Health & Fitness: It's been one month since you vowed to visit the gym more regularly and steer clear of guilt-inducing foods. But already, you've found excuses to miss workouts.
Maybe you've blown your diet and are feeling too defeated to even attempt to get back on track. Maybe you're overwhelmed by the blitz of fitness programs, equipment and fads available to you.
You're not the only one. Fitness freak-outs happen to millions of people every February, especially people who are just beginning a commitment to better health. Answering the next three questions honestly can help you identify the obstacles that are getting you down and give you some strategies to overcome them.
Are your expectations realistic?
You've never been on a treadmill, but you want to run for an entire hour? You haven't done a sit-up in a year, yet you want to do 100 by next week? You're new to the weight room, but you want to lift as much weight as veteran lifter to your left? After all, you're practically his size, right? Sky-high expectations can set us up for disappointment. Expecting too much, too soon from our bodies is a quick way to burn out. Instead, use smaller, short-term goals as milestones toward larger goals. Think of your goals like a ladder. It's much easier on your mind to move from step one to step two than it is to leap from step one to step five. The same is true for your mind. Just be sure to give yourself enough time to reach each of your short-term goals.
Are you on a path toward your goal?
The athlete who needs to turn in a stronger, faster performance and the amateur who just wants to look better in jeans have one thing in common: they need a path to get there. If you are spending hours on an elliptical machine without understanding how cardiovascular exercise impacts the way your body looks and acts, you're not getting the most out of your workouts. Don't get lost in the fitness wilderness. Instead, find a path to guide you. A good trainer is like a forest ranger pointing you in the direction of your goal. The best trainers not only will tell you what to do, they'll tell you what to expect along the way. Many women, for example, are reluctant to try weight-training. They want to trim down, but they fear that bench presses only will make them bulk up. A good trainer quickly can dispel this myth and can teach you how weight training sculpts and tones muscles. Knowing what you want is important but knowing how to get there is equally as important.
Are you bored already?
Most of us spend at least eight hours at work each day. Exercise shouldn't be more work on top of an already chore-packed life. If the thought of working out seems like an unpleasant task instead of a form of rejuvenation, it's time to rethink your workout. It's absolutely true that there's no substitute for hard work and you're going to have to get moving if you want to see results. But, putting some diversity in your workout will help your mind think more positively about fitness. A diverse round of exercises is much more fun than the same old routine day after day. Whether it's a walk around your neighborhood, a bike ride at the beach or series of exercises in the weight room, each does the trick to burn away calories. Give yourself a few different ways to work up a sweat and your mind will appreciate the options. The upbeat way you'll feel after completing each activity will make you more likely to incorporate exercise as a part of your life.
Happy, healthy February!
By Chris Keith CPT
Owner San Diego Personal Trainer
JustLuxe.com Contributing Editor