Have you ever started the New Year without a resolution? If you’re like most Americans, you have a list of lofty goals you’re just itching to get started on. January 1st is practically synonymous with “new year, new me”. The number one new year resolution is usually related to weight loss or exercise. But, let’s be honest how many times have you actually stuck through and accomplished your resolutions? If you can honestly say yes, you rock! However, most of us can’t. According to statistics, on average only about 16% of people who make resolutions actually accomplish their New Year’s resolutions.
If on average only 16% of people actually accomplish their New Year’s resolutions, doesn’t it make you wonder what it is that 16% are doing that we’re not. What’s so special about these people? Are they just hardwired differently than the rest of us? Or, are they setting goals that are easier to accomplish?
I’ll be honest, I’ve met some fitness people who I definitely think are hardwired differently than me. I don’t mean that in a negative way either. In fact, I admire them! I can lose weight easily. All I have to do is watch my calorie/carb intake, take a few walks, take a nightly shot of apple cider vinegar and the weight just melts off. But, gaining muscle and staying lean is HARD! It takes a level of dedication that I’ve never been able to maintain. Yet, these people do it everyday. It’s literally their normal life. That’s freaking awesome!
A Snippet Of My Fitness Journey
I’ve been wanting to be that person for a while, and have yet to transform myself. The only time I ever came close to this lifestyle was when I was 25. For those of you who don’t know, I had an eating disorder. I say had, but realistically I still occasionally relapse. Anyways, I was working at QuikTrip’s Divison Office in St. Louis at the time. I was actually a traveling assistant manager, but was temporarily put in the office to fill an empty position. I wasn’t used to sitting around on my bum all day and I certainly wasn’t used to eating daily, but somehow when I started working in the office that’s what happened. As you can guess, it didn’t take too long for it to catch up to me.
I gained 15 pounds in a year. It was depressing. I don’t respond well to weight gain. So, I decided I was done. The weight had to go! I immediately reverted back to restrictive eating. The thing is, I worked for this company for 8 years so they knew exactly what I was doing. So one day one of the recruiters called me out. Not in a mean way, he just emphatically told me to stop and encouraged me to hire a personal trainer instead.
I decided to take his advice. So, off to 24 Hour Fitness I went. I signed up for training sessions with a trainer. During my initial appointment, the trainer was taking my measurements and I noticed a picture of another trainer hanging up. She competed in body building competitions and was super lean. So, when he asked what my goal was I quickly said that and pointed to her picture. I’ll admit, I just wanted an excuse to be super restrictive without calling negative attention to myself. He gave some spiel about how hard it would be, but I blew it off. Restrictive was my game. I knew I could do it. So, he told me there was an upcoming novice figure and body building competition. I wouldn’t be ready for the body building portion, but I could potentially do the figure. So I agreed.
Long story short, it took 4 months and 2 trainers, but I competed in the Show Me novice figure competition. I placed 5th out of 6, but hey at least I did something outside of my comfort zone! Anyway once that was over I decided I wanted to try another show. Well, my trainer said I’d need to gain some muscle! I was like sure. Even though he told me I would need to gain weight in order to do it, I wasn’t really mentally prepared. As soon as the weight started piling on, I buckled! I couldn’t hack it and switched my training goal back to weight loss.
Moral of the story, fit people (not the fake fit, I’m talking about the people who have made it their true lifestyle) are definitely hardwired differently than me. Does that mean you or I can’t accomplish our fitness goals just because we’re not wired the same? Absolutely not! But, we might need to approach it differently than someone who is fit. And, no I’m not going to simply tell you to just do it whether you want to or not…that’s not really helpful.
Tips To Help You Accomplish Your Fitness Resolutions This Year
- Figure out exactly what it is you want. It really is half the battle. If you’re not sure what you’re trying to accomplish then how do you know what you need to do to get there? This might sound like it’s common sense, but that’s not necessarily the case. The problem lies in terminology. For example, women especially often say they want to “tone up”. However, what they don’t realize is that “tone up” doesn’t actually mean make my arms stop giggling. Tone is actually how hard the muscle is. It has nothing to do with all the fat surrounding your muscles. The fat is what is giggling, not the muscle. So, if that same woman goes and looks up how to “tone up” online, she might find exercises that simply “tone” the muscle when what she needs is a fat loss plan. Resistance training will be part of that, but not the only part. Another example is the woman who wants to lose weight. She cuts her calories really low and hops on the treadmill. At first, she loses weight and is happy. Then one day her progress plateaus and she becomes discouraged and quits. She could have avoided this pitfall if she knew that eating too few calories can slow down her metabolism.
