As Exercise Physiologists we help people to manage a range of different health conditions, including overweight and obesity. We help people to set realistic goals and expectations, and provide them with strategies and solutions to assist them to improve their lifestyle, health and well-being. Over the years we have identified a number of common mistakes that people make when commencing a weight loss program. Here we list the top 3 mistakes.
Too much exercise too quickly/unrealistic expectations
When commencing any lifestyle change program it is important to set realistic goals, and this is especially important when setting exercise goals. It is crucial to set SMART goals, which you are pretty confident that you can achieve, initially with short time frames (1-2 weeks), checking in with yourself and ticking off your adherence to these goals frequently.
A common mistake that people make are being too ambitious with their exercise goal, setting the bar very high, and then finding their proposed goal/exercise program very difficult to stick to or achieve, and hence then “fall off the wagon”.
An example is someone who is currently not exercising at all, setting an initial exercise goal to walk for 60 minutes each day. Walking 60 minutes a day is a huge jump from not exercising at all, and could be setting the person up for failure. A stepped approach of commencing with 2-3 days a week of a much shorter walking time, and then increasing this by 10-20% each week is a more realistic goal, increasing chances of success.
It is also very important to physically write your goals down and refer to them often. This has been shown in studies to improve your chance of success.
Not planning or scheduling your proposed exercise
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Therefore, once you have set an exercise goal for the coming week, it is very important to plan when you will complete this goal. We often hear from our clients that they are “too busy”, or that “something came up”, or they just “didn’t get around to it.”
We need to schedule our exercise into our week, just as we book in and schedule our appointments with our doctor, our hairdresser or for servicing the car.
At the start of the week, sit down and review your calendar or diary for the coming week, and write your planned exercise into your diary at set days and times. This again relates back to writing your goals down, and helps to increase adherence to your program and your chance of success.
Measuring success only by the number on the scales
It’s very common to feel like you are not losing weight, particularly in the initial stages of your program, despite feeling that you are doing all the right things. But there are a number of factors which can affect the number on the scales for any given day and this should not be the only way that you measure your success.
The benefits of your program can be monitored in a number of ways, and improvements can be seen in your:
Improvements in any of the above factors show that your program is having a positive difference and can help keep you motivated to keep going. Don’t make the mistake of using body mass as your only measure of success.
Looking for more information to help you exercise for weight loss? See our articles here or book in with one of our Exercise Physiologists for a personalised program and individual support.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist & Credentialed Diabetes Educator
Are you finding it hard to lose weight? We understand that weight gain is a lot easier than weight loss for many, and that weight gain is a common problem over the Christmas season. Exercise Physiologists help many people just like you, to improve their weight and health choices so that a healthy lifestyle becomes a way of life, not a quick fix.
Here we discuss 5 top tips that you can start implementing today, to set you on the right path to success.
1. Set realistic goals and expectations
Don’t be too ambitious! Setting yourself up for success and not failure is important. You don’t want to feel discouraged in week one because you have not reached your first goal.
Set a SMART Goal, and then review your confidence and importance levels.
I want to walk 4 times for 30 minutes within the next 7 days.
Now rate your importance of achieving this, and also your confidence level in achieving this both out of 10, with 1 being “there is no way I can achieve this”, and 10 being “I am going to smash this out of the park!”
Are they above 6 out of 10? If yes, go for it, if no, then you may want to modify your goal to something a little bit more achievable, as chances are it may be too ambitious!
2. Create new habits
It’s a new year, so why not practice new healthy habits and/or try something different. You might find something new and exciting that works better for you.
Again, try not to be too ambitious and change everything at once. Choose one habit and then practice it until it becomes a new habit and part of your everyday lifestyle.
Example, I will pack a piece of fruit everyday to have for morning tea to have with my coffee, rather than having biscuits at work. It’s a small, but effective change to a healthier lifestyle.
3. Be NEAT
When it comes to weight loss, there are a few angles that we can target when trying to increase the amount of energy expended each day. We know planned exercise is important, but our Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, that is, the energy that we burn from undertaking all non exercise, sleeping or eating related activities is also very important, and often overlooked.
As you can appreciate, people who work on their feet, and are active in their jobs have a higher NEAT than those in office jobs. But, you can influence your NEAT by practicing small changes. This might include taking the stairs rather than the lift, standing, rather than sitting, walking around whilst talking on your mobile phone, walking meetings with colleagues, cleaning the house, walking to the shops. Be active as much as you can!
