How many people start a new fitness routine every January?

I think a lot of people would answer this question in a similar fashion. As a personal trainer who has worked in many different places, I remember the influx of new members at the beginning of every year. This is something most of us trainers looked forward to because there were many new people that may need our help. I worked for several gyms before I became an owner at Ampersand Integrative Wellness. There was always a lot more people in the gym in January versus any other month.

But most of these new patrons would not seek advice from a professional. Instead, what I noticed in the 15 years I’ve been doing this, most new people in the gym would go straight to the cardio machines and spend all or most of their time there. This is not a bad thing at all. In my opinion any exercise is better than none at all. Yet, I have noticed a consistent flaw in this approach.

 

Burn Out & Injury

The problem I have seen repeatedly is that most new gym goers get burned out and do not make it through the month. By February most “newbies” are no longer interested in continuing a boring exercise routine. Sometimes I will see someone break free of the mundane and go to a trainer or a group class. They tend to learn more and get more comfortable with the environment and therefore tend to stick around a little longer.

Lastly, I saw way too many injuries. If you know me you know how important injuries have become in my life.  Those new members that are doing the same exercise every time start developing overuse injuries or their movement patterns become inefficient and imbalanced. This is where a well developed and personalized fitness plan can come in handy.  

 

Making Changes That Last

In order to make physical changes to your body, exercise and healthy eating must stay consistent. Adaptation can only happen over time. And it’s never too late! I tell clients all the time “you can gain 10+ pounds of muscle in a year at almost any age and if you’re not strengthening your body you only lose a half pound of muscle per year (after the age of 30). Muscle can be gained rather quickly but it takes a lot more time to lose it. So, although I love seeing all the new people starting a fitness routine in the new year, I love even more when I see people stick with it and hit their goals.

This is what I really want to stress to you readers: How do you set yourself up for success?  We already know how to achieve our goals. In one word: Consistency! How do we get consistent? Let’s chat.

 

Reasons consistency becomes challenging

Before we talk about being consistent lets discuss why people often fall short of this. I bet there will be things that I didn’t include in this list that you can think of but here is my top 10 list.

  1. Doing too much / burnout
  2. Not feeling like you are doing enough
  3. Lose interest
  4. Not enjoying success along the way
  5. Lost your gym buddy/partner
  6. Eating habits are getting in the way
  7. Anxiety in general but especially over new exercise
  8. Injury
  9. Not seeing results
  10. Lack of knowledge

 

This is the list I have compiled from my own experience. I have seen a few people from each category in my time as a trainer. All of these can be a reason that is used to stop being consistent in working towards your fitness goals. What I have noticed about this list is that there may be more than one of these that contribute to inconsistency. Also, there are a lot of items on this list that have nothing to do with the physical body.

 

The many pillars of wellness

Mental health is really important in many ways but so are all the other aspects of wellness. Family, personal development, spiritual awareness, recreation, intimate and social relationships, health/aging, finance, and career/profession are all parts of total wellness.  Any one of these parts could be contributing to having issues with consistency. 

 

How realistic are your goals?

A great place to start is a suggestion I remind myself from time to time and when I do it is extremely helpful. Be realistic!!  Before we talk about setting goals and expectations for the next year, let’s look back in time. Look at your all the different activities you’ve done in you’re life. If you went line dancing every Thursday for a year that counts. Maybe think about how active you were in your most active years. What was your body like at that time?  Did you notice an adaptation? How much time are you dedicating to fitness in this next year? Is there any other year in the past that may have been similar?

This information may help in deciding what your goals are or how much time you want to dedicate towards your goals. The one big factor to consider is your starting point. Maybe you’re in better shape this time than the last time. Are your goals more challenging this year coming up versus your top 3 years? If so, just keep in mind how much time that may take. Is that a realistic amount of time to spend every week on fitness while being CONSISTENT? These questions are critical in determining what your year should look like and what to expect. If its too much time dedicated to reach your goals maybe your goals should reconsider.  Maybe even do a 5-year plan. This way you do not feel like you have to accomplish everything in one year. 

 

A Healthy New Year, New YOU Plan

I hope these tips are helpful in developing your new year game plan. The information I share comes from my own experience. I can’t tell you how many goals I set and never reached. I started viewing it as though I am not reaching my goals, but I may have failed in the first place by setting unrealistic goals. There is also something called a SMART goal. This acronym is very useful in setting quality distinct goals and I would recommend to anyone to look into this.

Failure can be a huge life altering event. But so can success!!!!  Let us all be a little more aware this year and come up with the best plan possible. Meet yourself where you are and be realistic with your goals and the logistics needed to hit those goals. Good luck this new year and if you need any support please feel free to reach out to me personally: jhershey@ampersandintegrative.com

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