There is no doubt that the continuing lockdowns are having a huge effect on everyone’s mental health. However, some people have taken the opportunity to get fit and change their health for the better, and in this way, taking back responsibility for their own well-being. I’m one of those people. I’m not glorifying the fact that I’ve worked on my physical health during the pandemic and lost weight. I didn’t set out to lose weight in the beginning. What I wanted to do was something that I’d never had time to do before: to reflect on my mental health.
Of course mental and physical health are connected. Evidently, what you put into your body will affect your mood and your physical health, hence impacting your overall daily routine. There are also studies that show that being in good physical health can prevent serious complications if you contract Covid-19.
However, these times have been extremely difficult for many, and for most, fitness is probably the last of their priorities. We also need to have a discussion surrounding diet fads.
Recently, especially on TikTok, young people have popularised a quick 12 week diet plan to lose weight for what many girls call ‘hot girl summer’. These diets are problematic as they promote a short term solution to a lifestyle issue and possibly misogynistic towards women, with the focus on fat loss rather than health. Food and fitness should benefit you, not be to your detriment. Fitness journeys take time and patience. This lockdown time with few other commitments may be the best time to start.
Kevin Hoare is a personal trainer from Co.Kildare. Similar to many others working in the fitness industry, he has moved online and this has benefitted his business and his clients in ways he did not expect. Working as a trainer since March 2016, he has explored ways to incorporate his expertise into new technology. I spoke with Kevin about his thoughts on physical health during lockdown.
What is your methodology/do you have a very specific way or training your clients?
I don’t have a methodology for training my clients. The reason for this is that everyone is an individual and needs to be treated as such. One person will have totally different needs, priorities, and schedules to another, so all of these factors come into play when deciding on the best approach for a client. For me, I like to find out where a client really wants to get to and reverse engineer the process from there, looking at the bigger picture goal, breaking it down into more manageable short term goals and basing the approach on the individual factors spoken about above.
Did you have to move online because of the pandemic? And how have you found this?
Yes. Initially, it was a scary prospect. In hindsight, it’s been the best thing that could have happened for my business. It’s opened my eyes to how I can have a greater impact with my coaching than regular one-to-one, in person coaching. I’ve spent the past 12 months constantly developing my service to ensure all of my clients get the most out of their time with me and of course, achieve the results they come to me for. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of the last year, it’s definitely been a lesson in resilience which I think every business owner needs in abundance if they are to be successful in their chosen craft.
Do you find more or less people have been interested in fitness due to lockdown?
I think overall there’s definitely been more interest. A combination of a few things have led to this in my view. Of course, there’s the fact that a lot of people have more time on their hands which they previously may not have had, but I also think more people have realised the importance of looking after their health throughout this period of time, both physically and mentally. We know for sure that keeping yourself fit and exercising regularly helps massively in both of these areas, so I think that people who have looked after themselves in these areas throughout the last 12 months have come through these difficult times a little easier than those who haven’t. For example, all of the new clients who I’ve taken onboard through the course of the pandemic who previously had not been exercising, have reported that they feel so much better after getting a structured exercise routine in place.
Any recommendations to anyone starting a fitness journey?
Look at your fitness journey as a never ending process of self improvement, rather than some quick fix. Too many people overestimate what they can do in a few weeks and underestimate what they can do in a year. Remember that forming positive habits around your food and exercise is the most important part of your journey, because it’s going to ensure that you can not just achieve the desired results, but also maintain them long term. You haven’t wanted to improve your health and fitness for just a couple of weeks, so stop trying to make all of your progress to where you want to be in a few weeks. What good is achieving a goal, if you’re back to square one in no time?
Would you recommend quick fix diet plans or groups?
My pet peeve is fad diets. Following on from the answer above, I think fad diets have no place in your fitness journey. I’ve had clients come to me with disordered eating patterns which can be traced back to one of the many different harsh approaches these fad diets can bring with them. Sure, if you go on a liquid diet or heavily restrict certain food groups, you may lose weight, but what’s the point if you’ll be back where you started as quickly or even quicker than you got there? All of my clients are on nutrition plans which they feel they could continue on for life. Of course, there will be periods of time where they will be more restricted than others if they have particular goals, but the structure of their food plans are inclusive of all different food groups and based around foods they enjoy, to ensure maximum adherence and maximum results.
You can find Kevin on Instagram at @kevinhoarefitness and on Facebook at kh__fitness_ Kevin has also launched a new website www.khfitness.ie