As we progress through this season of terrifying Holiday Pounds, we also approach the health industry’s biggest months: January, the time of weight loss goals and broken resolutions. Gym owners thrive on this month as they are rushed with pre paid memberships hoping to shed the cookie weight, knowing the eventual pattern of the February Fall Off will keep the stress off their staff members. It’s a viscous cycle for the customers themselves as their lives take over and they find their money spent on a worthwhile endeavor feeling like a waste of energy and time. My goal today is not to discourage gym memberships or New Years Resolutions, but to give some tips on how different clients of mine have found ways to stay motivated, on goal, and make their changes.
1) Schedule your workouts- there is nothing easier than putting off a workout. There are 1000 things in my life I should probably be getting done, and it becomes very easy to say “I’ll do this later” to taking care of myself. There is something mentally helpful for me about having a set time to start my workout, and a set type of exercise I am going to do on any given day. While the class time at the local yoga studio may not be the most convenient thing for your personal schedule, having your teacher expect you there at a certain time creates the kind of accountability in your workout routine that can keep you on task even more than if you were meeting your own gym schedule.
2) Grab a group- the concept of workout buddies is nothing new, but I have found that if one person then gets sick, or has an emergency, the other can have their own dynamic thrown off, and getting back in the groove for both can become a pain. A large group can be both harder to turn down for the individual who is good at finding a reason to miss, but as a group member you are also less likely to be affected if one person does have to miss a day. You are still accountable to the other members who are likely to be there!
3) Track your progress- losing weight is like growing your hair out. We tend not to notice how far it has come until someone points it out, but that can be very discouraging for our own goals. Setting one day every few weeks to really test your maximum weight over 10 repetitions on a lift, tracking your weight on the 2nd Monday (or any set day) in a month, can help us notice these gradual changes better. We often recommend tracking over a longer period of time, because the road to a better self is not linear. A night of bad rest, being slightly dehydrated, and daily stress can effect our day to day progress and make it easier to see regression when it happens, but checking at a set time with 2-4 weeks in between can show the overall change and keep us motivated!
4) Make it a lifestyle- I know, this is the most cliche advice I can give. But, the fact of the matter is that healthy living does not come from a short crash diet before a big event, or a single spring boot camp for the beach body. People who live on the healthy side do just that: they live it. Making these changes of deciding to shop for the right groceries, make smaller meals for portion size changes, and set regular exercise times can be a large change in our lives, but making the decision that this needs to be a permanent aspect is the only way to avoid the Yo-yo cycle that we see in healthcare. That does not mean that I do not cut loose and enjoy pizza or a weekend off now and then, but it does mean that after that “cheat” I am right back into my routine. This is rarely an unconscious change that we make as we fall into health, this is usually a very conscious effort!
5) Have fun with it- this is the ultimate truism of the healthy lifestyle. We will not do for long periods something we loath. There are GREAT tasting healthy foods, and a multitude of forms of exercise that fit each of us differently. Lately I have become an addict of the Saber Legion (a martial arts group with a nerdy Star Wars twist) that fits me PERFECTLY. Not a Star Wars fan? Probably not right for you, but the local Cat Cafe or Microbrewery’s yoga days might be right up your alley (yes, both of those things are real!). There is no one right diet, no one perfect form of exercise. Make it personal, and it becomes much easier to stick through!
Not sure where to start? Ask me! I’ve been around the fitness and health industry for a while, working with other phenomenal trainers and nutrition experts. I might not have the right thing for you in my toolbox, but I’m willing to bet I know someone who does!