The gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers are full of those who resolved to start exercising this year. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm dies down fairly quickly and by March, many have reverted back to their non-exercise days.
Most people begin with determination but lose motivation after just a few weeks. If the New Year has spurred you to start a new fitness program, here are 5 things you need to do to succeed.
Define your motivation
Do you want to feel better, move better, look better? Whatever your reason, keep it at the front of your mind. Better yet - write it down and keep it in view. You are not always going to "feel like" exercising, but I am guessing you don't always feel like brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, or getting up to go to work. You just do it. Make exercise one of the things you just do. Review your "reason" daily to stay motivated and eventually exercise becomes a habit and part of your daily routine.
Start with an Assessment
Often when I suggest this, a client will tell me they already know they are in poor shape and don't really need an assessment to confirm that. Yet, I still suggest they get one. Why? When I work with someone, good form is always a main goal. Through an assessment I can find muscle imbalances, check range of motion, and find postural deviations that might inhibit someone from properly performing a certain exercise. From this information, we might begin a stretching routine or focus on core stabilization before moving on to other exercises. If these imbalances weren't corrected first, proper form could never be established and the client might continue to exacerbate the problem, potentially leading to injury.
Another reason I suggest an assessment is to increase confidence. Yes, many times a new client can do more than he/she thought she could do. I might ask someone to do pushups and their immediate reaction is "I can't do pushups!". So, I show her a few modifications and now she can do pushups! Maybe they are wall pushups or maybe on the knees - nevertheless they are pushups. And now, rather than believing "I can't do pushups", the client knows she can in fact do pushups! So we start from there and work on strengthening the body to improve the pushups.
Follow a well-designed program
Yes, there are many, many programs you can follow that are free, on-line, on You-Tube or your friend's favorite program that she has been following for years. These might not be the best program for you. Most programs are mass-marketed to get a lot of people following - and many of them are great. Yet none of these take into consideration your health history, past injuries, muscle imbalances or experience. Build a strong foundation with a program designed specifically for you. Follow it for awhile, continue to progress, and then choose to follow the mass-marketed programs if you wish. Make the investment to meet with a Personal Trainer to get a program developed for you.
Expect to be sore, but know it won't last forever!
Sore doesn't mean unable to walk for 3 days. If that happens, you are doing too much too soon. Set an achievable goal (ie 30 mins of cardio), work at a level that is challenging, and then be done. Unlike many programs, I tell my clients to "always leave a little in the tank". You need energy for the rest of your day; most of us have jobs, daily household tasks, and a variety of other things that require our attention and energy. If your workout leaves you completely sore and fatigued for the rest of the day, chances are you won't do it again!
Your body should feel like it worked, but you should be able to exercise again the next day. If you overdid it, spend the next day doing some easy walking and gentle stretching.
You need to know that some soreness is expected, especially in the beginning. I have known quite a few people who quit after the first day, thinking that exercise would always lead to soreness. It won't! As you get stronger and more fit, the soreness will occur less often. A new program, a different class, or a challenging workout can also lead to soreness as your body adapts to something new. Just know it gets better as you get stronger!
Stick with it! Commitment is Key
Change doesn't happen overnight and a 6-week fitness program is not going to have dramatic changes on your health. Stick with it; the changes come and you will notice significant improvement in your health, energy, and strength. Those who tell you their exercise program just didn't work probably quit too soon.
Truly, exercise is a life-long commitment that you need to incorporate into your daily life. I know, who has the time? Well, really we all do. We make time to watch our favorite shows, hang out on social media, zone out on the couch, get our hair colored, go to the doctor, and make our weekly trek to the grocery store. We make the time for those things and we can make the time for exercise.
Schedule it in your day and just do it. Your schedule will evolve around it. If you are struggling to find 30 minutes, start with 10 and set a goal of increasing the amount of time you spend exercising by 5 minutes every other day. Before you know it, you will have made the time to exercise for 30 minutes. Congratulations!
Thanks for reading!
If you have questions about your fitness program, please feel free to contact me. I am always happy to help!
For more information, please visit my site www.cinergydynamics.com or follow me on social media