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How to keep going when you want to give up. Bath and Wells-based personal trainer Zita Alves explains how

…exercising, that is. I’m finding it hard and all I’m doing is the 10,000 steps thing. It started out OK (well, several days at 6,000) but a low point was 176 (gulp) and now my daily ‘runs’ have petered out completely – and we’re only into February. So I asked personal trainer Zita Alves, a self-confessed former couch potato who now runs the award-winning Zest Bootcamps in Bath and 1-to-1 personal training sessions around Bath and Wells  – she was Juliette Binoche’s personal trainer when she was filming Chocolat – for some advice on keeping it up (so to speak).


Get your kit out the night before

If you’re exercising first thing, get your stuff ready so you can just slip it on without thinking. I know people who’ve slept in their kit to get a few more precious minutes of sleep. If you plan to exercise later in the day, take the kids to school in your kit or wear it to work if you can, as that can make the difference between skipping your daytime exercise or not.

Treat yourself to some funky gear

Wear something you love to exercise in, not that faded, oversized t-shirt that was free at an event and makes you look bigger than you are, although you think it hides everything. It’s much more flattering to wear a top that shows your curves – it doesn’t have to be skin-tight – rather than a ‘tent’.  You’ll workout feeling great.

Think beyond the exercise

Focus on the feeling you get after exercising and you’ve had a shower and some food, instead of the actual workout.

Fake it until you make it

No matter how slowly you go and how many times you stop, you’re already lapping everybody who is sitting down watching TV instead of exercising, so start believing in yourself even if you feel anxious at first. Thinking of yourself as someone who already exercises regularly and not a beginner will help boost your confidence.

Get social

Go to classes, hire a trainer or hook up with a friend and meet up or talk on phone to see how much exercise you’ve done over the week and set some goals for the next week. Run with a friend and you’re less likely to make an excuse not to go on a cold, wet dark morning as you won’t want to let them down.

Keep a training diary

Keep a note of what you do each week and increase it so that you don’t plateau, which is what happens with many people who do the same thing every week in week out. You need to change the stimulus for your body and as you get fitter you need to up the challenge to maintain your fitness level. By writing down details of what you did, how hard you found it and visually seeing how often you are exercising can help you focus and progress further.

Set small goals with non-food related (sorry) rewards

Set yourself just two or three mini goals/actions to work towards rather than huge goals that seem daunting. Once you’ve achieved the smaller goals, set a bigger one. It doesn’t have to be a half marathon, just something like getting back into your size X jeans or being able to run for 20 minutes – and reward yourself with a spa day, facial or a new novel once you’ve achieved it.

Zita works with men and women (including couples), all ages and abilities and is especially interested in working with women 40+. You can find out more about her friendly, outdoor Zest Bootcamps in Bath and personal training sessions around Bath and Wells, sign up for a taster week of the bootcamp, as well as download her ‘7 day kickstart healthy eating plan’ and ’10 minute core work out’ at

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