A cheerleader will keep your fitness dream alive

Monday September 14 2020

A cheerleader is someone who will encourage you to keep going, especially when you want to give up. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

By Joan Salmon

We all love to stay fit or lose weight. As such, we make the necessary arrangements to achieve our goals. However, the number of those that keep with their resolve keeps declining with every passing day for one reason or another.
Elijah Muhwezi, a fitness instructor, says the main reason is lack of someone to cheer them on. “Just like a child would dance better on seeing their parents clap as she performs, or a runner outdoes themselves on hearing the cheering, one will stick with their fitness regimen when they have a cheering squad. It is that person that notices and appreciates your efforts and milestones,” Muhwezi says.
Sylvia Kabatooro, the founder of Kabs Weight Management, strongly believes in the idea of having a cheering squad. 
“Working with women on their journey to lose excess weight and stay healthy, I have seen how a post from another about what they did, say skipping for 30 minutes daily for the last week has caused others to do better. It acts as a reminder as well as a boost, calling out to those that have fallen back or are feel bored,” she says.
She adds that exercising in solitude is sometimes difficult and many fall off the path because there is no one to draw inspiration from or compare notes with.
Lillian Mazimwe, one of the women working under Kabatooro says the start to weight loss was hard but the other women in the group made it worth the effort. “I started skipping and the drill was skipping in the morning and evening for 15 minutes but, seeing that I am not an early riser, giving up was easy. However, it was mandatory to share our achievements, and seeing what others were doing forced me to find a way to exercise. As such, I opted for 25 minutes every day, which saw me lose 15kgs in a few months,” she shares.
Mercy Muwanga attributes her weight loss success to a friend that made it a point to check on her progress on a daily basis. “Edna called to see if I had gone to the gym on a daily basis and when we would link up on Friday for our girl’s night out, she would tell me what has changed for better. At one time, it was how my arms looked toned, then the belly fat that had reduced. Honestly, I lived for those compliments, so I worked harder,” she smiles.
Indeed, we all need that person to tell us what has changed so we can have reason to do better or keep working at our fitness goals. Muhwezi says you need someone to remind you that you cannot lose weight gained the last 20 years in just two days or even two weeks but through a gradual process of persistence and hard work. This way, you would not feel pressurised to the point of giving up. 
“Sometimes, we set unrealistic goals that when we fail to meet them, we throw in the towel. However, your cheerleading squad or accountability partner can help you be a little forgiving to yourself while encouraging you to continue on the path,” he says.
Nonetheless, while being cheered on helps us achieve our fitness goals, Kabatooro urges people to also watch who they ‘walk’ with. “It will make it very hard to stick to your goal if you are ever in the company of those that are, for example consuming foods you ought not to such as chips, high fat diets. With time, you will succumb to the temptation of eating these, hence falling off the fitness path.
Muhwezi backs Kabatooro, advising anyone on the fitness or weight loss journey to align themselves with those that will cheer them on rather derail them. “You could also join a group of fitness enthusiasts. Usually, such groups are built when you encourage others because they will definitely reciprocate. In the long run, you will have a strong and vibrant support system,” he shares.
So, in case you fell off the path because you were bored or felt your efforts were in vain, you may want to get that one person that can celebrate you even when you have lost just one gramme.

The dream team
A good personal trainer 

First, try and find a good personal trainer to help you reach your goals. You don’t necessarily have to work out with them each and every session, but checking in with them every month or so will keep you on track.
 A mentor/role model 
It is also a good idea to find a mentor or role model – someone that you look up to. This person will inspire you and increase your overall effort level.
A workout partner 
Finally, the last person that you will want to get on your support team is your workout partner. This could be an existing friend you bring with you to your workout or someone new you meet in a group workout.