Remember how excited you were on New Year’s Day? You’re mantra was ‘New Year, New You!” And you hit the groud running; you promptly completed meal prep, packed your workout clothes and placed your gym bag by the front door. So, let’s come back to the future. Almost eight weeks have passed and if all is going according to plan, you should have begun to see significant changes in your body by now. But what if that’s not the case? Studies suggest that by February, 14 percent of new gym goers quit and by summer, 80 percent of new gym goers tend will follow suit.
I know you have an awesome excuse. If you’re on the East Coast or Midwest, go with ‘Snowpacalyse 2015!’ If you’re on the West Coast, let’s go ahead and blame the monsoons. The truth is, most people stop going to the gym for one of three reasons:
- You’re not seeing (or satisfied) with your results;
- You’ve hit a plateau;
- You’re bored (PS. If you go the gym and feel ‘bored,’ Expect reasons #1, #2 to impact you soon).
Resist the urge to re-kindle your love affair with the couch. Incorporate these 5 things into your workout instead!
Let me be frank; if you come to the gym to be cute and end your workout without breaking a sweat, you’re probably not doing it right. Everyone seems to be concerned with overtraining, when in fact, they are likely doing the opposite and that impacts success.
It’s not enough to just do some cardio or to sit on a weight lifting machine and do what feels comfortable. Short term comfort is often the opposite of long-term success, which is the ultimate comfort. Not to get all existensial on you, but to be comfortable you have to get uncomfortable. Within the context of the gym that means your exercise program should challenge you. So let’s step up the intensity of the workout!
Intensity can be achieved by lifting more weights, lifting the same weight for more sets or reps (called “volume”), decreasing rest periods, and even lifting a weight faster (only appropriate for certain exercises).
Eating is half the battle…actually, it’s 80 percent of the battle. No matter how many times you go to the gym or how intense your workout, if you don’t closely manage both the quality and quantity your caloric intake, you’re walking in quicksand. Your body needs the right amount and kind of protein, carbs, good fats and without the right combination, in the right order and times, you will not see results.
Try eating more protein, vegetables, fruits and good fats. Change out the pasta for quinoa. Choose the salmon instead of the T-bone steak. Making decisions like these will send you on your way to better results. Contrary to popular belief, the more you eat the more you benefit. Begin eating 5-6 meals a day: breakfast- snack- lunch – snack – dinner (and possible snack later depending on the time you started your day). The first meal should be within the first hour of waking up and commit to eating something sensible every 3 or so hours.
3) No Plan , No Purpose
Getting gym clothes and a membership is just a small piece of the process. Once you finally get to the gym, what do you while you’re there? Often times, the common gym goer focuses on one body part a day or just hops from machine to machine. This will not get you to where you want to be. We must assess the goal, time frame and create a level of expectation.
Focus on total body workouts that allow you to target all your muscle groups every time you workout. Also, step away from weight machines until you get into the toning/ leaning phase of the program and focus on more functional movements like squats, push ups , jumping jacks , and mountain climbers. Here’s a quick set up I learned when I first started training and with progress you can grow out of this template :
- Cardio exercise (burpees, jumping jacks etc)
- Upper body (push ups , hand walks, etc)
- Lower body ( squats , lunges , etc)
- Core ( crunches , planks etc)
And repeat for 4-6 sets
4) Weight training
Whether you endeavor to gain or lose weight, every workout program must incorporate some form of weight training.
There’s a common misconception that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights…ignore that! If the weights you’re lifting aren’t making you work hard then they aren’t doing anything. If you choose not to lift heavy weights for fear of getting “too big”, please understand that lifting heavy weights will increase the strength of your muscles, so unless you have an abnormally large amount of testosterone (or steroids) in your body, it won’t increase the size of them by a large amount.
If you lift heavy weights and follow a clean, healthy diet, then your muscles will become stronger and denser, and you will burn fat resulting in the toned appearance many men and women crave.
5) Scheduling around Life
Seeing measurable change in your body is a lifestyle change; weekend warriors need not apply. So, going to the gym on weekends or a couple times a week won’t cut it. One pound of body fat= 3500 calories. The average gym goer burns about 450 calories for every hour they workout. Once you factor in food, it becomes pretty clear that it’ll take more than 2-3 lackluster trips to the gym and a few salads to reach your goal. At this point, we are 8 weeks in, no more excuses! The gym has to become a part of your lifestyle!
Structure your day to get at least 45-55 minutes to workout. Workout first thing in the morning, on lunch break or even late at night( proven to be the best time to workout) and schedule 4/5 days a week to start while keeping a controllable nutritional program that has a caloric deficit of at least 800-1000 calories off of what you would normally intake.
Don’t worry! It’s only February and we have plenty of time to reset and get it right. See you guys at the pool parties and remember … NO T- SHIRTS IN THE POOL!
In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!