Can you believe we are already three weeks into January? Now don’t freak yourself out because maybe you fell off your health and fitness journey. This is the best time to realistically evaluate where you are and how you’re moving along. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. Is your fitness goal realistic?
Whether your goal is to lose 25 pounds or to gain muscle, it is important to have an appropriate time frame. Losing 25 pounds in a month may not be the most realistic plan unless you are very disciplined or have a great coach. Now you can say your goal is to lose 25 pounds in three months. That breaks down to 8 pounds a month or 2 pounds a week.
Now you can get to work because you have a goal that is more tangible. The same goes for gaining muscle, but remember gaining muscle the right way may take a little longer than dropping weight. If your goal is to run a marathon or to lift a certain amount of weight, the same thing applies. You’re not going to run 7 miles or do 30 pushups in your first week. Make a plan, start small and push your way through it.
2. Is your goal a priority and why?
Most people make health goals for the New Year because we all acknowledge that we can look better and feel better. As a fitness professional, I’d love to say that is the perfect reason to get started. But it really isn’t. Your goal needs to be personal to you.
For example, maybe you don’t care about looking a certain way. However, changing your diet will help you manage your diabetes or cholesterol. That is personal, because if you don’t change certain habits, the repercussions can be serious. Maybe you feel sluggish throughout the day or maybe your skin condition could be improved. Diet and exercise will benefit you in those areas. My point is: Make sure your goal is something you want and need, and not what everyone else wants.
3. Are you attempting to go all in or are you easing your way in?
This question is slightly different than what I touched on in question one. From experience, I’ve heard people say they want to go to the gym every day starting Jan. 2 (after the hangover has gone away). Now if you were never a gym goer before, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Again, if you are disciplined and passionate enough, go for it. But more than half of people who set New Year’s resolutions do not follow through, which is why I am trying to help you stay on track. Start with one-two hours per week and if that is too much to commit to right now, then shoot for two half-hours.
The best way to develop a habit and a routine is to hire a coach. Most of my clients who started with me last January still train with me and will train by themselves outside their sessions. When I first met them, they never did this. Ease your way into developing the habit and as you stick to it, add more days and change your routine. The same goes for meal prepping. If cooking for seven days is too much, cook for three. I wrote a column on meal prepping last time. Use it as a reference to plan ahead.
4. Do you have a structured fitness plan to get you to your goal?
Knowing what to do in the gym is really helpful. When January hits, the gyms can be packed and most people are doing cardio, butt or core exercises, which is great. However, your body is a machine. Mix it up. Every part of your body needs to work together.
There are tons of apps and videos that can help you add variety to your exercises or help you get started. If they are hard to follow, find a professional to guide you. We wouldn’t have gotten through school if it weren’t for our professors. If good health is important to you, invest in the right people to help you get from point A to B and so on, or simply ask a friend. We all know that one person who checks into the gym hashtagging “gainz,” “no excuses,” or is posting tons of motivational quotes to get themselves and everyone around them pumped. Don’t be afraid to ask.