Every January it’s the same thing: the gym is a madhouse! The floor is packed to maximum capacity with people trying to keep their New Year's resolutions. All the cardio equipment is occupied, and the regular gym goers are cranky because their favorite machines are taken. By the time March rolls around the gym is a ghost town—the resolution to exercise can be extremely short lived. Here are my top five tips to help you keep this resolution alive for life!
1. Be realistic about your goals. Never exercised a day in your life? Don’t try to run a marathon after one week on the treadmill. If you can’t do more than 10 push ups, don’t attempt to bench press your own body weight. I appreciate the ambition, but let’s keep it real. If you come out of the gates guns blazing you'll be more prone to injury since your body isn't used to such physical demands. You'll also be prone to stop workouts prematurely due to nausea or fatigue caused by low endurance. Start off slow. Once the numbers start going down on the scale and the weight you lift goes up, you will be more in tune with the natural progression of your exercise routines. You may even enjoy exercising!
2. Create specific workout routines. If you want to jump higher, then focus on your quadriceps and glutes. If you want to lose weight, make sure you know your BMR (basal metabolic rate), and tailor an efficient meal plan for yourself. I’ve seen so many people get frustrated when they don’t get the results they want because they are going about reaching their goals incorrectly. Your time, money, and energy are valuable. Use every second you have in the gym as efficiently as possible.
3. Just show up. The hardest part of any workout regimen is getting to the gym. During the winter I sometimes find myself dreading the freezing commute to the gym, but once I get there, I'm focused and feel better about myself for making the trip. If you can, find a workout buddy who will motivate you to stay with your fitness regimen. Consider joining a team. Your workout partner will keep you honest, and perhaps even foster some healthy competition which will drive you to improve faster than if you had exercised alone.
4. Be consistent. Stay focused on your realistic goals. Exercise using proper form, and continue to steadily progress.
5. Reward yourself, but NOT with food. Book a 60-minute massage, go skydiving, redecorate your bathroom—whatever makes you feel happy and alive. Just make sure it's something that lasts a lot longer than eating a bowl of cheese fries, which will negate everything you’ve accomplished in the gym.
Greg Sher is a personal trainer and founder of I Kill Fat. For more information, visit ikillfat.com.
Treadmill image courtesy of Shutterstock