January is a time of new beginnings; new year, new me, new fitness program. The driving force behind our motivation in January is to not fall off the bandwagon like last year. You’ve set your goals, you’ve got your training program and those first couple of weeks felt great…then February hits and you don’t feel like you’re getting the results you deserve. You’re tired and irritable and you’ve missed your last 3 sessions. Your ‘New Me’ mojo is waning and you can feel the bandwagon tipping once more. Sound familiar?
We’ve all been there...so, a few words of advice to help you get through that post January slump.
Set Performance Based Goals
I hear it all the time as a trainer… ‘I want abs’, ‘What exercises will tone my thighs?’, ‘I’m trying to lose weight for summer’. Now the danger of these goals is letting a negative body image and self-criticism fuel your workout regime.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise will improve your body confidence, but don’t let society’s ideology of the perfect body be the driving force behind your workouts. I find the most successful goals that motivate clients to show up everyday and push their limits are those that focus on particular skill or facet of their fitness. Eg. ‘I want to be able to do 10 push-ups on my toes.’ ‘I want to improve my speed’ ‘I want to do a Triathlon.’ These types of goals not only give you a direction with your training, they will empower you more than a set of scales ever will.
Don’t Over-Do it
One of the major issues when it comes to approaching a fitness regime is that rather than seeking an enjoyable, sustainable routine, we resort to extremes. When we do decide to begin exercising, we don’t think practically, like ‘I can commit to three sessions a week while maintaining my happiness’. Nope, instead we run ourselves into the ground five to six times a week doing some form of exercise we end up resenting and giving up before our bodies even realize what they are doing.
Build A Support Network
Starting a new fitness program won't only test you physically, you are also going to need to push through some mental barriers as well. It is always helpful to have the support and encouragement of those around you to help perk you up when your motivation begins to slide. It may not even be those close to you that give you the most support. Branch out to others. Use this new lifestyle choice as an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. It may be a fitness club or gym that you decide to join, or it could even be an online forum or social media where you find encouragement. Either way, don’t ever feel like you’re in this alone; whether you need advice, motivation or even a training buddy, there will usually someone in the exact same boat.
Give Your Training Purpose
I see it all the time as a trainer. People walking aimlessly into the gym to spend hours striding it out mindlessly on the elliptical, eyes glued to the screen with barely a bead of sweat to be seen. Although this leisurely stroll will have some small cardiovascular benefits, it’s not going to challenge you and give you the results you are looking for.
I agree sometimes exercise is a great way to let your mind shut off from outside stressors, but when you show up to TRAIN, you need to be present. An excellent way to get in the zone is to find a focus for the session. It may be something as little as remembering to switch on your core throughout your workout or landing lightly when performing box jumps or other plyometric moves. Don’t just go through the motions—you’re there for a reason. Show up and stay focused on your goals.
I hope these tips help you stay committed to becoming a stronger and fitter version of your beautiful self.