- Accountability. This is a tough one because a lot of people can’t afford to hire a personal trainer. The fact is having someone to report to will increase your odds of being successful. If a personal trainer is out of your budget, maybe check out one of the online fitness coaching programs. They’re relatively inexpensive and oftentimes come with some form of support group. Now, I will say, having an actual personal trainer will definitely get you there faster. It’s a lot harder to push yourself. Whereas if you are working with a trainer, their job is to push you past your comfort zone in a safe and controlled way. Another option is to work out with a friend. Sometimes, as long as they don’t talk too much, having someone with you is all you need to prevent yourself from skipping the last 5 minutes or stopping shy of the last few reps. You should probably find a friend who is really serious about getting into shape, and is a little competitive. Whoever you pick, just make sure it isn’t someone you know won’t push when you want to stop. I promise, there will be days you want to stop. Two days before my figure competition, I was doing one last session of cardio and my trainer had me on the treadmill. I was carb depleted and irritable. He turned up the speed on the treadmill and I slapped his hand. I immediately realized I was wrong and apologized. He just laughed it off. For the record, he didn’t turn the speed back down. Most people would just walk away from me at that point.
- Figure what time of day you actually prefer to exercise. It may take you a while, but if you experiment with your workout times overtime you’ll start to figure out what time works best for you.
- Just say NO! If someone ask you to do something during your scheduled workout time, say no. Keep in mind, if you had a trainer you wouldn’t cancel just to go a happy hour with some friends. If you did, your trainer would still charge you. Pretend you’re being charged for that missed session whether you have a trainer or not. Set up a crypto account. Every time you miss your workout, make a deposit. It’ll encourage you to be consistent, and for the times you’re not at least you’ll be earning interest.
- Whether you’re into fashion or not, buy some cute workout clothes. If you hate what you’re wearing, you’re not going to want to wear it. But, if you like it, you’re want to wear it. For some, getting dressed is half the battle. Once you’re in the workout clothes, you’re more likely to workout.
- Take various forms of measurements including progress pictures. Using measurements and progress pics in conjunction can help you determine your actual progress. For example, let’s say you’ve been on top of your workouts and diet, you feel great, but according to the scale you haven’t lost any weight. That can be very discouraging. However, what could be the case is you’ve lost fat and gained some muscle. Since muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space your weight might not go down, but you’ll be thinner. If you were using more than just the scale to track your progress you would’ve been able to capture that and the evil scale wouldn’t have killed your buzz. There are several different really great apps that you can utilize to help keep track of your progress. Download a few and figure out which one you like the best.
- To play off the last point, keep track of what you’re eating and for the ladies, keep track of your menstrual cycle. Even if your diet is healthy, you may still be overeating or eating too much sodium which will affect your weight. For the lovely ladies here, we all know our menstrual cycle can cause both our appetite and weight to increase. If you’re feeling super hungry and have gained a little bit of weight, it might help psychologically to know if you’re about to start your period. Plus, you can change your diet around your period to meet your nutritional needs better.
- Invest in a fitness tracker. I personally prefer Fitbit. I’ve had several different versions over the years and as long as it has a heart rate monitor, I love it! When Apple watches were first released, I bought one of those too, but found I actually prefer my Fitbit as a fitness tracker. Now, my husband prefers his Apple Watch and has bought several over the years. Just goes to show that preference is everything. So, figure out which you like better and use it. Also, make sure you’re continually increasing the difficulty of your daily goals. It’s a great way to push yourself especially if you’re anything like me and won’t go to bed until you’ve hit all of your numbers. I’m not sure about all the different fitness trackers, but both Fitbit & Apple Watch allow you to join in competitions with others which can also be another form of motivation. It always makes me happy when I beat someone else by a landslide in one of the Fitbit competitions.
Below you’ll find some helpful links. And, if you’re in St. Louis area, I’ve linked my former personal trainer below as well. If you’re in the market for a trainer, I can honestly say you’ll be in good hands there. Whether you train with him or one of his staff. Matt and his Wife, Angie, take pride in having a top notch team that dedicates themselves to continually learning and progressing in their field. In short, they’re awesome!