Personal trainer Milena Opoloska talks starting small for big benefits…
We all know the feeling; waking up on January 2 feeling lethargic and convinced all our clothes have shrunk over the Christmas holiday. There’s always lots of advice for people who plan to go back to their fitness and healthy eating regimes at this time of year, but what about if you’ve never really set foot in a gym before? If you’re one of the estimated six million people who don’t get any exercise, how do you even begin to get started?
We asked Milena Opolska for help. She is a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, based at the Willow Brook Centre, in Bradley Stoke, and is an expert in helping people get started on their fitness journey.
Her first tip was to start slowly. There’s no need to be in the gym for hours at a time to start with – begin with just 20 minutes and slowly build up as you get fitter. Overtraining can cause injuries and will put you off before you’ve even started.
Secondly, she recommended setting realistic goals. If you’ve never done any running before, don’t assume you’ll be able to be on the start line of this year’s London Marathon; sign up for a 5k instead. Or perhaps set yourself a target of rowing or cycling a set distance using the gym equipment. Remember to reward yourself when you reach your goal.
For her third tip, Milena told us that the people who get the best results are those who enjoy what they do. It may sound obvious but if you know you hate running but love swimming, don’t start your fitness journey with a run!
Her fourth tip was to make sure you ask for help if you’re unsure about anything; don’t struggle on by yourself. Fitness instructors or personal trainers can give you advice if you want to try something new or if you’re having a wobble and can’t see any improvement. They’re also great for support and encouragement.
Finally, Milena said that consistency is key. You need to make fitness a habit in your new life and this can take a few weeks to get established. Go to the gym on the same day each week or at the same time of day. Follow the same programme for at least the first few weeks before branching out and trying something new.
Good luck if you’re starting a fitness plan – who knows where 2018 might take you!