It’s the New Year and I bet you’ve heard loads of people setting themselves New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe you’ve set a couple yourself.
One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to get fit, lose weight and generally just become a bit healthier. Visit any gym come January and you’ll see it full to the brim with people pumping iron. Fast forward a few weeks and over half of those people will have left. Indeed, almost 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week of February. So what keeps some people going? Below you’ll find some tips I found worked for my clients this year and helped them achieve their fitness goals.
Break it down
We’ve all been there, every January we’re raring to go on our health and fitness goals. This is going to be the year of clean eating, exercising five times a week and doing a series of increasingly challenging and awe-inspiring sports events. We sign up for a gym, pack our fridges full of veg and sign up for everything from Tough Mudder to some obscure marathon in the middle of the Sahara.
But it’s too much too soon.
By all means, set yourself sky-high goals. But break each down into manageable chunks. Build yourself up slowly. That means that before you tackle the London Marathon, try a 5k and half-marathon first. See how that feels and whether your body is ready to be challenged further.
Many people fail in the first few weeks of their fitness journey because they don’t pace themselves and because the goals they have set seem so far away. Hitting milestones every week gives you enough of a confidence boost to reach the next, and the next, until one day you find yourself smashing through the ultimate goal you set yourself at the start of the year.
Don’t know where to begin? This is where you need to consult the experts. A personal trainer can work with you to help you set weekly and monthly goals that you can achieve safely.
Get a network
A journey is a lot lonelier if you are stuck doing it by yourself. Surround yourself with people who will cheer you one and hold you accountable to your goals. Get yourself a gym buddy who can help you navigate a gym (especially if it’s your first time) and who you can have some friendly competition with. If the idea of working out alone on a treadmill fills you with dread, head to some group exercise classes. This can be a great way to find future gym buddies as well. There’s also a whole community of people online who share their fitness journeys and inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Need an extra boost? Especially if you’re new to working out, you should consider getting yourself a personal trainer to show you the ropes and help you stick to your goals.
Don’t hurt yourself
This is something seen time and time again, especially in gyms in January. Before you begin working out, make sure you know what you are doing. Before you load up the weights, make sure your form is right. Likewise, check your running gait, set up equipment correctly, have the right gear on and keep yourself hydrated. Too many people rush into doing an exercise and then end up hurting themselves. It’s a cliché but it’s better to be safe than sorry because an injury can completely derail your fitness journey. You may not be able to work out for months or even years afterwards.
If you do find yourself injured, stop exercising the area immediately. Rest up and consult a professional if needed.
Vary your routine
Routines are a great thing, they help to build habits and can keep you working out for months and months. However, there comes a time when every routine has run its day. Firstly, you should make sure you take regular breaks from your fitness regime. Rest days are important – especially if you wake up one day feeling absolutely floored, with a stinking cold. Even if it’s unscheduled, if your body is screaming that it cannot do a single squat that day, then take a break. Even the most seasoned athletes need to put their feet up sometimes.
The same goes for your diet. If you’re eating healthy throughout the week, then having a more indulgent meal is fine. In fact, it will stop you going mad and quitting in the long run.
Lastly, vary your workouts. If you only do one type of exercise all the time you create an imbalance in your body – you don’t address other areas of weakness. Plus, your body gets used to regular exercises after a few weeks, so they become less effective. That’s why the best personal trainers and group instructors will change routines every session, or at least every few weeks.
So, if you’re an avid runner, consider switching it up with weight training a couple of times a week. If you love boxing, add in some functional training from time to time. Keep your body guessing. Go swimming a few times a month, take a hike, go on a long cycle ride, or do a fitness pop-up event. As an added bonus, you might discover another fitness activity that you absolutely love and want to do more regularly.
Also, don’t forget that you can get fit outside the gym. In fact, you might want to! The gym is usually packed in January and you can waste time queueing for equipment. There are tons of ways to get fit in London. Obviously, there’s PTs (like yours truly!) or outdoor classes, fitness holidays and retreats… the list is endless.
From 2018…to life
Ultimately, you should always bear in mind that you’re not just setting yourself a fitness goal for 2018, you’re doing it for life. That requires a change in your overall lifestyle and mindset. This takes time.
You need to build up slowly and pay attention to what you’re doing. You should find something that keeps you active but that you enjoy, that’s the only way you’ll stick with it for a length of time. Don’t give yourself endless restrictions, banning chocolate only makes it infinitely more attractive!
Get yourself a good team around you who will spur you on when the going inevitably gets tough. This can be anyone from friends and family to a personal trainer or online groups.
Healthy living is forever, not just for January, so make sure you keep this in mind when deciding your fitness New Year’s Resolutions. If you only focus on the short term, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Need some help with getting fit in 2018? Contact us to find out how Jays Way Personal Training can make your New Year’s Resolutions easier.