’t believe the hype. The hip abduction/adduction machines are not only inefficient, they are also dangerous. The muscles that they work don't typically engage in an isolated exercise. Their job is to keep you stable while doing a complex movement. Just in general, isolation exercises are not a great way to go. Ditch this now and learn to squat properly!

Checking Your Phone

Don't be tempted to check your phone in the gym!

One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people simply sitting on the machine and scrolling through their emails. Seriously, can people not bear to be away from their mobiles for even half an hour? The gym should be time for you, away from distractions, away from work and away from whatever other people are up to on social media!

Just looking at it during rest periods doesn’t count either! Use that time effectively. Drink water, slow your breathing down, log your workout, stretch and then prepare to go again.

Not Recording Your Workouts

If you have a personal trainer they will do that for you. Even so, I still encourage my clients to keep a workout journal.

The basic premise, if you are working out by yourself, is to:
1. Before the workout, write down exactly what you are going to do.
2. Record your weights and the number of reps and sets you perform
3. After the workout, review how you feel.

It is as simple as that. You do not want to spend too much time on it but workout tracking is an amazing way to ensure that one way or another, you achieve progress in every session.

Going In Without a Plan

It usually happens in January. People would rush into their local gyms determined not to break their resolution this year. By February hardly any of them is a regular.

The harsh truth about exercise is that you will not see results when you want them to appear. It will take persistence. The trouble is if you don't have a plan, you will struggle to keep up the good work. Not only that but once you do start to see results, you will often hit a plateau (as you have gotten used to a routine that no longer challenges you).

If you want your time at the gym to count long-term, make a long-term plan. Set monthly goals, or even bi-weekly goals. You can take inspiration from workout plans online. Keep in mind, however, that these are geared to the general public and might not fit your specific needs. Research and ask a lot of questions. This blog, for one, is a space where I would love to help you out with any doubts you might have. Just leave them in comments!

Stop wasting your time and make each workout count!

Good luck.

David


The Overlooked Benefits Of Stretching - You Will Be Amazed When You Try It

Let's face it – stretching is the least glamorous and the most overlooked part of your workout. You probably hear mixed messages around stretching and whether it's all a bit outdated now. Some professionals prioritise so called mobility techniques and using foam rollers, but I’m still a big fan of stretching and in this article I’m going to discuss the amazing health benefits of stretching!

Improve your flexibility, optimise your health

Flexibility

This might seem obvious but a well-designed stretching routine is the best way to improve flexibility. Because most of my clients work desk jobs, they tend to have problems with muscle stiffness, back pain, and headaches that can all be tracked down to poor flexibility. Having a sedentary lifestyle means that over the years you will see your flexibility decrease much more than it naturally would for an active person.

Low flexibility means a smaller range of motion, less effective workouts, and a higher risk of injury. The stiffness in your neck muscles can lead to a poor circulation to your brain which then translates into excruciating headaches. Finally, as you get older, you are more likely to experience postural problems which is why I always encourage my clients to do plenty of stretches to free up their lower back and hips as they can effectively prevent lower back pain with the correct approach.

Improved Blood Flow

When you perform dynamic stretches before a workout, you increase the blood flow to your muscles. This improves performance significantly and it also reduces the soreness afterwards. The benefits of improved circulation go even beyond that. It also promotes cell growth, function, and recovery in your muscles even post-workout. Not to mention that an increased blood flow is great for your brain and it will boost mood and productivity throughout your day.

Decreased Stress

Stretching can be a powerful way to decompress. I usually tell my clients to always stretch after a long day, even if they don't do any other workout. Stretching helps you tune back into what your body is telling you. When you are busy, you can often get too worked up about all the things you need to achieve. A nice stretch once you are back from work allows you to unwind and notice those tight spots in your body that have developed throughout the day and to work on releasing that tension.

Stretching helps you stand taller and straighter, and makes you look leaner!

Better Posture

Stretching lengthens your muscles and soothes the tension buildup. When your muscles are more flexible, they are less likely to pull you into unnatural positions. An example I like to give for this are the muscles in your shoulder region. The ones responsible for rolling the shoulder inward are much stronger than those that roll it back. In some athletes, the muscle imbalance causes a visible change in posture.

Even if you are far from that point, chances are you still have your shoulders more hunched than they should be. This can be helped quite easily with a few stretching and lengthening exercises. An improved posture can prevent so many health issues and it will even make you feel more confident and productive.

