Michael Haddin is the founder and managing director of Haddins sports and fitness company. He started his business 10 years ago in Sydney, Australia, then brought it to the UAE when he moved here five years ago. At a recent TEDx talk hosted by the Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi, he spoke about how to make exercise a sustainable part of everyday life.
I've picked up that you're not keen on celebrity trainers. Correct?
Many years ago, the fitness industry was driven by manufacturers and by the rock star-style trainers who were in it for the wrong reasons. There were lots of extremist approaches: you must do cardio, you must do resistance training, ladies shouldn't do weight training, you must do the Atkins diet.
So you are more of a realist then?
The industry has gone through huge changes in the past five to 10 years and I think it's changed for the better. My underpinning goal to everything I do is to try to make exercise and fitness and sport a way of everyday life.
So how do I make exercise sustainable?
Equipment is not always necessary. Using your body to move around will often get better results than you would with any fancy high-tech machines. So, I have five tips.
OK. Off we go: the five musts. First one?
Exercise must be planned. We have lots of things we have to fit into our daily schedule: family, work, study. Exercise also needs to be a priority.
Exercise must be fun. People do it because they think they have to go to the gym day in, day out doing different exercises they don't really enjoy. It's only a matter of time before you lose interest and motivation and don't continue. I get asked all the time, what exercise is the best for me? It's simple. It's what you enjoy whether it's kayaking, biking, walking, yoga, zumba [dance fitness].
It must be easily accessible. Try to get exercise into your daily or weekly schedule. So parking your car further from the office and walking. Or training before, during or after work. Or taking the stairs at the office.
It must also be time efficient. It's very important you maximise the muscle usage and the quality of the workout - incorporating strength, flexibility and cardio into daily sessions.
And number five?
Exercise must generate desirable results. If you are spending all that time training and you are not getting the desirable results, it's only a matter of time before you lose the motivation. Find out what you are doing wrong. It could be poor nutrition. It could be that your sessions are lacking intensity - that's one of the biggest problems. Your body adapts really well to exercise; it becomes more efficient and the amount of calories you burn will drop. Change it up day by day. Set small goals that don't have to be weight loss. Run an extra 100m next week; do 10 push-ups instead of five.