Fitness Formation: Three key steps to a fitter you

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It’s January 2013 and you have decided to get in shape this year.

Last time we discussed three factors to success. Those three factors will ensure that, come next January, you won’t be thinking, “I wish I started this last year”.

Here’s a quick recap on the three factors involved in achieving success.

Always start with your reason why. Your reason has to be deep and emotive.

Secondly, you need to set specific, time-framed goals and take constant action.

Thirdly, you must have a positive mind-set and absolutely must believe in yourself.

You will be setting the same new year’s resolution in 2014 if you do not believe in yourself.

After you have taken the time to define your reasons why you are doing this, now is the time to get to work and start doing the things you must do every day to make this resolution a revolution.

These goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound in order to be sustainable.

A brilliant way of setting yourself up for successfully achieving your goals is to plan ahead.

Schedule your diary a week ahead and slot your workout sessions throughout the week at specific times and treat these times like a board meeting or a doctor’s appointment.

You wouldn’t skip a doctor’s appointment so don’t skip your scheduled workout time.

Even better, go one step further and arrange to meet a friend or colleague at this time and place.

That way you are accountable to others who you do not want to let down.

Just these two tips will keep you on track.

Taking action and completing your scheduled workouts will leave you feeling on top of the world.

In time, the results will start to show and after consistently making time in your week for exercise, you’ll realise that no matter how busy you are, you can always make time.

It’s a simple case of making a choice.

Ryan Donohue

Ingrid’s Gym Diary

A STONE in a month.

That’s the amount of weight I’ve lost since starting training with Ryan Donohue of Fitness Formation.

When Ryan weighed me a couple of days ago I couldn’t quite believe what he was saying.

He said it a few times but it didn’t sink in. I simply couldn’t believe it.

Later that day, when I’d had time to reflect on the news, I saw that all our hard work had paid off.

The two 6am sessions, one 8am session and a one-to-one session every week at VV gym since December 7, had worked their magic.

I had also followed a healthy, low fat diet which had obviously increased my chances of success.

To hammer home the amount of weight I’d lost Ryan showed me some gut-churning photographs of mounds of human fat. He also got me to hold a one-stone medicine ball.

It seemed incredible that I’d been lugging around so much excess bodyweight.

No wonder I was having trouble doing simple things like going for a walk or doing housework.

Ryan explained that the fat would have been distributed around my body; around my brain, heart, stomach, legs and so on.

It was a sobering thought.

When Ryan helped me to visualise the fat it stiffened my resolve to lose more weight.

This all sounds very serious, but I’ve been having a blast during Ryan’s group and one-to-one sessions.

At the 6am sessions I am barely awake and some of the other women have had a good laugh at me bumbling around.

The sessions are for women of almost every fitness level – from beginners like me to super-fit sirens.

Seeing the other women busting their guts in the gym gives me something to aim for and their friendship is invaluable.

Every session is different and the one-to-one sessions are particularly hard (no sly slacking off when Ryan is checking on the others!)

Our last one-to-one started with a 10-minute warm-up on the cross trainer (a machine that works the upper and lower body) so that I would start to build up a sweat.

It would also raise my heart rate, increase my core temperature, increase blood flow and loosen me up.

I asked Ryan what constitutes a good workout and he said there is no definitive answer to this, as there are a lot of different views on the subject: “It basically comes down to what you want to achieve and what facilities you have.

“I can create a workout anywhere but there are more options in a gym like VVV.”

Ryan said that during any session he gradually increases the intensity of the exercise.

“I work on a scale of one to 10,” he said. “I say: ‘Where are you?’ to gauge the intensity. For a warm-up you ought to be a four or a five and at 10 you would be giving it everything you have.

“Ideally you start at a three and form a slow, gradual curve.”

When I started we would take upwards of 20 minutes to get to level seven or eight. Now I’m much quicker and we can work at a higher intensity.

After the cardio we moved on to one of the resistance machines to do a “compound exercise”, as Ryan put it. “I try to always do a full body approach so you are using more muscles at the same time,” said Ryan. “We work all the core muscles in every single exercise so you get a more effective workout.”

On the cable machine Ryan got me to lift weights in movements equivalent to a squat and a row.We also do what you call high intensity interval training, or HIIT,” explained Ryan. For the most part, we don’t specifically train one area. We are working on several areas at once. Compound exercises such as a squat, work the quadriceps, gluteus maximus (buttocks), hamstrings, core and so on.”

Then we did 3km on the exercise bike to keep my heart rate up and moved back onto the resistance machines to do cable chest presses.

“This works the bingo wings and bra fat,” said Ryan.

Ryan added that he was delighted with my progress: “What makes me happiest is seeing people’s health improve. If they are healthy then I’m happy.”

nKeep reading your Guardian for the next instalment of Ingrid and Ryan’s Fitness Formation feature. You can follow Ryan at, contact him on 07596227854 or go to