The New Year is a time where fitness enthusiasts of all ages are carefully molding their resolutions and figuring out how they can better themselves: finally. Whether you are starting a new program, or just looking to get started, people line up for gym memberships and look to come out of the gate flying. As positive a start as this may seem, weeks later, facilities begin to become a little lighter. The dumbbells start to gather some dust. Smoothie sales plummet. The so called “regulars” reclaim their space on the gym totem pole.
It is seen every year, and no one can seem stop it.
The question becomes, how can you keep the momentum you create at the beginning of the year going?
Use these tips, and you are on your way:
Adopt a Long Term Mindset
Kind of a no brainer, but I think we all have experienced the ups and downs of motivation. Some days you are motivated, and others you aren’t. But, what really important here is realizing that it’s just part of the process. It’s okay. What that means though, is that after a couple weeks of getting after it, you shouldn’t just quit when you’re having a bad day.
Change takes time. Whether you are trying to put on muscle or drop some pounds, it is going to take a lot of hard work- for a long time. It requires that you dedicate yourself to it for a period of months- years even. There is no overnight success - unless you won the Powerball.
The objective isn’t to get in shape for the next month, it’s trying to get healthier for the rest of your life. Once you remember why (no, really, why?) you started in the first place, I think you’ll reconsider.
Set Yourself on a Sustainable Path
Whatever the goal, create a plan that is adaptable to you, your job, and your social requirements. Don’t come out gunz blazing, exercise for seven days a week, and then expect to not eat carbs, like ever. It just isn’t sustainable, and it’s not realistic for the long haul.
Yes. I like the fire. It’s awesome that you are motivated. But, find a way to stoke the fire for a long time. Here are a couple schemes you can use that solve a specific problem:
3 Rotating Total Body Circuits, 1 Day of Cardio Intervals 20-25 minutes; 6-8 weeks
Why? Speeds up workouts and allows you to become more efficient with your time
2 Bodyweight movement days, 1 day of speed, 1 day Long cardio
4 weeks, then change your exercises
Why? Keeps your mind engaged and covers all bases
Don’t Know Where to Begin/How to perform movements
2 days of Total Body Bodyweight/Cable based movements, 1 Day of long cardio, 1 Day of Instruction based training - 6-8 weeks
Why? Gets you actively learning some movements with some basic instruction
You Get Bored Easily
3 Rotating Strength Days, 1 Class oriented day - 4-6 weeks, then change accessory lifts
Why? Helps you learn and get better at main lifts but also helps you reduce boredom
This is just a glimpse, but have a schedule that you can stick to. Consistency is so important, so find one or create your own way. There are no rules!
Find your Exercise Identity
Interesting concept. This goes beyond finding what you like to do. It’s embodying the goal you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are trying to run road races as a new activity- your lifestyle will mold around it. Bodybuilding and putting on lean mass, the same thing. Become the person you want to be.
This works because it’s not just a physical transformation, it changes your mindset. Your exercise becomes your passion, and that breeds great results. It will also help keep you on the right track when you aren’t even thinking about it.
For me, I’m all about moving well and performing at a high level. So when I’m lifting, skiing, playing soccer, running, or getting thrown off my mountain bike, I want to be feeling my best. I make sure I do my homework and prepare my body. I’m always finding another way to be better. You can, too.
Understand your downfalls
Much of the progress that you make early on can be achieved with sheer will, and that is a finite resource. So when things start to go bad, it’s super important that your mindset is all positive. I’m sure that you’ve experienced the, “Well, I just don’t feel like cooking or going to the gym” mentality. We all have. It’s just us being human.
Understand that you can control and make decisions that affect you positively. So rather than being self loathing and feeding the problem, just be positive and understand why you made the decision in the first place.
“You know what, I wanted that cheeseburger because I didn’t get sleep the night before and had a stressful day. Next time, I’ll be able to catch myself.”
“I should have gone to the gym. Next time I feel like that, I’ll just get my feet in the door and see what happens.”
Be ahead of the curve and acknowledge where you went wrong. Then, come up with a solution and get right back to it.
Be Brutally Honest with Yourself
Call yourself out. Plain and simple. As I said above, it’s one thing to learn from your mistakes, but it’s no bueno when you continue to make the same ones over and over again.
Goals require you keep yourself accountable. If you aren’t good at that, find someone who is. A friend, a coach, a mentor- someone that can be honest but constructive with their feedback. Someone to tell you that you are being a bit of an a-hole. Meg is pretty good at this, especially when I don’t do the dishes.
Keep on Truckin'
Sure. All this may seem fairly obvious. But, hopefully you get my thought process. There is much more than meets the eye than just getting after it. Having a clear, well thought out plan will help keep you focused when things start to go crazy in your life. Remember, I don’t want you to reach your goals, I want you to smash them.
Get out and do it.