Keen on starting a new workout regimen? Or perhaps you already exercise frequently but struggle to find motivation without the ritual of going to the gym? It can be tough coming to grips with the challenges posed by today's world when it comes to fitness, and that's why we've teamed up with personal trainer Martin Gallagher, to show you how the pros go about it!
Martin Gallagher, founder of the Super Solider Project health and fitness blog is a Radiographer (in MRI) and part-time Personal Trainer based in the Hammersmith area of London. Much of the blog's focus centres around taking accountability for your fitness levels, not making excuses, adapting to challenges and finding ways around obstacles to fitness. Marvel Cinematic Universe and comic book buffs will recognise the Super Solider Project name, as Martin drew inspiration from the scenes of Captain America, where Steve Rodgers makes a remarkable transformation from an everyday man to a superhero!
He originally got into fitness following the unfortunate passing of his mother, which made him take stock of his life, health and begin his fitness journey. Following encouragement of his own personal trainer who helped him turn things around, Martin took the PT level 3 course and has been helping train others ever since. Martin specialises in functional training which is training that involves mimicking movements relevant to everyday life. He uses what was once considered ‘unorthodox’ equipment (that are now quite common in gyms) such as kettlebells, battle-ropes, suspension trainers, sandbags and steel maces to name a few.
In light of the challenges of the world today with lockdowns and gym closures, we wanted to get Martin's pro insights and advice on how to keep a disciplined exercise routine.
It’s been very strange, many people have adapted well to the obstacles and found alternative ways to workout now that gyms are closed. People have been out in parks exercising more, getting their runs in, undertaking bodyweight workouts and using other fitness equipment. It’s been very inspiring to see. I feel like I need to give a shout out to the Hammersmith and Fulham area at this point where people have been going crazy getting their exercising in! Well done Hammersmith and Fulham!
On the other hand is the side that appears to have lost their way a bit with the lockdowns. They are staying at home, putting on the pounds, watching Netflix, overeating, maybe drinking a bit more than they should and generally not feeling very inspired. It’s a tricky one, because they are hoping soon that the gyms will open soon and they can get back to their routines, but there are no guarantees of them staying open for very long.
Ultimately I think people need to adapt, they can’t be reliant on their local gyms and they need to look at alternative ways at looking after themselves and improving their health.
Depends what you are into really and what your goals are. Once upon a time I would have thought you needed access to the best top range gym imaginable to get in tip top shape. Now I know I can do it simply with my own bodyweight, basic training equipment, a pair of training shoes and a bit of discipline.
Bodyweight exercises cost nothing, and there are some amazing callisthenics practitioners to follow on the likes of YouTube. Many of the exercises can be enhanced with equipment such as chin up bars, dip bars and resistance bands, all are cheap and effective equipment.
I like kettlebells and maces myself and the ones I purchase are generally higher end (I love quality and you only get that with the cast iron variations) but shop around and you can find cheaper versions of any training equipment online. If I was advising someone starting out I’d say dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine ball, a chin-up bar and maybe a kettlebell. If someone asked me for an all-in-one piece of kit I might point them towards TRX suspension cables which I love, or kettlebells (I have kettlebell bias as you can probably tell!).
You don’t have to go bankrupt to eat healthy I think. Like doing anything worthwhile in life, sometimes it just takes a little extra planning. Plan your meals for the week in advance and stick to that plan, you are less likely to cheat or deviate from the plan. Look at websites and smartphone apps that can help track budgets and intakes for food and groceries. Have a well considered shopping list and stick to that list to avoid impulse buying. Try and eat out less and if you have to and if you have to Deliveroo, just do it on your cheat day.
A good idea is to find cheap and healthy recipes online (stir fries, salads, pasta) they are all relatively cheap and can bulk up a meal (I live off stir fries, you can do anything with them, they are cheap and you can easily get all your essential vitamins and minerals in).
Try to make smarter food choices. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables and purchase generic/store brands, they are far less expensive and just as good. Avoid fizzy carbonated drinks and opt for water instead (It’s free and you can flavour it with fruit like lemon, lime, or orange).
Avoid all the processed rubbish. Ready made food is usually full of extra sugar calories, preservatives, other added unnatural ingredients, and usually costs a lot more. Buying in bulk as often works out cheaper with 2 for 1’s and that kind of thing. Another idea one of my training buddies uses is cooking in large portions so they last over several days (can save you both time and money), this is probably a good option if you cook for families. Finally, It's always good to stock up on sales and take advantage of store cards and coupons on offer, as well as online discount sites. I have only acquired that skill as of late thanks to my more shrewd and savvy female family members and work colleagues giving me shopping tips.
Keep going. You have a bad day, fine, don’t dwell on it. Move on and do better the next day. Push yourself, if you think you can do more then do more.
Work to failure (as in continue reps on the last set of an exercise until you can’t do any more) if you can, then you know you have pushed yourself to your limit. If something hurts when you are exercising, then stop before you injure yourself. Do some homework (plenty of online YT’s to help correct poor technique) get it right before you go heavier. My kettlebell trainer made me train using a shoe as a KB substitute until I got the moves right! Be smart and look after yourself. Stretch after workouts. Keep hydrated throughout. Eat right and get good quality sleep by switching phones off hours before bedtime and read a book. I could go on forever!
For more workout tips, advice and inspiration check out Martin's Super Solider Project blog to keep up to date with .
**We've gathered some items below to help you out if you're keen on starting a new fitness routine and are on the lookout for gear that can help you reach your exercise goals! You can also find more **fitness equipment here.
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