How to Build a Stretching Routine?

Not all stretching exercises were created equal. There are numerous different stretches you can incorporate into your routine. When I work with clients, I always customise their stretching routines to their particular needs and goals. However, even if you are not working with a professional trainer, you can build a basic set of stretches that works for you. Here are the main types of stretches to include:

Static Stretching

Static stretching is your most basic sort of a stretch. You extend the muscles as much as you can and maintain the position for at least 30 seconds. If you are using an outside force to help with the stretch, then this is passive static stretching. This outside force could be anything from gravity, to an elastic strap, or even a partner. Active static stretching is when you are contracting the muscles that do the opposite movement to the ones you want to stretch. For instance, if you contract your triceps, your bicep will stretch.

Static stretching is perfect as a cool-down exercise. After a workout, your muscles are warm and very elastic. If you continuously challenge yourself with stretches after a workout, over time you will see a very impressive increase in your flexibility as well as overall performance.

Incorporate dynamic movement into your stretching routine

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is geared around sports specific training and all about controlled movement through an exercise that mimics what you will do during the rest of your workout. I tell my clients to focus on control rather than speed when they are doing these stretches. The point here is to condition your muscles to maintain proper form as well as to improve range of motion, circulation, and mobility.

Some of my favourite dynamic stretches before a workout are twisted lunges, inchworms, and variations on the sun salutation. On rest days, I recommend doing relaxing yoga flows as they provide great full-body dynamic stretching.

When Should You Stretch?

Whenever you feel that you need it. Stretching comes naturally to animals and humans alike. Stretch right after waking up, when you start to feel stiff at your desk, and definitely before and after your training sessions. Stretching in some way will always make you feel better and if anything makes you happy do more of it!

If you have any questions about stretching please leave them in the comments below.

Thanks,

David

 


Are you doing it wrong? For quick results, slow things down

Here is the harsh truth: you could be working out for one hour every day, watching your diet like a hawk and yet getting little to virtually no results.

How many people have you met or seen at the gym who always seem to be there, week in week out, year after year but don't actually ever seem to change? There's a lot of them.

There are many, complex reasons for this but a big piece of the puzzle is a lack of focus on 'time under tension' training (my preferred method of generating maximum results in as little time as possible).

First, watch this video:


Fortunately, science allow us to understand what actually happens during a workout and crucially, what makes actually makes a difference and what is simply a waste of your time and accomplishing very little.

The Conventional Workout Wisdom

First let's take a look at where most conventional workouts are going wrong. For most people, going to the gym typically involves one of two things:

  1. an aerobics class such as Zumba, Spinning or something similar;
  2. 30-60 boring minutes of low intensity treadmill work plus some wasted time on the resistance machines.

While neither of those are inherently bad, and moving your body around is better than not moving your body around, people quickly become discouraged with the lack of results on the scales and in the mirror.

Being physically present in a gym or a fitness studio does not, in an of itself, produce any results whatsoever.

Pounding out hours of steady state cardio on the treadmill or the spinning bike tend not to produce a positive adaptive response

I know people that go to the gym seven times a week, eat clean and still aren't getting the result they really want.

In fact, contrary to what might be instinctive, more time in the gym or placing your body under a lot of stress from exercise day in day out can in fact harm your results, not improve them.

Focus on quality, not quantity or duration. But how?

Time Under Tension Training to The Rescue

Time under tension is the opposite of conventional exercise regimens which tend to focus on low intensity, steady state workouts. It is about slowing things down, maintaining correct (perfect) form, and triggering as much change in your muscles as possible. Most people have twigged that weight training is good for you by now (even if you're a woman).

BUT most people are doing it wrong for various reasons. The main reason? People are going too fast and not spending enough time under tension to generate a positive change.

Time under tension workouts can be performed using a swiss ball

So if you've already converted to weight/resistance training over workout DVDs, the following might apply to you:

  • As weight/resistance workouts become more challenging, people tend to speed up the set as it progresses and 'bang out those last few reps to get it done'. This is a false economy and you are in fact cheating yourself. Your body does not know the number of repetitions, only the amount of stress you place it under;
  • While this is a natural response, quick reps are actually easier. This is because you are cheating by using momentum. I'd rather see one of my clients perform a movement at a slow controlled pace for one minute with a light weight than perform 10 fast repetitions of a heavy weight.
  • Let's take an example: If you do a set of 10 repetitions in 20 seconds you have probably only properly fatigued the muscle for a very short amount of time. In other words, you haven't used up all the fuel in the muscle.
  • Compare that to slowing things down and doing a single rep in around 15 seconds - with a slow speed (cadence) of raising and lowering whatever weight you are moving.

The Do's and Don't of Time Under Tension Training

Do

  • You do prefer compound movements instead of isolation exercises.
  • You do focus on 'time under tension' (around 90 seconds is an optimal point to reach failure).
  • You do focus on failure, not repetitions;
  • You do focus on the negative part of the movement rather than neglect it (the part where you are working with gravity in moving the weight in a controlled manner).

Don't

  • You don't stop with your arms or legs locked out at the top or bottom of the movement;
  • You don't 'swing' the bar or the weight;
  • You don't cheat by using other muscle groups to get the weight up and down;
  • You don't perform the moment so quickly that you're relying on momentum;
  • You don't 'bounce' at the bottom of a movement.
Compound movements are far superior to isolation exercises to produce maximum results

For more guidance on this, see the Can DO Plan.

It can be difficult to understand what proper time under tension training looks like, so see this video to see a proper time under tension set and how hard it can be.

If you're honest with yourself - you know when you are 'cheating' and you know how you could physically make the exercise more difficult - you need to be honest, make it hard for yourself to get results. Training with your ego doesn't work.

By placing the greatest possible demand on the muscle, we trigger the optimal amount of positive change. What is more, we reduce our risk of injury because the movement is controlled and the form is good.

Time under tension is not about counting reps, it is about making every rep count. By 'in-roading' your muscles as deeply as possible, you achieve results faster than ever.

Crossfit and other recent exercise fads are not consistent with time under tension training principles

Why Cross fit sucks

This is also why things like Crossfit (whilst better than sitting at home eating pizza) are not particularly good for you. They focus on quick reps with poor form and often weird, uncontrolled movements. Stay away from the fad diet/exercise regimes. Your body is an ancient machine that likes conventional, familiar movement, not complex 'innovations'.

Pressing the failure button

Once you've hit the 'failure' button once, there is no point pressing it over and over again. By this I mean, once  you have completed one proper time under tension set in which you have reached failure, there is no need to keep pressing the button with more sets - your body got the message the first time.

You've damaged your muscles sufficiently for them to respond and repair and for you to come back next time even better and stronger (and leaner!).

It's a bit like pressing the button to call the lift - once you've pressed it once, there's no need to keep pressing it. You'll generate more muscle mass through using this approach and that's great because more muscle mass = greater fat loss and a stronger leaner physique.

If you've reached true failure once, your body will adapt - performing multiple sets of the same exercise doesn't get you any further along the road to change

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

If you want to check out the full science behind the above approach, read Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week (NTC Sports/Fitness)

Thanks

D

DISCLAIMER 1

PROPER TIME UNDER TENSION WEIGHT TRAINING IS VERY, VERY TOUGH - BUT YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF WHETHER YOU WOULD PREFER TO WASTE TIME IN THE GYM MAKING SMALL INCREMENTAL PROGRESS OR SPEND AN EFFICIENT AMOUNT OF TIME MAKING MASSIVE PROGRESS IN A SHORT RESISTANCE SESSION.

DISCLAIMER 2

HAVING A WORKOUT PARTNER REALLY HELPS FOR TIME UNDER TENSION TRAINING, PARTICULARLY WHERE YOU ARE USING RESISTANCE MACHINES OR FREE WEIGHTS. IF YOU HAVE A SPOTTER, YOU CAN ASK THEM TO HELP YOU WITH THE POSITIVE PART OF THE MOVEMENT AS YOU APPROACH MUSCULAR FAILURE SO THAT YOU CAN COMPREHENSIVELY FATIGUE THE MUSCLE WITH THE CONTROLLED NEGATIVE PART OF THE MOVEMENT.


The Power Of A Workout Partner - Accountability = Results

The Power of Having a Workout Partner

In my opinion, most people don't hire a personal trainer for his or her knowledge and experience, at least not at first.

They have often tried numerous times to get fit on their own, had multiple gym memberships (that have rarely been used!) and obsessed over online diet plans, training programmes and social media "gurus" but little has changed. They just can't stay focused on their goals and sadly, never achieve their dream body.

