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How I Quit: A personal trainer’s guide on how to quit smoking


Think of a personal trainer and the image of a squeaky clean (bordering on monastic), visual of an ultra-healthy lifestyle comes into your mind.

Not so folks. The reason why I decided to put this on paper (or screen, as it were) is because I have first-hand experience on how hard it is to quit smoking. I smoked for 14 years, and I appreciate the difficulty that any smoker faces when they make the decision to stop.

As opposed to giving a ham-handed lecture about why you need to quit, here are three things that worked for me. I hope you find them useful.

1. Make a decision

The most important part of quitting smoking is to make the decision that is right for you. If you are anything like me you have heard all manner of judgement from family and friends about this horrible habit.

Its fine and dandy for someone who hasn’t smoked to question strength, but as a smoker (and I will always classify myself that way, even though I no longer do it) I understand how bloody hard it is.

Once you make the decision to stop smoking that is half the battle. At that point, you are ready to get the book, enter the big event and proceed with your plan.

Until you make this decision however, you will be attempting to please everybody else, as opposed to listening to the one person that matters, and that’s you.

2. Buy Allen Carr’s ‘The Easy Way’ (not the comedian)

When I smoked I met two people in the same week who both quit by reading this book, and I thought it might be time to take the hint. Allen Carr sadly passed from lung cancer a few years ago, but why his book has so much credibility is because he went from smoking 100 cigarettes per day for 33 years to 0, using the method described in his book.

He outlines every potential excuse and rationalisation you can imagine, instead concentrating on a realistic approach to helping you quit. I don’t want to give the ending away, but if you want to quit smoking this is one bestseller that you will want to finish.

3. Set a target

I was turning 40 the year I quit (I’ve just turned 50 now). The thought of entering a new decade (especially that one) as a smoker was very difficult to consider. I knew that I needed a big target to keep me out of mischief, so I entered the London Triathlon (Sprint distance, having never done a race like that before).

It was on the back of that race that I really started getting into fitness, and why eventually I chose it as a career. The point I want to make is this: whether you want to enter the London Marathon, walk the El Camino de Santiago, or cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats (or something smaller, which is fine too), choose a target that will challenge you. Also, choose something that you have always wanted to try. It’s a great way to keep you focused, and it centres your mind on the goal you are achieving, not the habit you are giving up to get there.

There you have it, that’s my advice on how to quit smoking. Good luck!


To learn more about effective healthy habits to achieve your fitness goals, contact James Staring, a leading personal trainer in Clapham, London.


James StaringJames Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham, London. His methods have featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Hello, Healthy, Daily Mail, Closer, and many more. After giving up smoking and entering the fitness industry in 2009, James has focused on his passion to help others transform their health and fitness. However, James is convinced that most people struggle so much more than they need to in an effort to improve their fitness. Through his company, Fit to Last, which he runs with his partner, Ali Page – James has helped hundreds of men and women make small adjustments in their daily habits to transform their fitness and to love how they look and feel.


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