Fitness Resolutions, Are You Ready to Fail?

Are you someone who makes New Year’s resolutions? How did your resolutions work out last year? The year before? Did you know that between 73-80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. That’s a pretty astounding failure rate. We all believe we can change (which is good, because we can) and the new year tempts us with a fresh start, but when it comes down to it, we just can’t seem to make our goals a reality. Here’s a little bit of why you might be failing and some guidance on attaining those resolutions.

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  • Your resolutions aren’t specific. “I’m going to lose weight.” should be, “I’m going to lose 10lbs.” “I’m going to eat healthier.” needs to be, “I’m going to eat 5 serving of fruits and vegetables every day.” If you don’t make the goal specific, you won’t know what precisely to do to attain it.
  • Your resolutions aren’t timed appropriately. One of two things typically happens time-wise with your goals. Either you don’t set a time limit or you set an unrealistic one. If you don’t set a time limit (given that most of us are procrastinators) it’s just not going to happen. The other time issue is that you set your time limit too short. The time you set has to be realistic. No, losing 30lbs in two weeks is not going to happen. You’re not going to achieve that beach body in four weeks. You aren’t going to run that marathon in two months if you haven’t started training yet. Not only will not reaching the goal make you feel badly about yourself, but you may very well get injured in the process.
  • You’re out of the gate too fast. This goes along with not allowing yourself a realistic time to reach your goals. You push too hard, too fast, crash and burn mentally and/or physically. Allow yourself time to start slowly and plan a gradual increase in intensity or volume as your body and/or mind are ready.
  • You grasp at anything promising a shortcut. “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills. Success is never instant no matter what the ads say. Change takes time and sustainable change takes more time. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true. (I have more platitudes, but I’ll spare you.) Stay away from the hype of quick solutions and commit to the journey.

If you want to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, don’t fall into the traps that make so many others fail. Get specific, time it right, avoid going out at an unsustainable rate, and stay away from gimmicks.

Good luck and happy new year.

Run a Simulation for Success

I’m currently reading Mind Hacking by Sir John Hargrave. In essence, the book is about how to change behaviors. One of the concepts that he discusses is the idea of running simulations of your future plans. Now, in the past, I’ve read research that’s shown that those who have a clear plan for the future have a better chance of attaining it than those who do not. Additionally, those that write those plans down have a better chance of attaining them than those that just keep them in their head. Now, Hargrave has cited research that shows that individuals that run simulations as to how they are going to achieve their goals, are the most successful.296D0E66-F203-4F6C-A115-4A84FF7EC0BDSo, what does it mean to run simulations? Imagine mapping out how you intend on reaching your goals from beginning to end. Now, you write out everything you can think of that could throw a monkey-wrench into your plan. A simulation is the addition of those stumbling blocks AND the solutions to deal with them and still keep you on course to attain your goals.

Start simulations with things that have happened in the past, so you know they could happen again in the future. Let’s say you plan out what days and times you are going to head to the gym to work out. Ask yourself what would happen if a deadline for a project is coming up and you’re going to have to stay late to work on it. This is going to knock out the evenings that you were planning to go to the gym. You have, however, thought this possibility through. You have a contingency plan. You get up an hour earlier in the morning and fit your workouts in before work. (as an example) The important idea is to not be reactionary. Don’t wait until something happens and then try to figure it out.

For maximum chances of success, have clear, specific goals in mind. Write them down. Write down how you intend on reaching them. Think of possible obstacles. Run simulations. Come up with contingencies and continue your progress in spite of those things that pop up to challenge you. You will even feel more confident in your ability to reach your goals.

Good luck!

 

“I Don’t Need Help. Why, Back in My Day…”

A man’s pride can be his downfall, and he needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance. – Bear Grylls

Older men are the worst (I know because I am one.) We’ve had at least half a lifetime’s worth of experience and we believe that means that we know stuff.

Well, we do know stuff, but often times not as much as we think we do. It turns out that sometimes what we think we know, we remember incorrectly. Other times what we believed was “The way” to do something has since been proven to be ineffective or even harmful. Have you ever found yourself saying, “Back in my day…”? I do fairly often, but it’s not to show expertise. I discovered early on that if I relied on what I learned when I was younger, I would have found myself left behind in the world. Now, when I use, “back in my day” it’s to illustrate how far off the mark we were.

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Old-time bodybuilding champion and Nautilus pitch man, Casey Viator

In example, “Back in my day, we used a Nautilus machine circuit as a major part of our strength workouts for college football.” True story. While it might have done a fine job at building muscle, we now know that machine-based strength training programs do not have the best carry over to sports performance.

 

What myths and fallacies are you hanging on to? Are you putting in a lot of time training your abs to lose the fat around your waist? (There is no spot reducing. Sorry.) Are you putting in lots of time on cardio to lose weight? (It’s not the most effective way to take off the fat.) Are you doing yoga and avoiding weight training so you will build longer, leaner muscles? (Muscles don’t build longer, and getting leaner results from the right caloric balance.)

There’s also the issue of what you were training for back then. The goals of the past may not be what you want from your training now. I used to train for strength and power. That was when I was playing football. Now, my goals are different and my training reflects that.

The point I’m trying to make is that “back in my day” information may be a day too late (or, more likely, years too late.).

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“I can feel it working!”

Don’t take the chance that what you “knew” back then, still holds true and don’t let your pride or ego keep you from asking for help. Find a certified, experienced personal trainer to help make sure your training program is one that is based on the most current scientific evidence and is specifically created to meet your individual needs.