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Dublin: 1 °C Tuesday 25 April, 2017
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Fitness goals: 'Be specific. Choose something concrete like running 5K in 30 minutes'

If the first quarter of the year hasn’t gone well, start re-thinking your fitness goals now, writes Carl Cautley.

Carl Cautley Personal trainer

WITH THE FIRST quarter of 2017 behind us, it’s a good time to step back and reflect on how your fitness goals for the year are progressing.

The grit and determination of January has well and truly worn off by now, so are you still on the right track, or did you abandon your “New Me” plan long ago?

Either way, it might be time for a change of direction. And whether you’re starting from scratch, getting back on the wagon, or just looking to up your game, spring is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Exercising outdoors

The change in weather around this time of year is an obvious factor to consider when it comes to tweaking your fitness goals.

You’ll have more opportunity to get outdoors, soak up some sunshine and top up your vitamin D levels, so consider swapping one or two of your weekly gym sessions for a workout at the park or beach.

If your progress has slowed somewhat in the last few weeks, a change in routine like this could be just what you need to bust through the plateau. And with the chill of winter largely behind us, convincing yourself to leave the comfort of your house should be easier, too.

Ditch the winter stodge

As the temperatures get milder, now is also the time to start cleaning up your diet by swapping out stodgy dinners for lighter, healthier meals like salads and stir fries.

You may find that your appetite subsides slightly as the days get warmer, so take advantage of that by trimming down your portion sizes a little.

Just make sure to include plenty of protein in your meals and snacks, which will help you preserve and build all-important muscle mass over the coming months.

Changing things up

Think about what else you could do differently. Have you been working out alone?

Now might be the time to join a gym or visit a personal trainer for some much-needed support and accountability.

Was your New Year’s resolution simply to lose weight and get in shape? Why not pivot and make it your goal to complete a race or take up a new sport?

Be specific; choose something concrete and measurable like running a 5K in 30 minutes or less. Big changes and audacious goals like these can modify your whole perspective and rejuvenate your interest in fitness.

Another way to give yourself a push is to remind yourself why you decided to get in shape in the first place. You’re not just exercising for the sake of it — there’s always some fundamental motive that drives us to take up training.

For some, it’s a desire to live a long and healthy life. Others might want to set a good example for loved ones, or just look good in their favourite jeans. What are your reasons? Write them down and keep them top of mind as the challenge of building your fitness starts to mount up.

Most importantly, enjoy working out

Whatever your goals and the motives behind them, it’s important to have fun and enjoy yourself throughout the process — whether that means bringing a friend along to the gym, discovering healthy foods you love, or swapping the treadmill for the tennis court.

The idea of keeping fit is to improve your physical and mental well-being, not to become another source of stress or a stick to beat yourself with.

If the first quarter of the year hasn’t gone the way you’d like and the thoughts of your next workout session fill you with dread and frustration, now is the time to step back and ask why you are doing this, and what you could do to enjoy it more.

Carl Cautley is a Certified Personal Trainer, Zest4Life Nutritional Coach and founder of Health & Fitness Together — an industry-leading Private Personal Training Studio in Ranelagh, Dublin 6. Get in touch with Carl at healthandfitnesstogether.ie or at 01 496 5829 for a complimentary consultation.

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About the author:

Carl Cautley  / Personal trainer

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