Like a waistband strained beyond its intended girth, gym parking lots are swollen with the consequences of holiday merrymaking. Exceeding its ‘best before date’, debauchery has morphed into healthier pursuits — at least for the time being. It won’t be long before resolution expiry dates have similarly passed.
I’m not much of a drill sergeant when it comes to training clients. I’m more of a guided discovery kind of guy. Having said that, occasionally you need to cut the sentiment and call it the way it is.
To stay the course beyond January, keep an eye out for these popular speed bumps that derail best efforts. These are the barriers that frustrate personal trainers and sabotage exercisers.
Unrealistic expectations: Invested $1,000 in hopes of doubling your money for an upcoming spring trip to Mexico? It sounds unrealistic, but somehow expecting to drop 50 pounds in the same three months doesn’t.
Stoics can realistically expect to lose one to two pounds per week. As with finance, solid, long-term planning can produce big returns. Sure, use the excitement of your trip to spur your resolve, but be realistic and invest early.
Inconsistency: If I had to pick one behavior to cultivate great results it would have to be consistency. All the knowledge in the world does little without showing up. Every workout is an opportunity to move forward.
Massage, physio, chiropractic adjustment, stretching, foam rolling, taping, etc.: Too many new exercisers schedule regular rehab as part of their ‘wellness suite’. Rehab has a place, but dropping the needle on the weigh scale isn’t its focus or outcome.
With some obvious exceptions (accidents, overuse, athletics, etc.), many are in rehab because they didn’t exercise and now their knees hurt. Embark on a course of healthy living and you won’t need rehab. If your wellness suite doesn’t include a nutritious diet and physical activity, you’re plugging a big leak with your little finger.
Injury hall pass: ‘I can’t exercise due to my bad (enter ailment here)’. Aches and pains shouldn’t set you back. Pushing through isn’t necessarily the right answer but there are always options.
We have a client who slipped on ice and showed up for her scheduled workout on the way to the hospital. (We are safely working around her broken wrist.) By the way, she’s not an elite athlete — just committed. And just for the record, a workout doesn’t trump medical attention.
Selective caloric recall: We’re pretty good at drawing attention to the salad we had for lunch, but not so good at flagging the wine and chips before bed. People who claim to eat healthy and can’t lose weight are often missing a key puzzle piece — accurate recall.
When you’re ready to drop pounds, be honest with yourself (and your trainer); no judgements.
Discomfort aversion: This may be a bad example, but you need to turn up the heat slowly or the frog will jump out of the pot. Introduce yourself to the effort of exercise over time. Those who are persistent and willing to take a little heat see results.
Social hall pass: Another fill in the blank: ‘I can’t exercise or eat healthy this week because, (enter excuse here)’. Schmoozing for work, passive leisure activities and celebrations are important, but successful people find alternatives, not excuses. Priorities receive the attention they deserve.
Broken clock: I don’t have time to exercise and prep healthy meals — I’m too busy working on my bad knees and coronary heart disease. We all have the same 24 hours. Don’t spend 16 of them in front of a screen.
Gym-phobia: Yes, gyms are scary. Either work out at home or get outside.
Beer goggles: We’ve all heard that beer goggles distort your thinking. Similarly, brightly coloured food court vegetables mask high calories, sodium and fat. Just because it’s got veggies doesn’t mean its healthy. By the way, the fleck of carrot and onion floating in the noodle bowl doesn’t constitute a serving of veg.
When you’re ready to commit to an active, healthy lifestyle learn to drive over the speed bumps. They may slow you down but they shouldn’t stop you.