It's not that they don't have the resources to succeed, it's all too often, the persistence that they tend to lack.

Those that have personal trainers know that they serve the key role of increasing PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY - which I believe is the key ingredient in the success of your health and fitness goals.

If you don't have access to a Personal Trainer at present, there is a very simple thing that you can do right now to increase the likelihood that you will not fall back into your bad habits and quit after two workouts... Find yourself a workout partner!

You Become The Person You Spend The Most Time With

It's catching

Harvard University researchers found that obesity can be contagious. If you spend time with people who don't treat their bodies right, you are more likely to overlook your own diet and fitness. The reverse is also true. By surrounding yourself with happy, healthy people you will see your own habits start to change.

Sometimes it's difficult to cut out friends and family who lead an unhealthy lifestyle but you can always add new ones that will encourage you to make a positive change.

Your chosen workout partner should be somebody that is actively working toward the same goals as you are. Seeing their dedication is often enough to make you more persistent. This sort of positive peer pressure comes in incredibly handy when you are first starting out and you need all of the momentum you can get.

Working out with friends is a great way to increase accountability

Accountability and Motivation

I often tell my clients to treat their gym session as they would an important work appointment. While this change of mindset can be incredibly beneficial, you are still more likely to cancel a workout session than a business meeting. It is much easier to cancel when nobody else is involved.

When you have a workout partner, your plans immediately become more difficult to cancel. Not only do you let yourself down, you let them down too.

Whats more, even if you choose to have a remote workout partner or a remote PT,  psychologically knowing that you have an agreement and you would be letting them down if you don't put in the time doing the work (nutrition or exercise) is a powerful motivator.

In terms of accountability, I have never seen a tool quite as effective as having another human to "answer to". There are so many progress tracking systems --- mobile or desktop apps, keeping a journal, ticking off days where you work out and trying to keep a streak etc. These are all much easier to lie to than a  person.

Simply having a living breathing person to check in on you makes you much more responsible in doing what you said you would do.

Finding a workout partner 

Friends

In an ideal world, we would all have a loyal friend willing to embark on a body transformation journey with us. Friends work well if your ambitions are aligned and you are roughly on a similar level in terms of fitness and motivation. Avoid a big mismatch in ability or fitness levels because it will just leave one of you demoralised and the other under-challenged. The great thing about working out with friends is you are less likely to ditch them or somehow escape when the going gets tough!

The gym class hero

Gym-organised workout or yoga classes can be a great way of meeting potential workout partners

We all have different routines and chances are that your current goals are different than those of your friends and family. Maybe you want to try proper weight lifting but all of your friends are stuck on doing hours of low intensity cardio.

Well, an simple way to get a fitness buddy is to simply start a conversation with someone at your gym. This tends to feel less awkward if you are taking a class together.

So perhaps at your next yoga or spinning class you might want to suggest buddying up with someone to spot you for the *really* effective stuff of weight training.

Training with a trainer

Personal trainers provide an excellent source of motivation, accountability and friendship

As I alluded to above, training with a personal trainer can be beneficial for a great number of reasons. They can help you define a proper training and nutrition  programme and increase your personal sense of accountability.

And if you are already working with a personal trainer, you could ask them to recommend a workout partner. Considering they know your personal fitness goals and interests better than anyone else, personal trainers are the perfect workout buddy matchmakers!

If you're a personal trainer yourself (or want to know what to expect from an excellent personal trainer) check out my book.

Trusted online programmes

Most of what is online and on YouTube is wishful thinking and designed by its very nature to get clicks. It's really tough to know exactly who you can trust online.

With that being said, home coaching products with accountability built in to the system itself can be highly effective. That's why my own online training programme is for those who want to get a head start but also seek credible advice from someone with realistic claims that is not just trying to make a quick buck online!

Free copy of the Can DO Plan

With all of the above in mind, I am looking for women to get an advanced free trial of my online video trainer, the Can DO Plan. There are currently four spots left so please do get in touch. This will feature not only hours of video content that comes in the Can DO Plan but a free hour phone consultation with me at the outset of the programme to make sure you get the most out of it and regular 'accountability calls' with me to see how things are going - just email me on david@davidosgsthorp.com with a short note on your fitness goals and we'll be in touch with the winners of the free places.

Cheers,

David