Summer is officially here which should mean fun holiday escapes and guilt-free days spent lazing be the pool… However, feeling body confident and motivated whilst temperatures rise can seem a little more challenging than usual, especially when faced with this season’s skimpiest summer trends and days spent away from our typical routine. So what do we need to do to get most out of our workout regime this summer and ensure our fitness goals stick? Well, we spoke to co-founder of Business Bay CrossFit and personal trainer to some of Dubai’s most stylish and svelte women, Marlene Bunston, to reveal her top five tips for making your your fitness goals a reality… and poolside dressing, and lazing, a little easier.
1. HAVE A GOAL
“You have to work for it. Seeing progress helps you to trust your program and stick with it.”
In my experience, both with myself and with the people I coach, goals that are purely focused towards achieving a certain ‘look’ are almost never met. To change something physically noticeable on your body can take a lot more time than you may have the patience for. That’s not to say you can’t change the way your body looks, of course you can, but it takes persistence, determination, focus, patience and you have got to be kind to yourself in the process. For example, not seeing that change in 4 weeks (like you told yourself you would) may upset you and you may blame your program, your trainer, yourself and anything else you can think of and worst case scenario… you’re probably going to have an ‘off’ week or perhaps even give up altogether.
If you have a task oriented goal, for example “I will dead-lift 1.5 times my body weight” you can measure that and you will see the progress as you work towards it. You can’t hit a 1.5 times body weight dead-lift without working towards it diligently. Similarly, you are not going to run 5km in 20 minutes if you don’t work at it a few times a week. You have to work for it.
Having task oriented goals are so much more fun than standing on the scale or whipping out your skinny jeans and trying to squeeze into them or even staring at yourself in the mirror pointing out every single lump and bump that you so desperately hate. Learning new things, getting stronger, running 5kms without stopping when you couldn’t 6 weeks ago – these are the things that make you feel good about yourself. It’s empowering. It pushes you to keep going. It’s addictive. The best part of it is that you are going to look amazing, strong, sexy and confident. You can’t beat that.
2. EAT WELL.
“Food is good! Come to terms with that.”
Starvation will get you nowhere and you certainly won’t achieve your goals if you don’t fuel your body with nutritious foods that give you energy and make you feel good. Listen to your body, if you eat something and you don’t feel energized or well afterwards, it wasn’t good for you. There is no one-size-fits-all nutrition program, some people thrive on paleo food programs, others need a lot more carbs to feel good and perform at their best. Learn what works for you and don’t restrict your calories, this will do more harm than good and it is not conducive to achieving the body you want to see in the mirror because your body will fight you every inch of the way.
“Sort yourself out and dedicate 7 to 8 hours every night to sleep”.
Sleep is so important. We live a very fast paced life in Dubai and there is a ‘sleep when you’re dead’ mentality which is not helpful to achieving your fitness goals. Anyone who knows anything about being fit and healthy and living a high performance life knows that without enough sleep, you will not lose body fat or perform at the best level. It’s 100% guaranteed that you will be fighting a losing battle until you sort yourself out and dedicate 7 to 8 hours every night to sleep. Prioritize it. STAT.
“Do something you love.”
Don’t start doing CrossFit because you saw a really hot girl who does it and you want to look like her, if you hate lifting weights choose something else. Similarly, don’t choose yoga as your form of exercise because you want to be ‘long and lean’ like the teacher (or the millions of yogi’s all over every social media platform) if it bores the hell out of you, look for something that doesn’t. Choose something that gets you excited and has you eagerly awaiting your next workout. It can literally be anything, it just has to be something that you genuinely look forward to and would never look for an excuse to miss.
“This is your life we are talking about. Make it a priority. Consistency is the one thing that may trump all areas.”
Consistency is key. I have worked with so many people, men and women alike, over the years and I have lost count of the amount of people who say “I haven’t lost any weight!”, until we look back at their training records and find that the first two weeks of every month they train three times a week, but by the end of the month it’s zero. People in Dubai travel a lot but that is not an excuse. If you have a trainer, they will definitely create a program that works for your travels. If you prefer going for different classes, do your research before you travel, whether it be business or pleasure, and book a hotel that is close to a place that offers what you are looking for. This is your life we are talking about. Make it a priority. Consistency is the one thing that may trump all areas. I’m not saying ‘eat crap, don’t sleep, do something you hate but be consistent with your workouts and all will be swell.’ However, if you do have an ‘off’ couple of days here and there with your food, sleep, lifestyle in general, but you stay consistent with your programming, it’s going to show. The only time it is ok to quit a program before giving it a fair shot is if you really dread it. In that case find something different and once you commit, that’s it, stay in it for the long haul.
Picture via Tory Burch