The health and wellbeing column with Mel Spencer

It's not unusual for people to drop a dress size but gain on the scales.
It's not unusual for people to drop a dress size but gain on the scales.

Whether you’re a few weeks into a new gym regime or psyching yourself up to getting started, keep reading for my top tips on how to stick with it throughout 2020 and beyond!

Baby steps: this is one of my many mantras! If you haven’t exercised in sometime, getting back into the swing of things isn’t going to happen overnight.

On average it takes 21 days to make a habit.

Most new goers don’t get past this because they don’t take baby steps, they rush into it headlong making it a thoroughly unpleasant experience and one that gets harder and harder to repeat.

Literally pace yourself and as your ability improves increase what you are doing.

Set goals: both short and long term and make them realistic, something to push yourself but not to the extent that you’re never going to reach them – this only demotivates.

Visualise where you want to be and over what time frame. Break this into bite sized chunks.

Rewards: in line goal setting, if you reach your goals, reward yourself.

New gym kit is a good one as it further reinforces your feel good factor in the gym and helps to spur you on.

Take measurements: if your goals are sized based measure, don’t weigh, particularly if you are weight training.

As you gain muscle you may well increase in weight, again, another demotivating factor.

I measure my clients on a monthly basis and it’s not unusual for them to drop a dress size but actually gain on the scales.

Make a date with yourself: as you would with any other appointment, put your training time in the diary. Once it’s in there stick with it.

Have a gym buddy: for some people these work really well. You’re committing to a date/time and don’t want to let them down. You can also push each other to keep going.

Focus on how you’ll feel when you leave the gym: it happens to all of us, it’s nice and warm at home and blowing a gale outside, the last thing you feel like doing is going out.

But if you do, you’ll feel so much better for it.

You’ll be energised, the endorphins will be whizzing around and you will have achieved something.

Focus on that feeling, get your gym kit on and get out!

Think about the health benefits: it’s not just about size and shape, there are far more benefits to be gained.

Reduced risk of heart disease, stronger bones ,improved mental health; the list goes on and on...

Rest and recovery: this is so important. Be kind to your body, it’s working hard for you and it needs a rest to repair. Depending on how you are training the bare minimum would be one rest day a week.

Consider a trainer: this is where I come in! It can be tough getting going in the gym and maintaining it.

The two biggest reasons for people falling off the exercise wagon is firstly they don’t feel confident in what they are doing, aimlessly wandering around the gym with no real direction.

Secondly, they just can’t get themselves motivated.

I can help with both!

I hope this helps in getting/keeping you going.

For any further questions or advice, contact me at and let’s make 2020 a good one!