When it comes to anything involving fitness and either losing weight or making gains, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome isn’t realising you can’t actually quite bench as much as you think you can. Rather, it is summoning the motivation and telling yourself that whatever work you do put in at the gym or home, will all be worthwhile.
If you don’t quite see the results you want or expect on the scales overnight, for example, you may be inclined to throw in the towel and call it a day.
However, if you’re in the camp of wanting to lose weight, which, considering the lockdown period we’ve all suffered, imagine could be a fair few of you reading this. But all may not be lost, as according to Oops! The Podcast co-host Francis Ellis, he claims it is “easier to keep weight off, than to lose it”, citing his own fitness experiences during quarantine.
And while that quote may sound a little counterintuitive, there could well be some genuine weight to it.
DMARGE reached out to John Field, owner and head coach of Agoga in Bondi, Sydney to find out just how much credibility there is to Francis’ claims.
John initially agrees with Francis, saying “keeping weight off is indeed easier than losing”, however, he adds “this lesser-known fact still might not be an adequate incentive for those who are lacking motivation to exercise amid COVID.”
“They will more likely find success in a bigger motivator like setting short term goals, as setting these regularly has been empirically proven to keep us motivated for longer.”
“If you can realistically see your improvement, however small, you’re much more likely to stay on course in the long term.”
With gyms slowly reopening in Australia (or at least, in all states excluding Victoria) but some members understandably still wanting to practice caution with regards to visiting sweat-filled studios, how can we lose any weight gained if working out is the last thing on our minds?
John’s answer sounds a little counterproductive, but there is some method to it.
“My first tip for anyone wanting to lose weight that they might have gained this year, is not to focus on losing weight!”
“Most people’s relationship with the bathroom scales is an unhealthy one, so my advice is to throw out the scales and focus on how you feel and how you move!.”
“An obsession with ‘losing weight’ or ‘keeping weight off’ can have serious and long term effects on those already suffering from anxiety and depression, and given that weight loss isn’t the most reliable measure of success, this alternative can offer a much more fulfilling route to health.”
John’s advice for Australians aiming for a healthy lifestyle change in the wake of the pandemic is to ask themselves one simple question: “What physical goal can I set for myself to achieve over the upcoming month?”
He adds this is a great motivator because “setting short term performance-based goals allow you to see your progress regularly; your relationship with food will change as you learn to nourish your body with the right nutrition; short term goals don’t require gym equipment as you could set yourself a goal of performing 10 push-ups, 10 air squats and 10 lunges every morning for the next two weeks.”
It’s those last few exercises mentioned, along with sit-ups and outdoor runs, that John recommends people perform at home if your gym is closed or equipment isn’t available.
John’s responses come in the wake of new research released by Mindbody, Australia’s leading platform for the fitness and wellness industry, that reveals how Australians’ behaviour towards fitness has changed due to COVID.
While Mindbody’s data shows some 76% of Australians are still committing to working out at least three times a week and 15% of those workout daily, it also shows that around 45% of the entire population have engaged in fitness-related activities less regularly.
The main culprit? A lack of motivation, with 58% of respondents claiming this to be the dominant factor.
John connects these findings with the mental wellbeing of Australians, claiming “exercise has a very direct impact on our mental health, and vice versa.”
“When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body, elevating your heart rate and subsequently improving your mood, which, if done consistently, can have a positive effect on your mental health.”
“This explains why 36% of respondents have used exercise during COVID to help relieve stress.” Conjointly, reducing your stress levels is claimed to be a major factor in losing weight, too.
“Exercise has also been proven to energise the body, so in the absence of this, a sedentary and inactive lifestyle can make the body feel sluggish and lower your motivation levels long term.”