It's not rocket science but it is revelatory...
James Kavanagh from Final Push Fitness is a local Cheltenham PT whose favourite client is the one that needs that final push when all else has failed. James likes to break down the popular 'All or Nothing' approach to fitness and instead, implement simple, manageable approaches that will last a lifetime. So how do you illicit a permanent change when it comes to fitness?
James explains his approach is about going beyond that one hour session with a client, because that one hour of a week is 0.6% of the entire 7 days, so to have any real impact there needs to be a much more engaged trainer/client relationship. Using his own app that people can use on the go, and is packed full of nutrition tips, as well as sitting down for at least one hour with a client before even taking them on, James aims to understand and understand his client's needs and the push that it will take for them to see results.
"Going hard is just not sustainable, going 'all or nothing' will always result in failure as 'perfect standards' that people like to set themselves will inevitably slack, leaving a demotivated individual and that sense of throwing the towel in." Says James.
James likes to use the example of being dropped in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language, terrain and culture, and being asked to navigate your way home; "It's not going to be fun, it's going to feel near impossible, and we wouldn't do it. Instead, we'd take a map, use a foreign language dictionary, and go on the internet to do some research."
So why do some of us make our approach to exercise so hard, and potentially so miserable? James concedes that an element of the 'all or nothing' approach is the attitude that nothing worth having is easy, but the 'lets go attack this and set a regime in place' can initially be really satisfying when results roll in. But, it just simply isn't sustainable and soon, loses its shine.
"A short lived investment results in disappointment whereas a measured, balanced approach to exercise can instill a permanent mental determination" says James.
So what is the perfect workout to say, for example, achieve fat loss? James reveals it is merely the one that you enjoy, because the one you enjoy you will do again, and again, and again, and the one that you continuously repeat will make you more enthusiastic and confident to change different elements about your life.
"Exercise activity thermogenesis, which is the amount of energy you expend doing exercise, only makes up about 5% of your total energy output in your day, so realistically that time you spend in the gym is a really small portion of the energy that your are expending" explains James. "Without saying it doesn't matter what you do in the gym, it's nowhere near as important physically as it is mentally, its about what it does to your mind, its about how it makes you feel."
But, if to achieve that mental buzz and determination you are pushing yourself to exhaustion, quite frankly there is no point, because that temporary high will probably result in inevitable fatigue, failure and potential injury. It's not rocket science but it is revelatory.
In short, if you break the all or nothing approach, you really can get it all.