Planning a fitness programme

Before I begin my fitness programme there are a few things I needed to do in preparation. Having tried a wide variety of exercise regimes and diets in the past this is something that I have, to my peril, tended to neglect. Like many people in my situation I’ve dived straight into the exercise routines in the past without any real thought as to how I would make it work in the long term. I start off well enough but before you know it, my busy lifestyle kicks in or I pick up an injury and I start having to make compromises. In my line of work; a set of books that needs marked for a book review means I skip the gym or I’ve got to stay late at work for a parents’ evening and miss dinner so end up stuffing my face with Dominos on the way home. These are all things that with a little extra planning I could have avoided, for example; on days when I know I’m going to be extra busy at work, carving out a little more time by waking up 30 minutes earlier or prepping an extra meal so that I don’t resort to the nearest take away when I’m coming home late from work. 

As I mentioned at the start; I’m not a fitness expert so rather than offer tips for planning the perfect exercise regime I’m just going to talk you through what I’ve decided to do this time and hopefully you might find it interesting. 

  1. Work out a timetable based around work and family commitments. What is the maximum amount of time you can dedicate to working out each day? I’m lucky to have access to a gym at my school so for me working out an hour before school is ideal. I’ve decided that in order to find a workout that works for me, I’m going to try a different programme each month. This month I’ll be starting with a programme from the Nike Training Club app (Free from App Store) 
  2. Choose between minor diet changes or major diet plan. Having tried various diets over the years I’ve decided that it’s more sustainable for me to make a number of small changes to my diet rather than follow a major diet change. Over the past year I’ve cut my fizzy drink intake from one can a day to about only drinking fizzy drinks abroad. This year I plan to keep making healthy changes on a monthly basis. 
  3. Plan/Prep meals in advance. I tend to go grocery shopping after work when I’m tired (and most likely grumpy thanks Year 9!) which leads to the inevitable binge down the chocolate and crisps aisle.  In order to make healthier choices throughout the week and avoid those late night takeaways, I’m putting in place a simple meal plan, more details to follow soon. I’m hoping that by doing this and going grocery shopping at the weekend I will be able to manage my sweet tooth and limit the amount of junk I put into my body (you know what they say; prevention is better than cure). I’ve also got a range of Tupperware boxes to help prep my meals in advance for those nights when I know I’m going to be late. This is something that I learnt from trying Joe Wicks’ ‘The Body Coach’ meal plans. 
  4. Get on the scales and work out a target. If you haven’t got them already buy yourself a Set of body fat scales. When I was at school I got into the bad habit of weighing myself every night. It was driving me crazy seeing my weight fluctuate on a daily basis. What I failed to understand was that your raw weight is influenced by a range of factors such as the amount of water your body is storing and the amount of muscle you have. It was only after working with a personal trainer and buying myself a set of body fat scales (I use Salter Bodywise scales) that I learnt not to worry about the kg on the scales and instead focus on the body fat (BF) %. Therefore rather than saying I want to lose half a stone, my short term (monthly) goal is actually to get my BF down by 4%. After an indulgent summer, this is something that I feel is realistic and achievable for me. 

So there it is. I’ll be including more specific details of the monthly plans and updates on my progress in the coming posts. If you have any tips or suggestions, please let me know. Likewise if your in a similar situation and starting a fitness plan, I’d love to hear about your progress.

Until next time,

Mr Teacher 

New term, new trainers… (The beginning) 

So here it goes; new term, new trainers but same old story – “This will be the year I finally get fit and change my life for the better”… Like many people who plan their lives around the school calendar this time of year always brings about these new (school) year resolutions and this year is no different. My goal, as ever, is to get fit. More specifically to get fitness to fit around my life and all the demands and stresses of working as a teacher. 

Past failures

Many times in the past I’ve made the same resolution; trying everything from hiring a personal trainer to Insanity DVD workouts and crash diets but with little long term success. Although each method I’ve tried has had some short term success the problem is that as soon as (school) life gets busy the wheels come off and I’ve struggled to get the fitness routine to fit my life. Any weight I lost comes piling back on with a vengeance leaving me worse off health-wise than I was before but with a pinch of added guilt and a sprinkling of depression. Over the years this has meant that I’ve gone from a reasonable 12 1/2 stone for a 5ft 7″ guy to a whopping 16 stone and on the verge of diabetes and any number of other obesity related issues.

So why is this year going to be any different?

This year I’m determined that several things are going to be different;

  1. What’s different this year is that for the first time, I’ve decided to document my fitness journey, not in the vain hope that someday I’ll have Men’s Health Cover Model abs and this would be used as an ‘expert guide’  but more simply, that by writing this blog it might keep me accountable. When the intrinsic hopes become extrinsic goals there’s an added pressure which I hope will give me the added incentive to carry on even when things get stressful at work. In real-life terms; No more Dominos pizza after a late night at school or binging on chocolate and crisps while I’m report writing.
  2. Turning 29 was a shock to the system and I realise that if I’m ever going to gain a reasonable level of fitness that now is the time to do it. I’m tired of saying “I used to be fit when I was at school”. It’s time to stop living in the past and start making a better future for myself. I’ve got a good job, a great wife, there’s no reason why I can’t have a fit body to go along with it. 

So I invite you to join me on this journey. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation where your best years of fitness are a distant memory and you’re struggling to fit exercise around the demands of a busy job or family life. Maybe you want to get fit but don’t know where to start. Whatever brings you here I hope that by sharing my experiences (and failures) it will inspire you to start your own fitness journey. 

Until next time, 

Mr Teacher




Coming up on Wednesday 30th August- creating a plan that works around your lifestyle.