Build solid foundations for life

Build solid foundations for life

Monday 12th November 2018
Alex Pedley

You don't need to be a construction expert to understand that building a house takes time. There's a standard process that is always followed: first, the architect designs the layout, including planning for what it needs to be strong and longlasting. Next, phase one of the build begins: laying solid foundations that will support the structure and everything that goes within. The shell is then built, walls are erected and on it goes until we end up with a house.

This is a clear and structured process that ensures that the end result is always the same - a building that looks great, is fit for purpose and lasts for years to come.

Replace the house with a body, though, and logical thought processes seem to be thrown out of the window...

Let me explain. When someone decides to improve their health and fitness, they often bypass the planning phase - ignoring the need for solid foundations - and head straight for the 'painters and decorators'. This can come in many forms, from throwing oneself into a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class to heading straight for the weights area for some heavy lifting.

The same can be said when trying to improve eating habits. The decision has been made to lose some weight so "everything must go!" The promise of instant results made in magazine articles or by so-called 'health gurus' (and promoted ad infinitum on social media) are not sustainable and, inevitably, can end in failure.

Just like when a homeowner decides to invest in an extension and unwittingly hirers a dodgy builder who does a fast but inadequate job, the same can be said when choosing the wrong exercise or trying a quick fix diet: your body will end up in a worse condition.

Improving your health and fitness takes time. It is a lifelong pursuit that is fun and rewarding, but like anything in life worth working for, the first phase takes planning, needs a solid base and takes some hard work. Just like trying to move a stationary car, the hardest part is getting the vehicle moving - after that point, momentum is built which will help propel you forward.

So if there is no miracle 'fast track' health solution, what is the best route to take?

Firstly, work out your goals. They have to be clear and definable such as running a mile without stopping, fitting into an item of clothing or sleeping a set amount of hours each night.

Next, schedule small, achievable targets. If you want to run a mile you could start with running for two minutes then walking for two minutes. Gradually increase the time spent running until you can hit that mile without stopping.

Thirdly, start slowly. In order to reach your goal you'll need to build solid foundations. Don't attempt to squat with weights if you can't perform a squat without weights: doing so will just increase you chance of getting injured. If your movement capacity doesn't allow you to achieve a position, you would first need to improve your mobility so that you can.

Next, only make small segmental changes at the start. Trying to change too much too soon is a surefire way to leave you feeling overwhelmed and searching for an excuse to stop.

Finally, celebrate each small win and reward your good work. You are trying to make long-term, sustainable changes and enjoying the small successes whilst having fun along the way is essential.

Your body is the house that you live in for a lifetime - and must be maintained and improved to keep it at its best. Cutting corners to get the job done fast will give only you a home that is unsafe and untenable.

As ever, if you want to discuss any of the points in this blog, just get in touch.

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