How to make and keep smart fitness resolutions
Plan, progress -- and repeat
The best fitness resolution that will work for you this year is one that you will do consistently. The bottom line is that the best way to make the fitness gains you want is to be honest with yourself when thinking about frequency, intensity, the types of training you will undertake and the fitness goals you are hoping to achieve. There are many reasons that people have not been able to adhere to an exercise program, read on to see if they sound familiar:
Not getting results? One of the most common reasons people find it hard to stick to their fitness-related resolutions is because they aren’t seeing the results they want even though they are sticking to their program 100 percent. You may make a goal to “lose weight” but often times this goal can be a misnomer. Skeletal muscle tissue is more dense than fatty tissue, so as a person exercises, they may gain muscle mass while losing fat mass resulting in either slower weight loss, or even weight gain in some cases. Instead of making resolutions based off of simple weight, make your goals based off of values like decreasing body fat percentage, clothing sizes, or create an exercise benchmark like completing a half marathon or improving a competitive score.
Unrealistic timing. Another reason people might not shed the pounds or make other physical changes as quickly as they would like (and often times quit their program early) is because scientific research shows it can take as much as six weeks for your body to start making adaptations to your exercise program at the cellular level. It is at this point where dramatic changes in your metabolism, blood flow, and exercise capacity take place and fitness gains will begin to develop, so stick with your program for 6-8 weeks before making any major alterations to your program. Your body needs time to adapt to your new habit of maintaining a physically active lifestyle. Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and other organizations recommend a weight loss rate of two pounds per week for individuals that are not under medically supervised weight-loss programs.
Adjust Your Schedule! One of the main reasons you may find it difficult to adopt a physically active lifestyle is because you have a hard time fitting it into your schedule of other daily activities. Avoid this is by making physical activity as important of a commitment as a shift at work, dropping the kids off at practice or going grocery shopping. You may find it easier to wake up an hour earlier and exercise before heading off to work. By making it the first item on your daily to-do list, not only do you boost your energy higher than a double shot of espresso, but you no longer have to worry about having enough energy to work out at the end of a long day. When it comes to which time of day is ideal, the scientific research is currently inconclusive, so go with what works best for you. Pick a time and stick to it.
Take Small Steps. Lastly, do not take on more than you can handle. Make small steps and gradually build your program. Not only will it be easier to comply with your program, but you’ll be less likely to injure yourself. Remember that exercise does not follow an all-or-nothing principal. Even the smallest of workouts is better than nothing, so don’t give up an entire week’s worth of training because of one bad day.
You must have complete buy-in from yourself with your fitness program. If you’re not giving it an honest effort, reassess and try to find the reasoning behind your lack of dedication. Usually one of the three main reasons listed above is halting your progress, so try to apply the principles given. If you think you need help, speak with a fitness professional and try to rework your program in a way that will better serve your needs and abilities. And remember that some exercise is always better than none, so if your schedule is full, start with 15 minutes of consistent physical activity and work your way up. Plan, progress and repeat!