Photo Credit: Anytime Fitness/Maz Alinejad
Maz Alinejad, is a co-owner of Anytime Fitness (Richmond Hill) at Yonge & Elgin Mills. Growing up, Maz was an athlete who loved football, baseball, bodybuilding and anything sports related. He also trained and coached martial arts for over twenty years. Even after obtaining his Bachelor degree in Aerospace Engineering and working in the field for over a decade, Maz’s appetite for health, fitness and learning about the complexities of the human body, led him to open his own fitness facility. He's committed to teaching and guiding others to achieve their fitness goals and living a healthy and active lifestyle.
Top 10 fitness tips
Written by Maz Alinejad
Set realistic goals.
While it's great to have a goal that motivates you, you also need to measure it against the level of sacrifice it takes to achieve that goal.
First figure out what you're trying to achieve – fat loss, leaner look, build a lot of muscle, improve your health, compete in a sport, just being more active, etc., then decide what you're willing to change from your normal routine to achieve the objective. Any change that you want to make in life will require your daily habits to align, so it's important to evaluate which habits you're willing to take on and what you're not willing to give up. Finally, adjust and reassess your goals based on the comforts you're willing to sacrifice and the amount of routine you're willing to change. Don't let this step scare you. The great news is that most health and fitness goals that don't involve high level competition, can be achieved in about 3-5 hours per week if you stay consistent.
Find an activity that you enjoy.
If you don't like running, try swimming or cycling. If you don't like exercising by yourself, try joining a group fitness class, running club or team sport. There are endless ways to keep active.
As the saying goes, you can't out-exercise a bad diet. Now this doesn't mean that you need to follow a strict diet at all times, but you should be following the basic concepts of nutrition to make sure you're getting the right amount of micro and macro nutrients needed to nourish your body and achieve your goal.
Your goal, nutrition and activity of choice should be compatible.
Going back to the first point, if your goal is to gain a bunch of muscle but you don't enjoy lifting weights and eating lots of protein, I have some bad news… you'll have to either learn to love those things or alter your goal. Similarly, if you dream of running a marathon but don't like the feeling of getting winded during a run, then either the dream has to change or you need to push past that dreaded feeling.
Make time for exercise.
We live in a modern world of comfort and many of us work in front of a computer. The pandemic has exasperated the problem even more. We don't move enough and delicious foods are both cheap and easy to purchase. Getting some level of exercise has become as much a necessity in modern life as brushing your teeth or showering. This is why finding an activity that you enjoy is so important. And if you can't find something that you like, then treat exercise like you would a visit to the dentist or doctor – not your favourite thing to do, but something that needs to get done.
Rest, recovery and stress management.
Whenever you start an exercise program, you must allow your body the appropriate time to recover and repair itself. The amount of rest required will vary depending on the intensity of your exercise and state of your health. While a daily walk may not require a tremendous amount of recovery time, a two hour boxing class or heavy leg workout probably would. And when it comes to stress management, it's a large enough topic that deserves its own top ten list, but many people find exercise to be beneficial towards helping them calm their nerves. On the flip side, a very stressful life can make it difficult to prioritize health, which causes a vicious cycle with lack of self-care, leading to poorer health which in turn increases stress levels and dissatisfaction even further. Balance your physical health with emotional needs.
Have a learning mindset and be curious.
Fitness and nutrition are still relatively new sciences and new discoveries are being made all the time. Be willing to learn, seek out coaches who study and keep up with the latest science. Don't be afraid to try out a new activity or an expert suggestion.
Importance of a social support system.
If you're lucky, you have family or friends who are into fitness and healthy living. But for many, this support system may come in the form of gym buddies, online training groups or a sports team. This doesn't mean that you're replacing your friends and family – instead you're finding a group with similar interests who can help you achieve your goals. We are social creatures that adhere to standards of the tribe. Find your fitness tribe!
Perfection is the enemy of progress.
Doing something is better than nothing. You don't have to be perfect. Becoming more fit is not an all or nothing contest. I would rather have a client be consistent 70% of the time over the course of two years, instead of a client who goes all out for eight weeks and gets burnt out taking too many changes at one time.
Track and review your progress.
One thing that I always emphasize to our coaches is the importance of objective measurables when assessing clients. This is especially important if your goal is to change something about your body. Objective measurements help you see your progress and can be very motivating to track over time. We look at ourselves every day in the mirror and get used to all the little changes that are happening. This is why people don't realize when they are getting out of shape until reality smacks them in the face in the form of an off-hand comment or a doctor's warning, or not fitting into any of their clothes. Most know more about the state of their cars and details of their home insurance than they do about their body. Our memories are fallible, so take advantage of all the information, apps and journals available to keep track of your health. Alternatively, you can join a gym or program that is focused on the success of their clients and keeps track of measurables for you.