5 Secrets to morph from can’t be bothered “Couch Potato” to “In Training”

1. Understand the “3 sessions to momentum” rule.

The first 3 exercise sessions you do are the hardest because you have no momentum, it’s the least appealing option and in my own vernacular it’s just too easy to say you just can’t be arsed. It will never be harder than now, you just have to get through these first 3. In a week. worry about next week later.

Couch Potato
30 Seconds

2. Understand the “30 seconds to make it happen” rule.

So, that first session….the hardest part is getting off the sofa and into your kit. That 30 second transition is where it happens or not. so actually the hard bit is 30 seconds where you’re not actually exerting yourself, just committing to it. Same for the second and third session.

3. Lay out your kit 

Trainers, socks, leggings/shorts, top, etc for the next session when you come back from your previous session. So you take your enthusiasm from the first – which does come! – and make the “30 seconds to make it happen” easier to handle.

4. “No heroes in the first week”.

Here’s the really good news. This was my mantra 20 years ago, at the start of winter training. You go for it and suddenly you’re screwed before you get going because you’ve pulled something, overdone something and you’re sidelined. That was as a 30 year old.

Now I’m almost 50 it’s at the centre of everything: not screwing up. so what this means is that you absolutely must take it easy initially. I thought I’d miss those ball breaking sessions where you’re left on the floor with onlookers wondering if they should call an ambulance but actually I don’t mourn them, fun as they were. How ‘easy’ depends on so many factors but, genuinely, err on the side of caution and then halve it for these first 3 sessions. So it’s not even going to be hard.

5. Don’t let peer pressure make you overcook it.

If you’re exercising in a group, it’s very easy for rule 4 to be overlooked – how do you do ‘half of what’s cautious’ in a group boot camp with someone in battle fatigues screaming to ‘PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT!!’.

Just be strong enough to know what you want from these 3 sessions and if you’re embarrassed about not ‘PUSHING IT TO THE LIMIIIIIIT!!” then just tell them beforehand. If they don’t nod vigorously and understand then you have a moron leading your class. Leave immediately!

So actually the whole thing boils down to 3 x 30 seconds in the first week. Once you’ve done that, and taken it nice and easy, you’re up and running.

The second week is so much easier and whilst you don’t need to worry too much about ‘pushing it’, you’ll find that you naturally improve without pain. If you’ve had a long layoff I personally wouldn’t worry about any kind of hard work for a month.

Building a habit and actually enjoying it is far, far more important and the added advantage is you won’t tear, strain, twist or break anything, so you’ll have momentum.

David Gordon