As a fitness professional, this is one of the scariest times of the year. The New Year Resolutions, the sales and contract specials from the big gyms, the weight loss center specials, the well intentioned loved ones that give big beautiful home exercise equipment pieces. The list can go on, but what the point is…there is a lot of confusion in the health and fitness industry at this time of year all geared to prey on your post Christmas insecurities and resolutions.
Here are a few of the biggest problems I see every January, and as a professional that cares about you, helping you get healthy and supporting you on the journey to achieving your health and fitness goals why I see them as problems.
Making drastic changes and stepping too far outside of their comfort zones
Your habits are with you for a life-time, both the good ones and the bad. Making changes and developing new behaviours takes time. If you love wine and are told you can NEVER have wine again, you will probably hit the bottle hard. If you have never exercised and you try to exercise 6 days a week for 60 minutes…. you are going to give it up. The good news is that small, easy changes over time can make a HUGE difference in your health, your fitness and your body. They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. So, combine breaking a bad habit with starting a good one, one day at a time.
Starting a diet in January (Resolution)
Resolutions don’t work. It’s a running joke in society, “When will I break my New Year Resolution?” Real measurable and attainable goals work. No matter how Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig tries to position their products, they are still putting people on calorie restrictive diets. Some programs sell a 30 day “cleanse” where you drink shakes instead of eating meals (cutting calories). When you take in fewer calories than your body needs to maintain metabolism, you lose weight. The weight that you lose is water, some fat…. and a lot of muscle. You WILL lose weight in the short-term But, doing this is a sure-fire guarantee that you will slow your metabolism. That will make your body BETTER at storing fat and regaining weight. Not exactly what you want for the long run. It has nothing to do with willpower; it’s biochemistry. The solution is to learn to eat meals that are supportive of fast metabolism and contain adequate nutrients (and calories) to maintain muscle and encourage fat RELEASE.
Excessive cardio is not the answer
Just like cutting carbs or calories MIGHT result in short-term weight loss, relying on aerobic exercise/cardio MIGHT result in weight loss. It WILL, however, result in a less efficient metabolism and a body that is actually better at storing fat. Believe it or not, too much aerobic exercise can make you fat! The solution is a combination of muscle-building and endurance exercise that will result in an enhanced metabolism, stronger bones, less body fat, improved blood flow, and enhanced energy. That’s how my boot camp program is designed.
People will rely on supplements and chemical compounds
Supplements will never be a solution!
You know this – Fat burners don’t burn fat. Muscle builders don’t build muscle. In fact, MOST, supplements don’t do what they are advertised to do. Supplements should always be seen as being, “in addition to”. In other words, they should be “supplemental”. Supplemental to the right nutrition and exercise regimen. For long-lasting, safe and effective results, learn how to speed your metabolism by eating “right” and adding some lean muscle to your body.
Over training or Bad training
In January, people tend to hit the gym…Hard. Motivation is high at this point. Optimism is also high. The programs and plans that people take on are usually not sustainable and soreness, lack of progress, injury and loss of motivation result in missed workout days and finally abandoning the effort all together. Bad training refers to the people who are motivated and excited, (with all the best of good intentions), to “REALLY change this year”, and they are determined to do it with the latest gimmick, potion, lotion or trick. The good news is that the basics work. ALWAYS. All you need to do is to challenge your body in ways that it isn’t used to so that it has to adapt (by getting stronger and fitter).
Cutting the carbs
So many of the foods that are considered carbs are really not carbs anymore. They have become essentially “non-foods”/boxed foods that make up nearly half of our consumer food sales. Real carbs are also not the enemy! Processed carbs, food ‘products’ and garbage calories are the enemy. With that said, natural carbohydrates, including fibers and natural starches, can prove to be the body’s premier energy supply. Eat real food – it is that simple! Rule of thumb…if you can’t pronounce it, or recognize what the original food used to make the product was…don’t put it in your mouth!
Health and fitness can not be an event generated solution. It can’t be a half in decision. It can never be achieved by taking short-cuts. Health and fitness is a choice for a better life. It is a decision made for wholesome changes and it is the beginning of an incredible journey that never ends!
So make a resolution do over…resolve to set goals that make a difference for a lifetime…not a month.