It’s the New Year and every Jan 1st when I hit the gym, I’m greeted with about 50% more people than the previous month. The woman at the counter jokes that if I have patience and wait a few weeks, all will be back to normal. I thought about it…why do I see this same trend year after year…and why are so many people giving up?
If you are one of those people who has committed to fitness this year – I don’t want to see you be the person dropping out. Be the one I see every day – here’s what to remember.
“Rome wasn’t Built in a Day”
There are no fast fitness fixes. There are no pills, no diets, and no workouts that will have you looking like bikini pro tomorrow. None. Also, just losing weight doesn’t give you muscle tone. The common saying is that it takes “it takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing…and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Give it 12 weeks.” Hang in.
Find Motivation Everywhere
Put motivation everywhere because temptation will be everywhere. Have your phone & computer screen saver be motivational, put quotes or pictures on your refrigerator, and make it a mission. Find the thing that motivates you personally – is it looking good this summer in a bikini, getting healthier for your kids, etc..it will be different for everyone but put it front and center.
See it Like A Business Goal
Like success in anything else – a great body doesn’t come from mediocre effort. You will have to do work when you don’t feel like it, you will have to do it at times when it is inconvenient, and you will have to do it when you want to be doing other things…this is true for work, and true for fitness. Expect it. Put it in your calendar, and make it your most important meeting of the day.
Check your Thinking
Fitness is not “All or Nothing” – it’s consistency. I don’t go to the gym everyday. I’m there 5 times a week. That means, for me, I get two days off. I make my two days off my busiest work days. If you miss a day, don’t just quit – get back on track.
Find a Routine that Fits your Lifestyle
Do you like being outdoors? You don’t have to be in a gym for every workout you do…there are so many options. You can cycle, start running, or workout at home with Tae Bo videos for your cardio. You can even download programs to help you get started and motivate you! There is a great Couch-to-5K app that can get you running in no time…just be sure to clear it with your doctor first.
Make it Fun
I have an ipod that I love – and my gym time is truly “me time.” Every person in the world can use a little self-time, right? I can play ridiculous music if I want to (if you only knew my playlist), and use the time to concentrate on doing something wonderful for myself and my family. I have a network of great women that are into fitness, and many who are fitness pros who are just so inspirational to chat with in my off time. We support each other, complain about “leg day,” and talk about new exercises that are working for us – even swapping tips and recipes. It’s truly fun! It gives me a reason to buy new shoes, download music, and it’s something I do for myself.
When I first started working out, I had a “gym buddy.” I met her at the gym at 5am every weekday when we were on our predoctoral internship together. She was a former trainer from Miami who was built like a truck, and I was a skinny girl who just needed some accountability (thanks Kari!). We listened to “hair bands,” I learned a lot, and I was there every morning. Who are you accountable to? Who will know when you’ve skipped your day or didn’t follow through? At first, it’s great to have that person if you can do it and people are making it easier than ever. An example? Alex Lawrence, an entrepreneur, startup, and tech guy, is helping a lot of people through his program of public accountability in getting more fit. Read about it and join!
Don’t Be Intimidated
We all start somewhere. If you feel lost in the gym, hire a trainer for a few weeks and get a routine. If you can’t afford that quite yet, have a friend that’s a gym buff show you a few things. Ask questions. No one thinks less of you for not knowing everything…no one is born with a barbell in their hands. At some point, we’ve all been there, and most people are more than willing to share what they know if you ask.
With Diet, as with Exercise: Take it Step by Step
You don’t have to change your diet, exercise 5 days a week, and do it all tomorrow. Take it day by day. There’s a saying that “great abs are made in the kitchen” – and it’s absolutely true. What you eat and drink will play a big role in how fast you see your progress. Maybe start simple by just brown bagging your lunch everyday instead of buying it, and only eating things you make yourself instead of prepackaged foods? Start slow. To look at one woman’s philosophy that doesn’t overcomplicate it, check out “Chicken Tuna” – her eating plan is pretty simple, and her philosophy is very straight forward. She tells it like it is. Things like Weight Watchers get you on a pattern that very few can follow as a lifestyle, and I don’t encourage them. However, before you make any shifts to your diet, be sure you run it by your doctor.
The reason more people aren’t fit, is that it’s work. It is hard some days, and easier on others. If success in anything were easy, then everyone would be successful. The most rewarding and difficult part of getting healthy is that there are no shortcuts. While in wealth you may hit the lottery, have a wealthy uncle who passes, or get noticed by just the right person – in health and exercise – there are no such possibilities. As a society, we want them…I mean, who has the time? People resort to diet pills, surgeries and all sorts of measures to try to do what they can to make it easier. The truth is, you make the time for the things that are important to you – spending time with family, going out on a date with your spouse or even putting in a hour at the gym.
Your life is a compilation of the choices you make…what choices are you making today?