England and Harlequins legend and Aviva Ambassador Will Greenwood shares his 5 tips for a fitter, healthier you
As one of England’s greatest ever rugby players and a member of the victorious 2003 World Cup team, Will Greenwood knows all about the dedication needed to reach the pinnacle in professional sport. But he also understands how just a little commitment can go a long way when it comes to improving fitness and health... even for those of us who may have struggled to stay focussed in the past!
We asked Will to share his top five tips with us. Don’t worry, they’re not just for sports players – you’ll find them helpful whatever your current level of fitness...
1. Don’t be a lone trainer!
Improving your fitness is a lonely thing to do on your own. If you’re going to the gym, join a class – from body pump or circuits to Zumba, you’ll find something that suits you. Or maybe a running club, anything where you’re part of a group. I train with Maidenhead Rugby Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from there I’ve formed a spin-off group with some other lads to do Monday night football.
It’s all about motivating each other – even if you’re not actually training together. I’m not the fitness police, but I have a mate who wants to lose weight and I check in with him a couple of times a week. You need to have someone to remind you to keep at it!
If you need some ideas on sports or activities that might suit you, and how you can get involved, have a look at the Team England website.
2. Set yourself a target
Starting to do something about your health and fitness is great, but if you want to stick at it through those times when you’re not in the mood, you need to set yourself a target. Look at what’s happening locally. There might be a 5 or 10k run in March, a 20k cycle ride at Easter. Sign up for it and you’ll have something to focus on – otherwise it’s a blank canvas and you might end up doing nothing!
3. There’s only one place training starts... the fridge!
Healthy eating is just as important as physical exercise. And when it comes to fitness, if you won’t make small sacrifices you’ll just about stay where you are – or start to go downhill! I’m not a Tibetan monk... I’ll go for a pizza with the kids or a Chinese once a week, but my fridge is full of white meat and fruit and I try not to eat carbs after 6pm. There’s no need to go in for faddy diets, but you do need to remember that what goes in must come off.
4. There’s always time for fitness
We all live busy lives and it’s easy to tell yourself that you don’t have time to get fit. But I went to the gym today and I was in agony after 5 minutes – so it must be easy to do some good in a short time! In reality, frequent 15-20 minute gym sessions can make all the difference. Equally, going for a 20 minute run is a good start. And bear in mind that it will get easier. Speculate to accumulate – the fitter you get, the more energy you’ll have to step it up further.
5. Fitness begins at home
As well as joining a gym, taking part in sports or going out for a run, there’s plenty you can do at home to improve your fitness. Inexpensive resistance training aids such as Dyna-Bands can help you with strength training, body sculpting, Pilates and Yoga... all without the need to walk out the door. You can strap a Dyna-Band to it instead!
You can even help work out strains and injuries at home. One technique I use is to bind two tennis balls together with masking tape and literally sit on them, rolling about on my front or back to work quads, calves or backside. Long roll mats can do a similar job.
Whatever you do at home, do remember my first tip. Don’t go it alone... it’s so much easier to stay motivated if you’ve got someone else to support you!