How strong is your motivation to get fit and healthy?

It’s the start of another year, and people’s thoughts are turning to their goals for 2014.

Some people, hopefully you, will set goals to increase their health and fitness. The people who succeed the most are the ones with the strongest reasons to stay the course. To paraphrase the philosopher Friedrich Nietzche, if you have a strong enough ‘why’ you can endure almost any ‘how’. The stronger your motivations, the more disciplined you become, and the more effort and sacrifice you’re prepared to endure.

What are your motivations to get fit and healthy? My personal training clients in London have a range of goals and motivations, personal to each individual. Here are some to consider:

Lose weight

If you’re overweight, this is a great goal. Even if you’re ‘normal’ weight, you may have excess fat to lose, and this is a great goal too. The most dangerous fat is ‘visceral fat’ around your vital organs, which releases toxins into your bloodstream and can lead to a whole range of health problems.

Weight loss is the number 1 goal of most of my personal training clients in London. Better health is a common motivation (who doesn’t want to be healthy?!), but there are often more personal reasons specific to each individual. One of my clients wanted to look good for her up-coming wedding. Another wanted to compete more effectively in badminton, a sport he loved, but the weight was letting him down. And a client who’s an ambitious investment banker wanted to have more energy and vitality so he could perform better in his career.

Build muscle and strength

For several of my male personal training clients, usually those in their 20’s and 30’s (although building muscle is a worthy goal for both sexes, at any age), muscle growth is the goal. The more muscle you have, the better your metabolism works to burn excess fat, and the stronger you are to perform physical tasks and play sport and get out of emergency situations.

One of my personal training clients in north London wanted more leg strength in preparation for his ski holiday. The stronger you are, the less likely you are to get injured skiing. I also improved his glute strength and core strength, and flexibility too, all worthy goals for safe and effective skiing.

Resolve a health issue

Several of my personal training clients in London have come to me because they want to cure or mitigate a particular health complaint. Lower back pain is a common one, and a regime of core strength exercise (and if necessary, weight loss too) combined with stretching tight muscles, often helps relieve back pain or resolves it altogether.

Another client came to me with type 2 diabetes, which he had heard could be controlled through improved diet and regular exercise. After several months of personal training with me, and a nutrition plan which stripped all junk food and excess sugar from his diet, he was able manage his condition far better, experienced more energy, and was able to reduce his medication too.

I often get clients who complain that they don’t sleep well. Regular exercise and improved diet can go a long way to improve the quality of your sleep. When one such client came to me, he was taking no exercise, and drinking a lot of coffee and alcohol, and his diet of junk food had caused him to become around 5 stone overweight. Not surprisingly, when he reduced his coffee and alcohol intake, and switched to a diet of ¬†wholesome and nutritious food, combined with several months of personal training sessions with me, he started to sleep better.

What are your reasons to get fit and healthy? Make a list now, and stick it up on the fridge. Visualise yourself having achieved your goal, and this will embed itself in your subconscious and establish a clear target for you to aim for throughout 2014. Remember, the stronger your reasons, the more you want it, the more likely you’ll succeed.

Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London with 12 years’ experience.