Following our first post about failing New Year’s resolutions featuring general advice about creating reasonable resolutions, this post talks about pitfalls to avoid and steps you can take to achieve those goals. Here are 4 tips to help you reach your fitness goals and maintain the results!
1) Don’t buy into gimmicks!!!
Here is the sad truth: the ONLY proven method of obtaining and maintaining a “better” body (whatever that means to you) is hard work, manageable dietary changes and maybe some mental changes/ attitude adjustment!!!
There is no magic tea, no juice cleanse, no ab product, no waist trainer, no cream, no pill and no app that will give you what you seek for any reasonable amount of time. Most likely the companies selling you these products are preying upon your insecurity, desperation or gullibility. They are interested in your money and are not invested in your well-being. Don’t trust testimonials or before/ after pictures. Aside from these pictures being most-likely photoshopped, they only capture a moment in time (figure competitors and fitness models, for instance, have an “off” season and those pictures are rarely ever circulated). A lot of the product testimonials you will see are scripted and for fitness programs specifically, the testees are often put on a very strict and unsustainable diet that isn’t mentioned to make you believe that their 21 day workout can completely transform your body all by itself. Unfortunately, there aren’t any magical shortcuts and each body and circumstance is different. What worked for someone else may not work for you (more about this in our next blog post).
The good news: If you build it, they will come. The results, that is. HAVE PATIENCE. When starting a new fitness program, sometimes it can take 4 to 6 weeks before your body starts showing results. I won’t even take measurements with new clients until after at least 2 weeks and I still have to explain that the graph towards body change (if there were to be such a thing, which there isn’t!) is NOT linear and there are also annoying plateaus on the way and times that you will back-track! Slow and steady wins the race, remember?
2) The way you measure makes a difference
Are you trying to lose/gain weight or are you trying to change your clothing size? If you are trying to gain muscle mass or drop pants size, measuring your progress on the scale may not be beneficial. The number on the scale may not accurately reflect progress. Try circumference measurements instead. I usually tell people to pick 3 places (often times waist, hips and thighs, but it doesn’t have to be) and make sure you measure from the same place each time and the same time of day. Also don’t measure too often (once every 2 weeks is fine). For women who are still menstruating, you may want to measure at the same time of each cycle because there will be some fluctuations due to bloating and water retention (oh they joys of not having an sRY gene!).
Now, if you are competing in a sport that involves a weight class, or you have a bet with someone at work about losing actual pounds, then by all means, measure by the scale. Just make sure you understand that there are lots of factors that affect your scale weight. You can measure more frequently as a way to experimentally determine what changes this number as long as you don’t obsess over it.
3) Feel the burn, but don’t feel burned
Failure is more likely to occur if you hate your workouts and loathe your diet. You need to be able to pick something sustainable. Remember, our bodies want to ensure our survival and if we do something that feels like death, the brain will find a way to make you “safe” again by convincing you to stop. This might be the time to recognize any emotional aversions you have towards exercise and/or emotional reliance on food. These things can be changed, but they first need to be addressed. It’s important that you enjoy your workouts and that your diet doesn’t feel like torture.
Also, good to remember, if you are doing a 30 day program (or whatever arbitrary amount of time), don’t expect your results to last longer than the program itself! Again, in order to ensure your results will stick, you need to find something you can do consistently that won’t make you burn out. Be reasonable about your time constraints, your tolerance levels and your preferences. Space out your workouts so that you can keep up a schedule.
If an exercise routine isn’t working for you, change it! If a diet isn’t working for you, try something else! It’s your life so enjoy it!
4) Don’t give up if you slip up!
Oops, you ate a piece of cake. F*** it! Now you have to eat the whole thing, right? And order some pizza! WRONG! (I mean, I’m not personally against either of those things, but if your goal is to slim down, this won’t help…)
You’re going to make mistakes, it’s human. Don’t let one slip up destroy your resolve. If you are having a really hard time, you may need to adjust your goals to be more realistic. Give yourself permission to fail and then pick yourself back up. The road to success is never linear, you are going to hit bumps or get a flat tire. Shake it off! You got this, homie!