90% of people quit after 3 months of hitting the gym. Here’s how to be the exception and how to get the results you want.
For the last 11 years, I’ve enjoyed helping people change their lifestyle and get in great shape, it’s my passion and purpose. I have a degree in exercise science from ETSU and certification through the NSCA. As a former gym owner and current personal trainer at Lifestyles Fitness, I know all too well that the enthusiasm people have at the start of a new year can be short-lived.
One reason for this is people wanting instant results. They are bombarded with thousands of pills, potions, and powders, diets, and workout programs that promise to get them fit fast. None of it is sustainable. To get the results you want you must know yourself and your opponents, come up with a game plan, put that plan into action, and finally, and most important, following through.
1. Know Yourself and Your Opponents
The first step to overcoming this battle is knowing yourself and knowing what you are up against.
You have to recognize that you have a problem. Realize that you have a negative wellness pattern, such as smoking, poor nutrition, too little exercise, lacking time, energy, or commitment to make the change.
Use the acronym FISHHOC. Family history, impaired fasting glucose, sedentary lifestyle, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and cigarette smoking. These are all risk factors for developing coronary artery disease and you should know if you’re at risk.
Most people struggle with having a busy schedule, having kids, no motivation, not knowing what you should or should not eat, not having a solid support group, not having a facility and backup location to workout. The list goes on and on.
When a sports team wants to defeat their rivals, the coaches and players study their opponents every move. They learn their strengths and weakness. You should know yours! Once you know what you are up against you can come up with a solid game plan.
2. Come up with a game plan
Someone who wants to gain and maintain wealth hires a financial advisor. A person who wants to gain and maintain health hires a personal trainer.
Hire a professional to help you come up with a game plan or at least set up a consultation. Publicly state your desire to change. Set realistic goals.
A personal trainer is not a dietician but for apparently healthy individuals, among other things, they will help you break down exactly how many grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat you should have in your diet. They will also do a fitness assessment to help get a baseline of what you can and can’t do.
For example, 3 min step-up test, push-up test, sit-up test, and a one-mile walk. They will also do a body diagnostic. Taking measurements like hip to waist ratio, body fat %, and recording your weight are especially important. Take before pictures of your body front, back, and side to help keep you motivated. It’s great to look better and feel better about yourself but the numbers don’t lie.
Set realistic goals and objectives. Your fitness goals and objectives should be both achievable for you and in line with what you genuinely want. Achievable, truly desired goals increase motivation, and this, in turn, leads to a better chance of success at the behavior change.
To set specific goals try using the acronym SMART. Specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-oriented.
A vague goal would be “Get into better shape by exercising more”. A specific goal would be “Start lifting weights with a personal trainer”. Measurable: “Increase the amount of weight I can lift”. Action-oriented: “I ‘ll go to the gym three days per week”. Realistic: “I’ll have a weight loss of 10 % in the next 6 months”. Time oriented: “I’ll work with a personal trainer for 3 months then reassess.” Having no plan is a plan to fail.
3. Put the plan into action
You must do it. No one is going to do it for you.
You have to meal prep. To show up for workouts. You must eat healthier. You must decide that you are going to live a more physically active lifestyle.
I know it’s hard to commit to that decision but ask yourself what a more active lifestyle would mean to you and write out your commitment statement. Write out a list of reasons to commit to fitness. Look at this list regularly until your new mindset becomes routine.
Remember that commitment to a new lifestyle takes perseverance.
Whenever you find your commitment slacking, reread your personal commitment statement and remind yourself of the reasons you started working out in the first place. Make time to exercise. Making time to exercise means making it a priority in your life and rearranging your schedule accordingly.
To successfully stick with a fitness program, you need to prioritize exercise the same way that you prioritize a business meeting or an important appointment. Schedule your exercise sessions into your calendar/appointment book the same way you schedule time for going on a trip or going to the movies with friends. Prove to yourself that you are serious about getting fit by making the time for exercise.
4. Following Through
Knowing is half the battle and knowledge is only powerful when it’s put into action.
Following through means doing something repeatedly expecting great results. This is where hiring a personal trainer to hold you accountable is very advantageous.
My clients that really want great results send me 3 picture messages of their meals a day. Being accountable to someone will keep you on track. This is not to say you will never fall or relapse into old habits.
Following through requires vigilance, attention to detail, and a long-term commitment.
Common causes of relapse include overconfidence, daily temptations, stress, or even emotional distractions, and putting yourself down. It’s important to guard against relapse by getting help from a support group or personal trainer.
If you’re new to exercising set up a reward system for yourself. Reward yourself with a new wardrobe. Wear it to a celebratory dinner to the admiration and praise of your friends or fitness instructor.
Another way to help you follow through and counter a lack of motivation is to choose activities that you really enjoy. Take your dog for a walk, go for a bike ride, play tennis, racquetball, or golf. Sign up for a dance class, swimming laps, water aerobics, or yoga. There’s nothing more rewarding than having a clean house. Wash your car, take up gardening, go bowling.
All these fun activities will get your heart rate up and trick your mind into the flow (zone) of exercising. The goal is to get your muscles bigger faster and stronger. We want to look good but, more importantly, gain and maintain a healthy heart.
Health Is Wealth.