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Personal trainer reveals secret to kickstarting a healthy year

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As the new year kicks off, most of us are starting with good intentions of doing more exercise and eating healthier foods. However, it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide where to begin, and how to stay motivated. We caught up with Gym in the Park's Andrew Mitchison to find out how to get your year off to a healthy start, and stick to your resolutions…

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Personal trainer Andrew reveals his tips for kickstarting a healthy new year

What's the best and most effective way to shift Christmas weight?

"It's all about increase and decrease! The first thing to do is to increase your calorie expenditure. This can be as simple as walking more, swimming, cycling, hitting the gym, or taking the stairs at work. Next is to decrease, as Christmas is a time of overindulgence – and why not, life's about enjoyment and especially of food! So once this period is over, knuckle down and reduce your intake of rich calorific food and drink."

What are some realistic goals you can set yourself?

"Realistic goals are all down to the individual. They should always be achievable, challenging but within your reach. They can be anything from running your first 10km to losing a dress size for a holiday."

Why do people give up on their fitness resolutions?

"I find people tend to give up due to a number of reasons. Their goal setting can be unrealistic within their given time frame and as a result, they get deterred when they don't see the results and give up. Another is going too full on - it's virtually impossible to sustain this level of intensity especially if they have busy lifestyles with work, family and children."

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Try setting realistic goals to see the results and stay motivated

What advice would you give someone who hasn't exercised before? Where should they start?

"Firstly I would advise for a complete beginner to get the all clear to exercise from your GP. Then I would recommend increasing your base level fitness, starting with low impact exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming. Then introduce body weight resistance exercises such as basic squats, lunges, push ups and progress on to resistance equipment. Using a trainer ensures your technique is correct and makes sure you are doing the exercise safely and effectively."

How do you keep yourself motivated?

"Many ways. The industry I'm in requires me to be in reasonable shape, I couldn't keep up when running with my clients if I wasn't! I have also noticed if I ever take a period off training I am more vulnerable to injury, so injury prevention is very important. I also try and go away somewhere warm, as I find this keeps me focused to keep in good shape. Also, when training in the gym, it helps me to stay on track with my diet - I don’t want to undo all the good work. So working out has a snowball effect on my diet and healthy lifestyle."

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Andrew suggests keeping stress down with exercises such as yoga or relaxation classes

How can you get the most out of your sessions?

"Firstly I would look for a good trainer, someone who can show me how to perform the exercises correctly and making sure I am mindful of each action I do - that way I will be getting the most out of my workout."

What are some simple things that people can do, besides working out, to see results faster?

"There are a number of things an individual can do to aid results. The main one of course is having the correct diet. Making sure you are consuming the correct type and amount of calories, having good protein sources alongside good fats, vegetables, fruits and consuming adequate water.

"Another way of aiding results is by keeping stress levels down. Yoga, meditation, stretch and relaxation classes all have enormous benefits, even a walk in the fresh air. Sleep is also important - too little sleep raises cortisol levels in the body which breaks down lean muscle and inhibits fat burning, and the body also craves rubbish food."

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