4. Phone a friend
Have you noticed that time flies when you’re having fun!! This can be the same with exercise. Rather than undertaking exercise alone, ask a friend to go with you, or pop in your headphones and talk on the phone to them whilst exercising. If a friend is unavailable, music, podcasts or even netflix whilst on the treadmill are all great ways to keep your mind busy whilst moving!
5. Practice mindfulness
You really can’t out run/out train/out smart a poor diet. If your goal is weight loss, we also need to be mindful of what energy we are consuming through food and drink. Sometimes we eat or drink without thinking, eat on the go, or simply eat because we’re bored, or “it’s there”. Keeping a food and exercise diary can help you to consider your food choices and make informed decisions about any changes that could be made to improve your overall nutrition. Eating Healthy for Adults is a great place to start, comparing your current eating habits to those recommended in the Australian guidelines.
Would you like further and individualised help?
If you’re struggling to set goals or need some help with developing strategies to improve your lifestyle, speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist today. They can help you with motivation, setting realistic goals and finding a place to start.
Find more information here
Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Wellness Coach and Credentialed Diabetes Educator.
Do you still have presents to buy this Christmas for your family and friends and unsure what to get them? Why not get them something that inspires them to move and improve their health in 2021. We also have gift vouchers available at Optimum Exercise Physiology that your loved one could use for individual or group sessions, or to buy exercise equipment.
Christmas Present ideas:
Water Bottle - how cool, 'literally’ are the water bottles these days. You can buy glass, stainless steel, or BPA free water bottles, in a range of colours, designs, and sizes. Some will even stay cold for up to 24 hours! Use them to take to work to keep your fluids up, or to the gym, tennis court or walking trail.
Headphones - who doesn’t like a bit of music, podcast or book to keep you going through your workout or walk. You can get in ear, on ear and even wireless headphones for as little as $19, or go all out and find the apple airpods on sale for under $200! Great for keeping you motivated, or passing the time quickly (whichever you prefer 😉 )
Bluetooth speaker - keeping on the music theme, get your speakers pumping when working out, indoors or outdoors.
Activity Tracker - these guys can also cost as little, or as much as you want, and can do as little or as much as you want! A top of the range Garmin watch has GPS, oxygen saturation level and heart rate monitoring on your wrist, altitude, and special ops functions that can set you back over $1500! But you can also buy something that will track your steps for as little as $150, and if you check out ebay or Gumtree, pick up one second hand for much less! Activity trackers have been shown by the research to help keep you accountable,and can assist in providing motivation to move more.
Exercise Mat – these are not just for the yoga and pilates enthusiasts. They’re great for home workouts too.
Gym Bag – Have this baby packed and ready to go in the morning or after work, so that there is no excuse not to hit the gym, pool or park.
Gym Towel - One of the essential items in your gym bag. Much better than using your t-shirt to wipe the sweat off during a big workout. Look for a microfibre towel as they are very absorbent, light and dry quickly.
Socks - this may seem strange to some, but exercising in crusty old socks is not fun 😋. And what a great stocking filler! Help your loved one start off their new year's resolutions in nice soft, comfy (matching) socks. If you’re new to socks yourself, check out sports stores for specific sports and running socks if that is what your loved one is in to, but even Bonds socks from Woolies are a great start.
Sports apparel - looking good, can make you feel good and help motivate you to get out there. Our local sports store, target and a couple of our local boutiques all stock exercise apparel. If you're not sure of your loved ones size, purchase a voucher to help support our local businesses.
Smartphone strap/holder - need to go mobile with your music, or need to be contactable by phone. Lots of versions available from arm bands to waist bags. Much better than a sweaty phone down your sports bra! Or, there are now many versions of tights that have a phone pocket in them.
Foam Roller - Lower cost versions available from department stores, or grab them from your sports store or Exercise Physiologist. Great for recovery to massage the muscles, but also useful for performing exercises and stretching.
Bath Salts – Say thanks to your muscles for all the hard work they do and relax them in a nice bath of salts.
Scented Candle – What goes better with a bath than a nice scented candle to also help you relax. Ahhhhhh.
