Who isn’t familiar with their inner couch potato? The holidays are behind us and we all have a few extra pounds on our ribs than we did in the summer. But who actually wants to exercise in the winter anyway? The call of the sofa is too tempting, especially at the beginning of the year, when we’re struggling to catch up. I talked to BLUEf!t Manager Lars Löwe about how to overcome that inner layabout!
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Lars, how can someone overcome their own lack of willpower?
Lars Löwe: The first step is the hardest step. You feel sluggish and powerless, and all too soon that inner demon wins before the battle really starts. Don’t think of your inner couch potato as an opponent, but as part of yourself! If you asked that inner layabout why he’s so strong right now, what would he tell you? If these questions are clarified and the desire to exercise outweighs them, it is best to start immediately and not wait for day X. Set yourself realistic goals that can be achieved in progressive stages, i.e. smaller intermediate goals or milestones. Set up a training plan, possibly with the help of a specialist, or at least an experienced training partner. When you reach a milestone, reward yourself for the work done, which increases your motivation.
What is special about the beginning of a fitness programme?
Löwe: Set fixed dates for yourself. Use these dates as rest days. Sport takes time and you shouldn’t rush it. At first, concentrate on endurance training. Choose light intensities and don’t use the training equipment for too long. If your own expectations are too high and the body doesn’t live up to these standards, this quickly becomes demotivating. Instead, use your intermediary milestones as a barometer for your progress. If you can’t immediately make it to the 30-minute endurance run, start with two times 15 minutes or three times ten minutes or six times five minutes. The breaks can be used for stretching exercises or brisk walking.
What’s important for building muscle?
Löwe: Muscle building training should always start with the big muscle groups. These include the muscles of the back, legs, and chest. This large-scale workout gets you in shape faster and increases the basal metabolic rate more than if only small muscles are trained. During training, the muscles get tired and the body has to recover. Most of the muscle-building processes actually take place during sleep. So make sure that you recover sufficiently by sleeping.
How do you manage to stay on the ball so long?
Löwe: Again, success often depends on smaller milestones. The more milestones you set and the more you reach, the more successful and motivated you feel. Increase the intensities and volumes of the exercise programmes gently and gradually, but continuously. Move from individual exercises to exercise combinations. For example, push-ups, squats, and squat jumps can be practiced individually and assembled into burpees at a continuous level. Burpees are activities for whole-body training that combine several fitness exercises into a fluid movement. The training will be even more effective and overcoming these tougher challenges makes you feel even better.
For many athletes, keeping a training journal can also be very useful. When you note the frequency, repetition numbers, weights, exercises, etc. systematically, then you can see the development of your progress. This visible success can be very encouraging and motivating.
In summary – here’s what your training success depends on:
- Don’t think of your inner couch potato as an enemy, but as part of yourself!
- Find out what motivates you to be active!
- Set yourself long-term goals and many small, realistic intermediate milestones!
- Draw up a concrete plan!
- Reward yourself!
- Training dates are fixed dates.
- Always begin your training regimen with the big muscle groups!
- Begin with individual exercises that you later put together to complex exercises.
- Keep a training journal.
- Get enough sleep!
- Eat healthy!