Failed Resolutioners and Worried Personal Trainers

Empty Gym
So its finally February and miraculously it would appear that the attendee numbers at my local gymnasium have reduced by around 35% compared with the beginning of January. Now I could claim to have predicted this a few weeks ago but I’m afraid that there is not much credit in such a prediction as it was inevitable. As per my previous article, the most popular of all popular new year’s resolutions is something to do with fitness, health or weight loss. This in turn is capitalised on by gym’s across the world who wave their joining fee, making it easy for newly enthusiastic fitness fanatics to sign up for a year long contract. However, as has happened, the vast majority of these resolutioners tend to run out of steam come February and we are left with this situation. Many personal trainers out there are seeing there swollen client list quickly evaporate to pre Christmas levels!

I must say I am very please that a portion of the people who signed up in January have now stopped their exercise regime because the crowds in the gym were nothing short of ridiculous. I can now swim in the pool without being surrounded by thrashing arms, and I no longer have to wait for the squat rack to be free. Many people would rebuke me for joining a gym simply because of the want to stay warm. Yes, I am a wimp and really do not fancy running on icy roads – or indeed swimming in near freezing water. Anyway, I am getting side tracked. The reason I wanted to bring up this subject was that it is not just in the gyms that you see a declining number of people exercising. The pool is the same, and so are the roads with people running or cycling. So here is my attempt at helping those who are still going to the gym, to keep going.

p.s if you are one of those who have been absent from whatever football club or gym that you signed up for in January. It is not too late to revive your resolution and if you keep to these tips you might just see it through….rather than waiting till 1st January 2014 to go through the whole “I’m going to get fit this year” thing again!

Perservere

First of all, as I have ranted in previous articles, an attempt to lose weight (as most people want to do) should not be viewed as a quick fix or a temporary situation. The best way to get fit or healthy is to make a lifestyle change. These do not have to be major changes, but many small changes add up to big results. For instance, do not view at as a chore to exercise. Revel in how it makes you feel afterwards when your body is filled with endorphins and you have that incredibly smug feeling on the way to work in the morning when everybody else on the train looks tired. Make a note of how you feel more energized when you are exercising regularly – so why would you stop once you have hit your target weight or whatever target you set yourself on 1st January?

Secondly, variety is the spice of life. Mix up your training. Doing the same 3 workouts week after week is not conducive to a sustainable regime. You NEED to enjoy getting fit otherwise you will not succeed. Admittedly, there is inevitably a sort of inertia to get over when starting out. Your lungs will hurt and your limbs will feel heavy from even the lightest of sessions (depending on your fitness levels at the start). However, once you have moved past this period of pain, you can start to enjoy your sessions – ESPECIALLY if you keep them interesting. Swap a boring treadmill run for a trail run, or a game of football in the park with your friends. When I was living in Cheltenham I used to do a lot of solo runs and cycles around the surrounding hills. Eventually this got a little tedious and my own company was starting to irritate me when I was tired! Luckily one of my good friends is (in my opinion) the most knowledgeable personal trainer Cheltenham has to offer so I got him to give me some tips and train with me. Having someone who could give me new exercises or ideas on how to improve my fitness was very beneficial. In this way, my gym sessions were made more exciting by the fact that I was challenging myself with new core strengthening exercises or new plyometric routines. However, if I had not had him I would have sought out a personal trainer or at least googled some stuff to see how I could vary my training. It also has the added bonus of reducing your injury risk!

Which leads me onto my next pointer. Get someone else involved. Having a friend that can push you and challenge you will mean faster results – not that these are going to be instant (more on this later) but it will certainly help. Especially when it comes to those early morning sessions or even when you are feeling a little tired. In any other situation you would probably just sit in front of the sofa but if someone else is supposed to be meeting you there then the likelihood is you will go – unless you are flake….in which case shame on you. A lack of self motivation is one of the biggest factors for people failing in their New Year’s resolutions, so having someone else motivating you is a great cure for this. If you don’t have any friends who are willing to commit to your regime then consider hiring a personal trainer.

Training with Friends

Be clear about what you are looking to get out of your new gym membership, your new trainers, tennis racket – whatever it is that you are trying to do, it should be clear…with set milestones. For instance, if you want to run a Summer Marathon then it is very advisable to enter some 10km runs beforehand in the run up to your half marathon. Having personal targets gives you something to head towards instead of having the incredibly vague thought of “getting fitter”! So workout what you want and work towards that goal. Do not shy away from a challenging goal – if you achieve your goal of losing 1kg within 2 weeks then you are left with nothing to work towards. You need something to visualise because getting into good shape takes time. It is progressive in nature and requires a certain amount of patience! You do not have to tell anyone your target, it can be deeply personal, just make sure you have one.

Finally, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. As I said, the first few weeks will probably be pretty painful. However, you are probably being spurred on by your new found enthusiasm. It is the weeks in February that are the most important – as the per the subject of this article! You need to make sure that you push through the period of waning motivation into your new found fitness. Trust me, there will be a point where exercise no longer becomes a chore or some sort of awful experience. It becomes something that you really look forward to after sitting in a seat staring at a computer screen for the whole day. Your goal for the next 6 weeks is to reach that point. You have already come this far so don’t let yourself down now. I used to really enjoy sitting on top of Leckhampton Hill in Cheltenham looking down over the town knowing that I had just cycled up that b#*ch of a hill! Plus….I had the awesome downhill ahead of me.

Cheltenham View

In summary.
View your goal as a lifestyle change rather than a temporary fix, this will ensure that it is sustainable fitness rather than some fitness version of yo yo dieting.
Mix up your training. Incorporate different sports or different exercises to keep things fresh. If you are struggling to come up with new exercises then get yourself onto youtube or google, ask someone in the gym or hire a personal trainer. Maybe even consider joining your local club.
Involve your friends. For obvious reasons having a friend to talk to whilst doing whatever you are doing (or talk to on the way back home) can aid with motivation. Getting yourself a personal fitness coach for an hour a week can also be an effective way to get some external motivation.
Set yourself a target and be clear about your goals. The harder the better. The longer term it is the more likely your training will produce better results.
Enjoy yourself. Be smug (but not too smug) on the way to work after a morning session. Enjoy your new found energy and the fact that you can walk up stairs without feeling like you are about to collapse!

If anything think about how much money the gyms are making out of you. You are stuck in it now so make the most of your contract.

Good Luck. You have come this far when others have fallen by the wayside. Just do it.


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