Well, it’s that time of year. Everyone is deciding that this will be the year they turn everything around. It happens this way every January. Couch potatoes become gung ho dieters and gym goers, full steam ahead, jumping from doing nothing to daily exercise and extremes on food intake. The percentage of people that the New Years Resolution works for is laughable, however, every good thing begins somewhere doesn’t it? So let’s figure out a way to make it stick this time. I have a few suggestions.
Do not go from 0-60 overnight. If you’ve been a zero exercise person, do NOT start working out every day. You WILL burn out and start feeling sorry for yourself. You will end up miserable and sore and irritable. If you’ve been sitting on the couch and behind a desk for 6 months, a year, ten years, whatever it is, then taking a walk around the block will be an improvement and your body WILL NOTICE! Remember that whatever you choose to do, your body will adapt to it and at some point you will plateau. Do a slow build. If you’ve been a hit and miss lifter, then start with going once a week consistently and without fail. Then you can add on when you’re mentally and physically ready to do so.
DO NOT go on a diet! Just say no to any diet that has a name. There is no diet out there, NOT ONE, that is the magic cure for fat. Barring a physical ailment, you got fat because you ate too much and didn’t move enough. Period. Carbs are not your enemy out to ruin your life. A healthy and fit lifestyle is quite simply a daily practice of self-control. These are the questions that you need ask yourself every time you sit down to eat. “Will the content of the food on my plate make me stronger and healthier? Is it nutrient dense, full of things that will help me have strong muscles, a clear mind, abundant energy and strong bones? After all, the real purpose of food is to fuel your body so that you can keep your engine running all day long. Don’t fill your engine with things that slow you down. “Is it more than I need to eat at one sitting?” Guess what, you can eat too much healthy food and gain weight too. If you’re unsure how much to eat then cut what you typically eat by ¼ or ½, eat it slowly (set your utensil down between every bite) and don’t eat in front of the TV or computer or your phone. Focus on enjoying the food. Then see if you’re still hungry. (I doubt you will be). Eat mindfully but have something fun every now and then because life it too short to never have ice cream and those occasional treats will keep you focused on eating healthy the rest of the time. And I’ve said this before but it bears repeating over and over again. NEVER punish a perceived food indiscretion by beating yourself up in the gym or on the treadmill. Exercise is never ever to be used as self-punishment.
I don’t care what your friend, your neighbor, your husband, your wife, your trainer or that person you follow on Instagram does. They are not you. Let me say that again, they are not YOU! You are a unique individual with a physical and mental makeup like no one else on the planet. Your life is different, your responsibilities, likes and dislikes, aches and pains, tolerances and intolerances, hopes, desires, drives and dreams. Don’t try to be someone else, focus only on being the best you. What works for you will look very different from what works for someone else. At the same time, don’t use your circumstances as an excuse to not try. We all have things we have to overcome. Some have bigger things to overcome than others, but no one that’s successful has ever let those things hold them down.
Exercise takes time out of your day. No way around it. It doesn’t have to take hours out of your day as some would have you believe, but it will take consistent time dedicated to doing the work. And I have only come across one person in my training career that I couldn’t help figure out the when, why and where it was going to happen. This is a true and unexaggerated story for you…many years ago, in a galaxy far far away in a place called MISSOURI, a woman in her mid 30’s came to me because she wanted me to train her. She brought herself to the gym and we talked for over an hour about her desire to get in shape and eat right, how that was going to look and what it was going to take. She agreed with all of my assessments of her current condition and knew she needed to make a change to feel and look better. We got to the part where I ask a new client how often they are going to come see me, how much time will they devote to exercise on their own and what time of day would best for them. After much time going back and forth, me offering suggested times and her shooting them down, (her quick negative responses to all of my suggestions was not unlike skeet shooting) I finally told her that I had no idea when she was going to workout as it appeared that she had no time available in her life, not even three 10 minute mini sessions 3 days a week (no joke and no exaggeration, I’m very thorough in my ways to make exercise fit) and that she needed to come back to me when she made exercise a priority because I could not help her until she made exercise more important than folding laundry. Then I very nicely escorted her to the door and never saw her again. I’m not sure what she expected me to do, I’m not a genie, I’m just a trainer, albeit a trainer that tries my hardest to help figure those things out for my clients. So the moral of that little story is, DON’T BE THAT LADY. We will always have time for things we deem important. ALWAYS. Every time someone tells me they don’t have time to exercise I do a mental eye roll and think of that woman 20 years ago that didn’t have time to do squats while she was brushing her teeth because that’s when she was making sure her kids were getting dressed. Where there’s a will there’s a way….
Last but not least, diet and exercise results take patience. All good things take time. I tell every client I’ve had over the past 35 years the same thing. Make sure that every time you leave the gym you can say, “today I changed my body”. If you can say that then you know you did the work. Make sure you go to sleep at night and can say, “today I fueled my body and made it healthier.” Now, put those two things on repeat and keep playing them for the rest of your life. This is your responsibility as the steward of your own body. Avoid extremes, quick fixes, and promises of a dancers body in 10 minutes a day (yes, that is a real one going around right now). Stay away from weird supplements, injections, and 500 calorie diets. Stop volunteering to be a lab rat for every new fat loss promise out there. And most importantly, never forget that you are amazing no matter what you think you look like on the outside. Never call yourself a failure. Every breath you take is a new beginning and offers a new opportunity to move forward. So no matter how long it takes or how many hills and valleys there are on the journey, just keep moving!!! Don’t allow your feet to be stuck in this place a year from now. Remember, hindsight is 20/20!! Happy New Year!!
PS, If you need help figuring out how to get started, how to find the time or you just need a word of encouragement, message me!