This year, as is often the case, two of the top five new year’s resolutions relate to fitness and health: #1 is to lose weight, and #5 is to “stay fit and healthy.” Statistics show that only eight percent of us are successful in achieving our new year’s resolution, and a recent UK survey says that Friday, Jan 24, will be “fail Friday” for many new years resolution makers – it’s the day by which most of us are likely to break our pledge. So why are resolutions such a bust, and what can you do to buck the trend?
The team at Advanced Ortho has three words for you this January: Don’t overdo it.
“One of the biggest reasons we don’t achieve our fitness goals – in January or any time of year – is being unrealistic about our goals or abilities and over-training in the first few days,” says Dr. John Papillion. “There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself, and you should expect to be sore when starting a new exercise routine, but not to the point where you can’t get through your daily activities.”
Many of us have experienced the regret of overdoing it, followed by a couple of days of difficulty sitting and standing or even raising our arms above our head. It’s no wonder people fall off the workout wagon after that kind of recovery! Don’t let this happen to you. Follow these three tips to keep your resolution and your momentum intact:
1. START SLOW: Begin with moderate weight and reasonable reps. It may feel easy, but you will feel the impact the next day if the program is new to you. It’s just like the uncomfortable feeling of eating too much or too fast. Pace yourself. You can always add more [weight, intensity, or reps], but you can’t undo them once they are done.
2. TAKE TURNS: Rotate your emphasis. If you run one day, try biking or swimming the next. When strength training, pair complementary muscle groups and establish a rotation that gives each muscle group an off day between workouts. For example, train chest and shoulders one day, core and back another day, and legs and glutes the next day.
3. FEED YOUR SUCCESS: For many people, a new fitness routine is a means to a very important end: weight loss. And exercise goals are often paired with new diets and calorie restrictions. Healthy eating and calorie moderation are always a good idea, but remember a new workout routine means new energy demands on your body. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after your exercise, and plan for a healthy post-workout snack within 30 minutes of completing your routine. Don’t be tempted to skip the snack or a meal. Depriving your body after a workout will only slow your recovery and lead to less healthy eating choices later in the day.
Realistic goals and reasonable plans give you a real chance of success. Find your own pace and plan your confidence-building “celebration Saturday” while leaving Fail Friday, and your bad habits, behind.