Over the past few weeks we’ve shared tips on how to strengthen the core, how to exercise with good form, how important nutrition is and now it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. If you’ve established an exercise routine for the week, including a walk/run every alternative day and a few minutes of core exercises daily, it’s time to be consistent. Remember, whatever reason you’ve chosen to exercise – whether it’s to improve your health or lose weight – it’s important to maintain that drive to be disciplined. Fitness trainer Shaheem Laattoe shared some tips with ROSHAN ABRAHAMS on how to be accountable to stay active.
Shaheem said one of the reasons it is important to be accountable is because “at the end of the day, if you go through a space of bad health, no one else is responsible but you”.
“Staying motivated is always going to be a case of ‘how strong is your why?’ Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to be healthy? Besides you, who else will benefit from your lifestyle change? Kids? Wife? Better mood for family or work, etc.”
Shaheem said he has answered those questions when setting off on his journey and with small steps he made it a lifestyle. “My ‘why’ now has changed. as it should because we accomplish goals and we change as people. Now it’s why I don’t want to go back there. There’s not a day that goes by where I think of that (the old lifestyle), and most importantly, if I let things slip now, what sort of an example am I as a parent?”
When we start something new we tend to have a perception about it. Our minds are questioning all sorts of things like, is exercise going to be like a chore? “It does indeed. It changes when you see the fruits of your labour though. Clothing starts getting bigger, you’re gaining muscle, you’re getting complimented on your progress and eventually you look at exercise as your therapy time. A coping mechanism for your life,” he says.
“Change begins the moment you get the courage and step outside your comfort zone.”
And Shaheem is always trying new things. Three years ago when Covid hit the world and during lockdown, Shaheem took on fun challenges with friends on social media such as finding out how many kilometres you can do in a day. “I ran 5 km around my pool and listened to podcasts and did breathing work in my pool for 15 minutes daily. I never felt more focused, having these three things part of my every day.”
When you find yourself lacking motivation it’s always a good idea to join a group or a club to boost your confidence.”Joining a club or having like-minded friends are definitely a good way to remain consistent. If I didn’t have friends like these I wouldn’t have entered the majority of the races I have.”
After losing 25kg after weighing 110kg, Shaheem made a vow never to become overweight again. “I have a fear of going back to where I was. I lead a healthy lifestyle daily to combat that plus I will have a smaller goal like a run as well. This makes certain I don’t slack too much.”
There will be times when one will get injured and it may take a while to heal, physically and mentally. How do you get back on the bandwagon? “I think the most important part is not to overthink it, don’t make a big fuss about it. We are all human, we fall, but a lot of us are too concerned about what others will say when we are trying to work our way back.”
Shaheem said one of the methods of keeping yourself accountable is sharing your knowledge with others. “It is always great teaching and learning from others around you, hoping it rubs off on each other and it becomes a community focused on health and fitness.”
Shaheem challenges our readers who want to stay consistent to join a 5km park run in their area or surrounding areas. “Do you even know there are 194 park runs countrywide? Check out their website www.parkrun.co.za for one situated close to you.
“Fitness is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be.”
• People with pre-existing medical conditions should consult with a family physician before starting an exercise programme.