With the year slowly winding down, I am sure you are busy making new, awesome goals and plans for the full, new year ahead. For many people, this includes getting more exercise, cleaning up the diet, starting a new challenge like running a race, participating in a new class or maybe even doing a fitness competition.
It’s easy to be super enthusiastic and committed when beginning a new nutrition and exercise regime, but the real work is maintaining that same fire and energy that began your commitment. Below are four stages that I see so many people go through when entering into the realm of healthy, lifestyle changes. Check out the progression, and see if you identify with this - self-evaluation is key, and no one is perfect, so we all at some point or another have experienced this. But what is most important is how you recover and rebuild… Check it out!
Classic Sign: Your energy and enthusiasm for change is over the top, and consumes most of your waking thoughts and decisions. You let this new change take over every aspect of your life, unbalancing the delicate balance that is so important to maintain in our lives.
Solution: Take a less-is-more approach. Balance your excitement with the big picture. Even with the smartest, most effective program, you can’t force your body to become slimmer or stronger any faster than it physiologically can. Do not exceed your ability to recover physically or mentally.
Classic Sign:You don’t see results right away, or fast enough, and become frustrated. You wonder what all this hard work is really for, and you stop looking forward to sweat sessions and begin skipping workouts.
Solution: Set mini goals. Putting the notion in your head that you have failed to meet goals or expectations is extremely damaging, especially during the first six months of your new exercise program. Short term goals focus on the process (like time spent exercising) and are more likely to keep you on track and boost confidence. I like to calls these Behavioral Goals. I prefer for my clients to focus on Behavioral Goals: i.e. drink more water, eat more veggies, take your fish oil, etc., and let me worry about Outcome Based Goals: i.e. dropping body fat and inches, becoming stronger, finishing a race/competition, etc. After all, if you are adhering to my Behavioral Goals, the Outcome Based Goals are a natural by-product.
Classic Sign: You begin to use just about anything/excuse to skip workouts: work, social obligations, family, the weather, stress. Apathy begins to trump your commitment and motivation.
Solution: Switch it up. Give your body a new challenge, so it never has time to adapt. This increases the work capacity and stimulation of the neuromuscular, (or mind/muscle) connection. My clients are always challenged with new moves, different pieces of equipment, different intensity techniques and different structures of circuits.
Classic Sign: Exercise slides from your list of top priorities. You want to throw the towel in. ”There is always next week, next month, next year.”
Solution: Make a schedule and stick to it for at least five weeks. A study in Health and Psychology reports that it takes new exercisers that long to make it a habit. Throw up a vision board with goals, pictures and reasons that inspire and motivate you, and remind you why you are doing this. Remember, you don’t HAVE TO DO THIS, YOU CHOSE TO DO THIS! Reframing your thought process in this way reminds you that you are capable of making awesome decisions for yourself because you want to feel good about your own personal choices and you like feeling good about yourself!
Yours in Health and Fitness,