Working away on site is no excuse to be unfit

By Mareike Miller

You know what it’s like: you’ve just come off another 12-hour shift for the seventh day straight and you’re tired. It’s stinking hot outside, you’re hungry, and you’re cranky. All you want to do is relax with a big tasty meal and an ice-cold beer, then fall into a comfy bed with a big fluffy pillow.

In the back of your mind you know you should go to the gym because it’s good for you and you need to lose a few, but you just don’t have the motivation. You decide to go “tomorrow”, but when tomorrow comes you find yourself not in the gym but in the mess again, repeating the same thing about starting your exercise regime tomorrow.

Before you know it, the days, weeks and months have rolled by, another couple of kilos have deposited themselves onto your belly, and all your resolve to start the year on a healthy note has left the building! Sound familiar?

Guys, I don’t want to alarm you, but there’s more at stake here than just looking good in a mankini. A recent study by the WA Department of Health has found that fly-in, fly-out workers have high levels of lifestyle-related health risks such as drinking, smoking and being overweight or obese. Apparently, the report revealed: “Their working patterns have been shown to disrupt sleep, lead to depression, poor mental health, increase the risk of peptic ulcers, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.”

That’s serious stuff! None of these illnesses happen overnight either; they are the manifestation of the lifestyle choices we make in our 20s, 30s and 40s. It’s when we start to enter our 40s, 50s and 60s that the years of processed food, too many beers and not enough exercise catch up with us. And once it does, life just won’t be the same again. It is much harder to regain your health back from the grips of disease, than preventing them from striking you in the first place.

So, what are we going to do to give ourselves the best chance at living well for life? We all know why we should exercise and eat healthy, but how do we go about doing it? Where do we start? With all the conflicting and confusing information out there, how do we know what is right? Well, I’m here as your Fitness and Lifestyle Coach to guide and support you along the way to realising greater levels of health, fitness and wellbeing, so stick with me and we’ll do it together!

Changing behaviour

There are two keys to changing your behaviour:

There’s your motivation question: Is it worth it? The questions you should ask yourself are “What’s in it for you”? How would you feel differently if you reached your goals? How would your life be different? What will you gain? And what will your family gain? This is where you need to get really personal, and connect with all the good reasons there are to live a healthier lifestyle. Living longer, living better, being around to see your kids and grandkids, a more fulfilling life. Motivation really is a pretty simple thing to maintain. Your reasons must be compelling enough to move you, and you must always hold those reasons in the forefront of your thinking. Remind yourself constantly. Never stop visualising yourself at your goal … the more often, the better. When faced with inevitable roadblocks along the way, it is this practice that will see you push past them!

Set SMART goals

A good place to start the road to wellness right now is to put pen to paper and write down all those reasons you have to be healthy and fit, and take your time to really reflect on what they mean to you. Then, write down your SMART goals as it’s these goals that will provide you with the direction you will need. Make them: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible. Be sure to set realistic goals that you truly believe can be accomplished with the time and resources available to you so you give yourself the best possible chance of reaching them. Then, follow it all up with some action!

Start today, right now, by making healthier choices at the mess. Drink less coke and more water. Eat fewer chips and more salad. Go ride the stationary bike in the gym for 20 minutes instead of watching telly. This is how it starts, and this is how it continues, simple as that!

Over the coming months, I will be getting even more specific with the hows and whys, and I will be here to give you that motivational boost when you need it. In the meantime, remember that it’s the sum of the choices we make day-in and day-out that determine where we are in life, so every time you are faced with a choice make it a healthy one!

Mareike Miller is an award-winning personal trainer and lifestyle coach based in Adelaide, South Australia.

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