Healthy New Year tips from a professional athlete

20 April 2017 by
First published: 3 January 2016

Looking for some fitspo? Check out these healthy New Year tips from a professional athlete.

Fall in love with fitness

It’s impossible to ‘fall in love’ with anything you are not passionate about or truly believe in. I find that with my clients one of the most common barriers to participation in sport/exercise is not enjoying what they are doing. So find a sport or training programme that you truly enjoy.

Try to add variation into your chosen exercise routine or sport as this will keep you interested and challenged.

Set realistic goals and stick to them

Acknowledge your progress and take small but consistent steps to reach your goals. Everyone has days when they don’t perform at their peak, listen to your body and make sure you have rest days.

Take time-out from technology 

‘You have time for what you make time for in life’, this is something I believe with all my heart. Technology definitely has its benefits but I fear it can be the worst enemy for some of us.

The good news is that YOU can control the amount of time you spend on technology and maximise the time you have to achieve great things.

How many of us reach for our phones to put the alarm off (or the snooze button like me) and then somehow spend the next 5 -20 minutes scrolling through our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter news feeds? 

Here is what you need to start doing in those 20 minutes…

You could give thanks

Pray, meditate, stretch or tell your loved ones around you how much you love them. Do whatever you need to do in order to prepare your body and mind for the day ahead. 

Or create a daily plan

Nothing wastes time more than being disorganised, not having a plan and then becoming distracted. I’m not saying you need to plan your day hour to hour because the day presents new challenges and tasks from start to finish. However, making a little list of the things that are on your mind, which need to be done will give you a structure and something to refer back to in case to get flustered from the craziness of your day. 

Take care from within

Fuelling your body with the right foods, vitamins and minerals and making sure you drink enough water will have significant effects of your health and general well-being. These choices affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. 

I am not saying you can’t eat your favourite chocolate or not enjoy a glass of wine. We are all different and need to eat according to our lifestyles. As a general rule we need to keep things simple by making sure we get enough of the following three things:

Make time for good nutrition

This is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients for a reason —because they perform hundreds of different roles in the body. They care for bones, heal wounds, and bolster your immune system. They also convert food into energy, and repair cellular damage, and so much more…

Drink enough water

The human body is made up of a high percentage of water and the functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

By drinking enough water you can dramatically improve your physical performance, improve your energy levels and brain function, help to prevent and treat headaches and help with weight loss.

Sleep more, stress less

I understand some of us work around the clock, have too many financial commitments, are balancing studying, working and family commitments… the list goes on and on. Your body can only handle this for so long until it will burn out.

A good night’s sleep makes you able to tackle the day’s stress more easily. When you are tired, you are less patient and more easily agitated, which can increase stress. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your mind and body along with reducing stress.

Life is not a competition

Sure there is a certain ‘competitive factor’ which we see in everything, everyday. everywhere. However, there is a fine line between using our competitive drive to ‘be better’ than someone else to make them feel bad about themselves or using that drive and talent to achieve great things, and in doing so inspire and encourage others to do the same. 

Feed your senses with goodness

Watch what you ‘feed’ your mind, ears and eyes with. You can’t ‘unsee’ or ‘unhear’ things and I don’t think we realise that fully. Just as nutrition is important for your body, so is the ‘nutrition’ we allow our brain to receive. Negativity breeds negativity. What you feed your brain with will ultimately be fed around to your body and you need to decide if this will be ‘junk’ or wholesome and positive nutrition. Take note of the things you watch on TV, the music you listen to, the pictures you look at (in beauty magazines) and compare yourself to. When the day is done the only thing that truly matters is that you have been the best person you can be for yourself, the people who matter in your life and those whose lives you have touched.

Let your ‘light’ shine

My mum reminds me of this every morning before I go to work. She says: ‘remember to let your light shine; make people happy and smile because it might be the only bit of ‘light’ they may see’. This does not mean I don’t have ‘down’ days or days when I just need someone to give me a hug and say something to brighten up my day. We are all human, we are all the same and we need to look out for one another. Do one selfless act a day and not only will you see the positive effect it has on you but others around you.

Be brave, be beautiful, be you

From a young age I remember my mom’s response to me whenever I would tell her how well someone at school could play an instrument, how they were so talented at sport or did so well academically. 

She would always respond with a gentle smile, saying that I too am capable of the same and that just as others have worked hard and been dedicated in their respective fields, I too can achieve excellence and so much more in my own unique way.  She still reminds me of this to this day. We need to remember and celebrate who we are.