The body+soul trainers Michelle Bridges and Steve ‘Commando’ Willis take it up a notch…
This week’s goal is to get fitness focused. “Exercise is so important for good health,” Michelle says. “Personally, I think it solves almost every physiological and psychological problem there is. And if it doesn’t solve it, then it definitely minimises it because your head is in a better place.
“There’s also a plethora of research out there telling us the same thing – exercise eases stress, anxiety and depression, helps reduce blood pressure and helps lower the risk of heart disease. These are things that can kill you but might not if you get moving, so we’d be bonkers not to.”
“When starting a fitness program, it’s important to take the focus away from your weight and the number on the scales,” Steve adds. “Focus on feeling better or getting stronger. I promise you, dropping kilos will be a happy side effect of that. I’ve seen so many people work really hard all week only to be overcome with a sense of failure when they don’t see a change on the scales. They overlook so many other great achievements that have come from their effort because of a silly number.”
“And don’t forget that exercise can and should be fun,” Michelle advises. “My hairdresser was complaining to me recently about not liking the gym and I said to him, ‘You don’t have to go to a gym to exercise.’
You can do trapeze, go surfing, play tennis, start dancing or try stand-up paddle boarding. Exercise can be anything. Steve and I don’t spend all our time in the gym – we walk the dog, ride scooters with the kids, do cartwheels in the park. You can, too.”
Hurdle 1: making time
“Exercise has to be scheduled in your diary or calendar because the time to do it isn’t going to just fall into your lap,” Michelle says. “Once you’ve locked that time in, think about your workout. If I turn up to train and I don’t know exactly what I want to do, it usually ends up being a wishy-washy session. But if I have a plan, I have a better training session and don’t waste time.”
“Going to the gym without a plan is like jumping in the pool and then treading water or letting yourself loose on mouse wheels,” Steve says. “It will never get you anywhere.”
Hurdle 2: What do I do?
“One of the best things to get started with, especially if you’ve never exercised before, is walking. You can’t beat it,” Michelle says. “It doesn’t cost you anything and you don’t need any fancy workout gear to do it. From there, you could add bursts of jogging or you could walk to the park and do a little circuit there.” Or ask someone for advice, Steve suggests. “There are plenty of people who are willing to help, both health professionals and those you love.”
Hurdle 3: Know what you want
“Want better posture? Better flexibility? More energy? When you know what you want, you can tailor your exercise plan to help you get exactly that,” Michelle explains.
“Just freaking do it. Instead of just sitting there, put your shoes on and get out the door. The sooner it’s done, the sooner you can high-five yourself.”
In Week 2 you’re going to…
Track my start point
Take a “before” shot, measure your waist, write down your blood pressure… Then check your progress next week.
Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
Take every opportunity you can to move. If someone asks for your help moving boxes, do it. If the kids want to play hopscotch, do it. If you need a coffee, park a few blocks away from the cafe and walk.
Play one of your favourite songs and then move the whole time the music is on. Dance. Jump. Jog on the spot. Anything that will have you puffing by the end.
Take a walk
Three nights this week, after dinner, go for a 10-minute stroll around your neighbourhood.
Fun Fact: 30mins is how long a woman needs to exercise each week to significantly reduce her risk of developing cervical cancer.
The 10-minute rule: No matter how much you’re dreading your sweat session, give it 10 minutes. If you still can’t cope once that’s done, you can have a “Get Out Of The Gym Free” card.
Michelle and Steve talk the best food and nutrition
Follow @mishbridges and @commandosteve on Instagram for more #inspo. The couple’s posts will have your thumbs double-tapping – especially when Axel makes a cameo – and your tongues wagging.
KEEN TO #CHANGEFORLIFE?
Then we want to know about it. Tag @bodyandsoul_au and #changeforlife on Instagram to show us the progress you’re making so we can celebrate your success in the coming issues of body+soul.
ASK AWAY: Got a question for Michelle and Steve? Send it to [email protected] We’ll put the best ones to the pair and include their answers in an upcoming issue of body+soul.