Happy shopping and Merry Christmas from the team at Optimum Exercise Physiology. 🎄
Senior Exercise Physiologist & Diabetes Educator.
If you’ve ever tried to start a new exercise program you will know that there are many different types of physical activity out there. So how do you know which one will suit you best and bring the most benefit and enjoyment.
To break it down simply (and let you in on our best kept secret), the best type of physical activity is, the only you’re actually going to engage in regularly! If you are trying to complete an activity that you hate doing on a regular basis, the likelihood that you will continue this long term is very slim. Alternatively, if you have a form of physical activity that you are passionate and excited about that brings you joy, we are much more likely to keep participating long term.
But how do you find which activity gets you pumped to jump out of bed in the morning? There can be a few different things to take into consideration, for example; do you prefer indoor or outdoor activities? To spend time by yourself or with other people in social situations? What time frame do you have available to complete physical activity? Having a think about each of these things can help form a picture about what type of physical activity may suit you best!
Finding your style
When first starting out it can be a good idea to think about what types of physical activity you have enjoyed most in the past and what type of personality traits you possess.
Some things to consider include;
When trying to find which type of activity is going to suit best it is important to think about your health, fitness and wellness goals and why you are wanting to start a regular physical activity program. This will help in both, learning which types of physical activity are going to best help you achieve your goals and reminding you throughout your program why it is important for you to continue. A few examples to help you get started are;
By Aleisha Michael
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
With a new year about to begin, many people may be thinking about setting New Year's Resolutions around their health and wellbeing. If you are planning on setting one or more New Year's Resolutions, you may want to brush up on your goal setting techniques.
A tried and testing approach to goal setting is using the SMART goal setting method. This is an approach I often use with my clients and you may also be familiar with it.
SPECIFIC - Your goal should be clear and easy to understand and specific. Simply saying "I want to get healthy" is not specific enough for a goal to have meaning. Ask yourself, what, where, how, when, with whom and why. Use these to state exactly what you want to accomplish, ie "I want to walk 4km's on 5 days of the week before breakfast."
MEASURABLE - Your goal needs to be measurable so that you can track your progress and demonstrate success. Using the above goal as an example, you could track your walk with a pedometer, use your car odometer to map out a track, use any number of apps on your phone (such as mapmyfitness) and also record each walk with the time of day in your diary or simply on a piece of paper.
ACHIEVABLE - Your confidence in being able to achieve your goal will impact on your liklihood of having success. Do not set unrealistic goals, or goals that are too difficult to achieve. There is a balance between making a goal too easy, and making it too difficult/unrealistic. Are the steps that you need to take to achieve the goal able to happen?
RELEVANT - Is the goal relevant to you? Setting a goal of running a half marathon is not relevant or realistic to you if you do not enjoy running, and do not appreciate the achievement of a half marathon. If increasing your walking distance so that you can walk around Europe on your upcoming holiday is important to you, it is relevant and ticks the boxes for a SMART goal.
TIME LIMITED - You need to be specific about when you want to achieve this goal and this links into it being measurable. Using the original goal as an example, I need to specify my time-line. So, the goal may become ""I will walk 4km's on 5 days of the week before breakfast, by Monday the 1st of February 2017." Or, you may make it even more specific, by saying "I will walk 4km's on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday before breakfast every week".
At the end of your specified time period, you may continue with your current actions, or you may re-evaluate and set new goals. Some people also find that setting a reward for themselves for achieving a goal a good motivator for staying on track, therefore this may also be something you could consider.
Small goals can be stepping stones to a bigger goal. Setting short and medium term goals help to break the bigger goal into bite-sized steps, and enables you to achieve success on the way to your larger goal. An example is that if you would like to lose 20kg in 6 months, you may set yourself a smaller goal of losing 1kg every 2 weeks. This way you can measure small success each fortnight and know whether you are on the right track to achieving your larger goal. Achieving the small and medium goals can also help to boost confidence and self belief which can help to keep you motivated.
Research shows that physically writing down a goal increases your chance of achieving that goal. Therefore when setting your goal, write it down. Put it somewhere were you can see it to increase motivation. Getting a buddy involved is also a great motivator in helping people carry out the tasks/actions needed to fulfill their goals. Again, using the above as an example, recruiting a friend to walk with may make that goal more enjoyable, and therefore more achievable.
Achieving more, starts with being SMART!
Happy New Year!