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Health and Fitness FAQ's #2: 10,000 Steps and Training Without a Gym

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Q. Is doing 10,000 steps a day worth it?

Around the time of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, a Japanese company began selling a pedometer called the Manpo-kei - which translates literally to "10,000 step meter". The number, then, seems to have stuck and 10,000 steps seem to be the benchmark we are told to aim for.

On to the question. Is it worth pursuing? Well, if you are looking to get better at walking or you are starting from a point of extreme inactivity, then yes, go for it. If, on the other hand, you are looking to get fitter, lose weight and improve your physique, then it is like pouring a bottle of water onto a house fire in the hopes of putting it out. Sure, it will help a little, but you need a lot more.

Try to perform your 10,000 steps outdoors, on grass or in nature and on an empty stomach before your first meal of the day. Combine this with resistance training and some other high-intensity exercise such as sprinting and you should be well on your way to hitting your goals. For more information check out the other articles on this site. If you would like help in the form of online or face-to-face training then please get in contact.


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Q. Now the gyms are closed, how do I keep my training up?

Depending on what your goals are you should still be able to continue exercising in a similar manner to before. Here are some pointers to consider:

- Address your weaknesses and imbalances - Now is a great time to address your weaker areas. Performing exercises unilaterally (one side at a time) instead of bilaterally (both sides together) is one way to address imbalances. Try to include single-leg squat variations such as pistole, shrimp and skater squats for hip and core strength, and single-arm exercises such as single-arm press-ups, single-arm rows and single-arm plank variations for shoulder stability and core strength

- Use your bodyweight - There are plenty of great bodyweight exercises you can perform. Press-up variations, dips, single-leg squats and deadlifts, pull-ups and core exercises can all be performed using only your own bodyweight. Explore and experiment.

- Sprint - I see a lot of people out jogging in the streets and parks. It is fantastic to see so many people exercising and embracing a healthy, active lifestyle. The only issue is, jogging isn't that great. As mentioned in the previous question, sprints and resistance training are a great combination. So, stop with the long, slow jogs. Perform 5-10, 30-60 second sprints with adequate recovery in between for a much better workout!

The most important point to make is that it is essential to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Aside from the physical benefits, keeping up a routine and exercise itself can help to keep your spirits up and keep you mentally healthy.

Q. I've lost all my progress, what can I do?

Firstly, do not despair. This is a tough time and the change in routine can throw anyone off their progress. The good news is that it is easier to return to an attained level of fitness then it is to attain it in the first place. Basically, you'll get it (whatever "it" is in your case) back faster than it took to achieve.

In the meantime, begin to try implementing healthy habits and start working out again. Ensure your diet is as good as, if not better than before. And finally, use this time wisely. Address imbalances, do the stuff you dislike - we dislike it because we are bad at it and we need to do more because we are bad at it - and learn. Research exercise and fitness theory and look to professional coaches for help and guidance. Keep your chin up!




John Maitland is a personal trainer with over 15 years of experience. He has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEO's, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.

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