Here we are, the year is almost over and most people start reflecting what they accomplished and if they are honest enough to themselves, where they have failed and most importantly, what can they do to improve for the new year.
When it comes to training and staying on an exercise and nutrition program, the vast majority of people fail. You can always see what someone’s New Year resolution is towards the end of December and beginning of January. This is when gyms across the country start to enroll new members. This is always a great thing to see but sadly, by the time March rolls around, over 90% of the new members stop going and by mid year another 50% of the 10% stop as well. This isn’t a fact that I have measured but rather an observation from 43 years of working out in gyms.
How to succeed…
There are several things that you can do in order to succeed this time around. Here are just some:
- Be realistic – examine your personal and work life and set up a plan that is realistic and will fit into your circumstances. A lot of people are too gung ho and will plan for either too many training sessions in a week or duration of each training session, or both. This is not a race, being fit is a lifetime process. There is no need to try to ‘catch up’ for lost time, it will not accomplish anything but disappointment.
- When – once you have set up frequency and duration based on lifestyle, you then need to set up at what time you will train. While there are benefits for performing cardio versus resistance training during certain times of the day, your first goal is to just get a routine going. So pick a time that is most convenient to you.
- Where – again, in order to be successful, you need to keep it simple. Where are you going to train, at home, your community fitness center or a local gym. Do you want to train near the house or near work? What fits best into your schedule. For example, if you are training at lunch time, pick a gym as close to possible to work, reduce drive time. Don’t get lured into the ‘big box’ gyms like LA Fitness, Bally’s, etc. There are many small local gyms that are just as nice, the crowd is usually friendlier, and some of the amenities may be better, i.e. workout and shower towels provided.
- What – so now you have frequency, duration, time and place, so what do you do? It depends on what satisfies you the most and/or what’s readily available at the place you are training. The key is to get into a routine. The best way to accomplish this is by making it fun. For example, if the place provides a spin class while you are there, how about 30 minutes of resistance training followed by joining the spin class towards the end? Or vice versa? Don’t think you have to take one of the gyms classes for the entire duration. If you are pressed for time, do what you can fit in.
- Training partner? – This one is tough. On the one hand, a partner can be an inspiration when you are feeling down and vice-versa. On the other hand, they can also be a deterrent by convincing you to skip a workout or showing up late. I only have used training partners when I competed where I needed someone for a spot or to coach me. Other than that, I prefer to train alone. If you are going to take on a training partner I would suggest your spouse or significant other. This way you can motivate each other.
- Prepare to fail – yes, it is ok to fail. Changing your life with exercise and nutrition is not easy. There will be bumps in the road, setbacks, etc. As long as you mentally prepare for that, and know that it is ok to fail as long as you analyze why, you can always get back on track. For example, you may have been too ambitious on the amount of days you can train per week. Don’t worry about missing workouts and throwing your routine off schedule, just adjust the number of times you can train and start over again.
- Ctrl-Alt-Del – what does that mean? It means that even if you totally quit from your New Year’s resolution at some point during the year, it does not mean that you wait till next year to try it again. You life is like a PC, you can CTRL-ALT-DEL at any time and start all over again. I always tell people, every Monday is your chance to start all over again, how cool is that!!!!
So, start planning and get ready, make 2015 the year you make it happen and you too can be …Fit Forlife!