Since it’s now officially the new year (in both the Gregorian calendar and the Chinese zodiac). I thought it would be a good time to write out some advice for all the ‘resolutionaries’; all of those people that are looking to make exercise and healthier living a part of their new year’s goals. This is how to avoid struggling with your fitness resolutions.
First, plan to be in it for the long haul.
Being fit is a lifestyle and the positive changes that come with regular exercise are maximized when it is done consistently and over extended periods of time. If your plan is to lose weight quickly or train for an event, that’s totally ok; but also understand that building a plan to maintain a healthy training schedule for years and years is a great extension of that short-term goal.
Don’t let the discomfort of the first couple weeks phase you.
It’s going to take some time for your body to become acclimated to the new demands of regular exercise. Don’t get too discouraged by occasional soreness or some mental fatigue here and there.
Ask questions and find trusted sources of information.
Chances are when you get started, you’re going to have questions that come up early in the process; make sure to write down the ones that you think are important and try to seek out the right answers. Find reputable blogs and online journals and take the time to read through them to prepare for your training.
Be an active member of your workout program.
It is your body, your plan, and your goals! Be assertive with both yourself and any trainers or instructors you work with along the way. You are the one performing the exercises and it’s your body that is going to experience the effects; make sure that you understand what the exercises are and why you are doing them.
Take time to learn the basics of exercise mechanics.
To be clear, you really don’t need to know all the small details of human movement in order to get in great shape; but it does help to have a good understanding of how the body works during basic exercises. Take some time to learn the major muscle groups and try to develop an understanding of which muscles are responsible for each exercise. Building this understanding will help you communicate more effectively with exercise instructors, trainers and ultimately it will help you understand how to build your own workouts.
Be careful during group exercise classes.
Group exercise can be a great way to get in shape, but it also comes with a generally non-personalized exercise program; sometimes the exercises that are being done are not what is specifically good (or best) for your body. Pay attention to how each movement feels, and err on the side of caution when the class is preforming exercises don’t fit within your ability to perform well.
Have fun and enjoy the relationships that you build along the way.
I’ve met some of my best friends in the gym, on the court/field. The relationships that you build in the gym can be some of the most genuine and positive relationships that you have. Seek groups of like-minded people and put some energy into building relationships with the people you exercise with.
Lastly, don’t justify quitting.
When you think about quitting, think about why you started. There are going to be moments where quitting will seem like the best option; your brain may help you think of creative ways to justify it. The reality is that you made the plan for a reason and quitting isn’t going to help you reach your goals or positively change your body.