John Brierley, in:spa personal trainer, gives his advice on how to get refocused on your fitness.

If you feel that now’s the time to start getting fit, then knowing where you’re at before you start is important (if at times depressing!). If you want to draw a line and move forward, you need to know your starting point. Only then will you be able to measure your progress. If you can’t face the scales, then find something you can measure your progress by – like the notch on your belt or how puffed you are at the top of your flight of stairs.

Recognise that only regular work over time will bring about the lasting changes you seek, and look at your daily schedule to see how you can best fit in some exercise – with as little disruption as possible to your important family or work time. If it’s easy to absorb into your schedule, then it will be easier to maintain.

Start by choosing an activity you enjoy and that brings satisfaction when completed. Start steadily and record the details of each exercise session – writing down what you did and how hard it felt. Writing it down will motivate you to exercise again and it will enable you to see evidence after a few sessions that you are making progress. Writing it down will also show you blanks in your diary when you should be resting, but will also serve to remind you when you haven’t exercised and could have done.

At this point, give serious consideration to broadcasting what you’re doing to a close circle of people who can support and encourage you at times when your motivation may vary – this will help keep you on track. Psychologically people are more likely to find it easier to give up if they are only answerable to themselves.

A new exercise habit will impact your appetite, mood, sleep and other daily patterns, and you should expect to start to feel better in yourself after around six sessions – so promise yourself that you’ll commit to at least this in the next fortnight! The key point then is consistency. The more you become familiar with a chosen exercise routine, the easier it will become, and the more you will improve. This will help to reinforce your belief that the changes you’ve made are taking you in the right direction. Once you have noted that progress seems to be coming you, will be further driven by that glowing post–exercise high and it will be easier to keep going.

Good luck!