Updated: Jan 16
We just entered into the month of resolutions. Literary everybody is setting some sort of goals for the new year. Well, there is nothing wrong with that, however, statistics never lie and show us that January is the month in which gyms are receiving the most amount of visitors. So far so good. The problem comes after a month of consistent training. Very few of all the people who decide to start something new, actually stick to it. Why is that happening? Can we do something about it? Keep reading to find out.
In my opinion, there are three major reasons that are discouraging people to stick to their goals. I will try my best to break each one of them and give you some tips on how to avoid them.
Too much, too soon.
The majority of the people that start their new year resolution, by signing up at the gym, are beginners, determined to change their lives. That's great. But the problem is that a lot of those people don’t have the education required for this job.
Very few people are going to approach a personal trainer and ask to get educated. Understandable. Personal trainers require your commitment for which you pay extra cash, without seeing immediate results. It is not like buying the new Play Station 5 and immersing yourself in better graphics straight away. Anyway, that is a topic for another blog.
Most people are going to choose to follow their favorite youtube or Instagram influencer workout or take advantage of all the free classes available at the gym. Here comes the problem.
All those classes are cardio-based. They are designed to make you feel completely exhausted. Coaches are competing with each other, who is going to come up with a more brutal sequence of exercises, which for some reason seems attractive to many people.
Funny enough the retention rate of all the people that enjoyed the feeling of almost vomiting, is no longer than a month. Why? Well, they burn out. They feel tired, they stop seeing results, and the only way to keep the progress going is to caffeinate themselves and attempt more classes. Not a very sustainable approach, right? Therefore their motivation is crushed after a month and they conclude that fitness is not for them.
There is a very common belief that the harder you push the better results you are going to get. That, combined with the initial motivation to change your life this year is a perfect result for burnout.
People never drove a car in their life, all of a sudden start driving 100 miles an hour. How long until they crash? Usually a month or two at max. No wonder they decide that driving is not for them.
The best way to avoid crashing or burnout, besides hiring a knowledgeable coach, is to take it easy and adjust your expectations.
Don’t expect to speed up to 100 and keep it this way forever.
Set a small goal, let’s say reaching 20 miles, and become 100% confident driving with. Then increase the speed to 30 and take the time to adapt to the changes.
In other words, pick basic exercises and make sure you practice the skill. Don’t just put a heavy bar on your shoulders and try to squat. Take only the bar and make sure you learn that movement to a T. When you feel confident that your form is good and you can handle the bar, then put some weight on it.
This way you are not only going to have so much room for improvement but also avoid burning out.
This approach is called progressive overload. It implies progressively loading the body, appropriately, while giving it enough time to recover. This is a very simple recipe for keeping the motivation throughout the entire year, progressing, and seeing constant changes.
Find an activity that you enjoy doing
An Inferior program done consistently is greater than a superior one, done inconsistently.
FitLifeBlueprints has never been, nor will ever be promoting only weight lifting. We are all about movement and activity.
Sure, the beauty of exercising at the gym is that it can be adapted to all ages and needs, but it is not the only type of activity that exists.
Often gym is promoted as the magic pill for getting in shape. Yes, it is a very effective tool for building lean muscles, burning body fats, building a roaring metabolism that allows one to eat more while staying in a good shape, but again, it is not the only way to do so.
Try it and if it’s not for you, find something else that suits your preferences.
I will give you a perfect example.
My girlfriend does not enjoy being in the gym. The environment is not pleasant for her. The type of activity is not her one. However, she enjoys yoga and pilates. She finds it more fun and therefore easier to be consistent with. But that’s, not the only thing she enjoys. She tried bouldering with me and, even though it is not something that excites her as much as it excites me, she finds it fun and challenging. So recently she find herself practicing bouldering as well. Swimming is another one. She loves going once or twice a week to the pool and swimming for half an hour. It makes her feel good, it energizes her and keeps her body moving.
The point that I am trying to make is that you can get in shape and stay fit by enjoying all kinds of activities. Dancing, hiking, yoga, rope skipping, swimming, etc… Whatever it is, make sure you don’t only do it for the sake of getting in shape, but for the positive impact that it has on your life.
Many people relate exercising or practicing movement only with, how that will make them look. In reality, the positive impact of regular activity on our life is far more meaningful than just looking good.
Funny enough, bodybuilders, that represent the benefits of working out in the gym, have one of the worst dysfunctions when it comes to eating and exercising. Sure, they represent the extremity of the sport which means that very few of the people that decide to take this path will actually go that far.
This proves the point that focusing only on the way we look is not going to be as impactful and if we focus on health, we will get much more.
In other words, if we only focus on appearance, we might even lack health. But if we focus on health first, the appearance will come as a side effect. Fit and healthy. What else could you possibly want?
Educate yourself towards food
Yes, food. I cannot write something without mentioning food. Of course, I have a reason for that.
Food, as we know, has been and will always be an essential part of our life. We cannot survive long without it. But, having it in excess or should I say having the food that is not meant to enter our body, will not necessarily kill us, but I can argue that it won’t contribute to longevity either.
I am not talking about restricting and becoming a health fanatic. That is a disfunction in itself. When I say educate yourself towards food I refer to learning more about how it works and value it not only for its taste.
I have said it many times and I will repeat myself.
We live in a world of extreme accessibility to food. We have learned to value the food we eat more for its taste, rather than what it is meant to give us.
Without going into too many details, food is the fuel and the building block for our body. We need it to move, but we also need it to heal, and function as we should.
That does not mean to ignore the taste and eat the very same, chicken breast, rice, and broccoli every day. There are thousands of recipes that we can try. The goal is to learn what our body gets from food and to try to give it to it. Once we know that, we can experiment with flavors, spices, herbs, ways to cook the food and enjoy the taste as well.
But if we only focus on taste, we tend to gravitate to all the foods that are designed to give us instant happiness, such as fast food, processed food, snacks, foods that have not much nutritional value, but only calories.
OK, How does that help us with being consistent with our goals?
Very simple. In my experience, when someone, wants to lose weight, the first thing they do is to cut calories. Sure, this will initiate the weight loss process, but it won’t be for very long. As I mentioned above, food gives us not only calories but all the building blocks that we need to recover and substitute the training.
Instead of cutting calories, you can add more protein to your diet which will help promote tissue recovery and building. You can also add more green vegetables to improve gut health and help your body process the food easier and more effectively.
Once you have established a good relationship with food, you can then start manipulating calories, increasing or decreasing nutrients that will match better with your goals. If you really want to take your goals seriously and make real changes, the best approach is to first educate yourself on how food works and then start manipulating it.
Taking decisions that are based on motivation, insecurities, and social pressure is totally normal. We are only humans after all. But knowing how to approach the new directions that we take in life is essential for the success of our goals. Fast results are not sustainable. This is the main reason why many people start very motivated in January and drop off after a month or two. Take it slow and steady, do it the right way and you will not only going to stick to your goals but also see consistent results. Good luck!
Check out Episode 22 of Fit Life Radio to learn more in-depth about How To Stay Consistent All Year Round: