Fitness tips from the professionals

Before I plunge wholeheartedly into the frightening world of fitness, I thought I’d get some advice from a seasoned professional. Andrée Deane is chief executive officer of the Fitness Industry Association and has trained the likes of Rosemary Conley and Mr Motivator. She was kind enough to give me the following seven tips for getting fit on a budget:

1. If you fear the gym, exercise at home

“We recognise there are people who don’t like fitness clubs,” she says. “So at the FIA we signpost people to their local walking and jogging clubs. In our Active at Work project instructors go into the workplace and take people out walking. There are also videos you can use at home and it’s becoming more acceptable to use gadgets, like Wii Fit. But you’ve got to be sure about your technique. Otherwise you’ve no way of knowing you’re exercising correctly. Going to a class once a week should help.”

2. Check out local leisure centres to keep costs down

“Some budget health facilities are very good,” says Andrée. “And if you don’t fancy your local leisure centre, we’ve got a new breed of health clubs emerging from Germany which are open 24 hours and cost about £15 a month.”

Andrée defends the 12 month contracts some gyms tie members into. “A lot of gyms have them for good reasons. If you want to get results you need to be committed. And it’s likely your mobile phone ties you into a contract anyway.”

3. Exercise little and often

“The government recommendation is five 30 minutes exercise sessions a week,” Andrée explains. “Most people can fit in 30 minutes somewhere into their routine. It could be 30 minutes of walking. Simply adopt the mentality of being more active. Walk up the stairs etc. Park further away so you have to walk to places. Everything adds up, especially if you’re just starting to exercise.”

4. Exercise with a friend!

“Start doing something that’s non-intimidating and do it with a friend,” she says. “If we make an appointment with a friend we’re more likely to keep to it.”

5. Have a goal in mind

“If you sign up to do a charity event linked to the exercise, you’re more likely to stick to it. The marathon is the ultimate and you can see the fever it generates. It’s just the same with Race for Life or a local fun run. Everyone needs a goal.”

6. Make sure your gym operates an induction

“If a gym isn’t offering an induction they’re not doing their job,” warns Andrée. FIA members have a code of practice. The level of instruction is also very important. In some no frills gyms you won’t get much attention so they suit people who have exercised all their lives. But also, if the place is based on personal trainers then there might not be a fitness instructor on the floor. You want a well staffed gym.”

7. Don’t fear the lycra!

“A radio presenter told me recently he didn’t go to the gym because he didn’t fancy getting into all that lycra, but it’s not a fashion show anymore. People wear tracksuits now, not lycra! Gyms are friendly places and there are cafes and a social calendar.”

Andrée also points out that while you won’t need to spend out cash on gym training clothes you will need a decent pair of trainers.


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3 Responses to Fitness tips from the professionals

  1. Old says:

    the idea of a goal is vital – helps you get motivated on those wet horrible days (today) when the sofa seems an easy option.  Goals should be SMART – Specific Measurable Acheivable Realistic and Timely – these all apply to starting a fitness regime – especially the measurable and realistic bits – they could be completing an event – or doing it in a certain time if you\’ve done it before.  "I want to lose weight" or "want to be fitter" or just to vague to measure – hard to assess acheivement and thus usually get put to one side.

  2. Christine says:

    How right you are Paul – a goal is an absolute necessity. I hate "exercise" but will spend active hours on the allotment because it has a goal (food) and I\’m good at it. You need to actually enjoy the exercise you do or you won\’t stick at it. If the gym is not for you, take up netball (a really competitive sport and not at all ladylike) or line dancing or salsa (or hula hooping) or anything that is sociable that will keep you wanting to go back.

  3. Sara says:

    If anyone is looing for the cheaper option to a gym – Try FABS. I am really self-concious and so would not go to  gym, I jave to admit I have worked in a gym but never tried one – however FABS (Fitness & Aerobics Broadband Service) is a fitness programme online – it offers you a perosnal fitness programme, diet plans and excercise programmes that mean you can access it anytime, anywhere!!! It is amazing – I am a member and wouldn\’t swap it for the world! Obviosuly there are some things you cannot do such as weight lifting etc. but if you just want to keep fit, lose weight or tone muscles this is perfect! All from £10* per month. Drop me an email for more info or go to my website and click on the FABS logo for more information and to sign up! (*a one off fee applies when joining.)

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