I didn’t go for a run yesterday…

So over the last few weeks I have been working with Niall (Vala’s awesome medical director) to develop a programme that we hope will change the way people engage with their health and well being. Before I tell you about it, I wanted to share a personal story about how I didn’t go for a run yesterday.

can’t exercise, too busy.

With the return of the warm weather, and thoughts of summer holidays, I have the best intentions to get really fit. Yesterday, I worked from home, the sun was shining, and my plan was to take 20 minutes to go for a run at some point during the day. I had no excuse. I had my whole day to schedule work myself, and I could have taken a break to go for a run before work, in between meetings, or in the evening (let’s be honest — between my wake up and bedtime, there were plenty of opportunities). And yet I didn’t go for a run.

“I have no time to exercise” said Rob, almost every day.

So what was stopping my intention from becoming a reality? It’s not a lack of time (although I’m busy, I always have 20 minutes I could spend exercising). It’s not a lack of knowledge of the benefits (I know that I look and feel better when I exercise regularly, and it’s good for my health.) It’s not money (running is free). It’s not even a lack of enjoyment (I know that once I get going, I feel pretty good when I exercise). And yesterday, I couldn’t even blame the weather.

Can’t exercise, laces knotted…

The truth is that behaviour change is really hard. When it comes to changing habits and behaviours, our needs are varied and complex and we tend to respond differently to different approaches. With the example of exercise, we know that some people respond well to highly structured plans with step-by-step instructions while others prefer a more hands-off approach and can keep themselves motivated for long periods of time. Some people enjoy going to exercise classes at a gym while others are happy to go for a run around the park. Diet is no different: some people have the discipline to follow simple guidelines on what they should and shouldn’t be eating while others prefer a strict plan that removes choice from the equation. There is no one size fits all plan for long term, sustainable, behaviour change.

Some people have the motivation to keep themselves going…

What we do know is that a personalised approach to behaviour change tends to be more effective at delivering long term, lasting change than one-size-fits-all approaches.

Take weight loss: regular personal training sessions (with a good personal trainer) combined with good adherence to a bespoke diet plan tends to be highly effective at helping achieve transformative results in a relatively short period of time; whereas signing up for a gym membership coupled with buying a new on trend diet plan doesn’t really get the same results (we’ve all been there).

Unfortunately, however, for most of us, a weekly personal training session is beyond our budget and expensive or difficult-to-prepare meal plans don’t stop us from slipping back into old habits. Of course, the usual argument is that if we were truly motivated to make real change in our lives then we would dedicate the time and resources to doing so. But I’m afraid that argument just doesn’t cut it with me. While motivation and commitment are important, surely we can design a program that supports sustainable change over the long term without breaking the bank?

That’s our objective and we are achieving it by harnessing the best science and using behavioural change “short cuts” rather than relying purely on your own willpower.

Introducing Vala Coach

With that in mind we are excited to announce our new coaching programme, Vala Coach, that adheres to the following principles:

1. It is personalised to individual needs and goals

2. It takes into account not only diet and exercise but complete health and well being

3. It is evidence based and supervised and supported by qualified experts

4. It is affordable and accessible

Taking those principles, our team of GPs, dieticians and personal trainers have worked together to design a new kind of service.

You’ll start with a comprehensive health and wellbeing assessment with a GP, and you’ll have a video consultation with a personal trainer to review your exercise goals.

Then you’ll receive:

1. a report on your health and well being and your personal goals

2. a bespoke nutrition plan, developed with dieticians, and tailored to your likes and dislikes as well as your shopping habits and budget (we can even produce a shopping list for you)

3. a personal exercise plan, designed around your interests and goals, to include videos and instructions for all exercises

4. Access to the Vala Coach platform to record and track your progress

5. 24/7 messaging and support from your Vala Coach to help you stay on track

6. Regular video catch-ups with your Vala Coach to troubleshoot and make amendments to your plan

7. Access to all of our educational content

8. Access to our GPs for unlimited private appointments (related to the programme or any health concern that you may have)

In addition to the above, you can bolt-on:

1. Finger-pick blood testing (Total Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Cholesterol:HDL Ratio, Vitamin D deficiency test, and more)

2. Specialist dietetic advice from our team of dieticians

3. Counselling from our team of psychotherapists

4. Rehab advice from our team of physiotherapists

5. In person strength and conditioning training from our physiotherapists.

The programme can be tailored to your individual needs and goals and adapted over time as you progress.

The initial programme lasts 12 weeks and is available for a limited time at the reduced price of £180 (ie less than £2.15 a day).

Think of it as a personal trainer, nutritionist, GP and accountability partner and all for less than the price of a membership to your local globo gym.


Want to get involved?

We have already been fortunate to pilot the service with a number of our members (covering personal goals such as: weight loss, weight gain and increased levels of exercise) and we are now opening a limited number of additional places.

You can pre-sign up here to reserve a space, or simply email me at rob@valahealth.com and I’ll sign you up.

I’ll be on the programme so I look forward to seeing you on it!

Check us out at www.valahealth.com

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