We've gotten through the first few of months of 2017, so let me ask you…Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to get fit? Lose weight? Gain muscle? How are you doing so far??
You're probably to the point that you're tired; tired of dealing with the crowds at the gym, or you're just not losing the weight! Well, I'm here to get you back on that horse! Here's a few tips to get you back in the game:
1. SET/RE-ENGAGE YOUR GOALS
Did you start off way too hard? Maybe you went into full-on beast mode from the get-go and it made the gym seem more like a torture chamber than it should be. Here's how to re-engage: When you initially started, what were your goals? Did you try to reach for that goal a little too quickly? Slow down there, killer!! Rome wasn't built in a day!
Like everyone, I had a first day at the gym. It was a little embarrassing being the newbie at the gym because even though I was 111 lbs., I was not in shape. I could not run .25 miles on the treadmill without having to stop and walk. In order to graduate from basic training, I needed to be able to run 2 miles in 21 minutes or better. So my overall goal was to be able to run a 10-minute mile (6 mph) before I shipped off to basic. I knew I could not run that fast right away, I had to take baby steps to get there. My first goal was to be able to run .25 miles without having to stop and walk. Once I met that goal, I moved it up to .50 miles, and kept increasing it by .25 miles until I could run the full 2 miles. Eventually, I could run the entire 2 miles at 5.3 mph. No, it wasn't fast enough, but it was progress. After setting those small goals, I eventually got to where I can run a 10 min mile...even better, I could run faster than that!
Your goals should be “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. You want to go in with a plan. Know what you want to achieve and make sure it has a value (i.e.: I want to be able to bench press 200 lbs.). You can't do it right away, so you have to start small and work your way up. Also, ask yourself if you CAN even lift 200 lbs. Don't try to do it if you have an injury or anything else that can hinder you from lifting that amount. Give yourself at least 2 weeks before you “graduate” up another 10 lbs. The bottom line is, don't start too hard at first, you'll burn yourself out very quickly!
2. THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE
Oh, that darn number!!!! It can make or break your motivation! You may have noticed you lost a lot of weight at first, then all of a sudden, no matter how hard you work, your weight loss slowed down significantly, or just stopped all together. Then people are like, “Nope, it's not working anymore!”
Let me ask you this: How are your clothes fitting? Do you see visible evidence of weight loss NOT on the scale? Did you take measurements? There's a saying out there, “Muscle weighs more than fat”. While I don't really agree with that saying, I feel obligated to clarify. We all know that 5 lbs. are 5 lbs. But it takes less muscle to make 5 lbs., and more fat to make 5 lbs. Think of it as 20 lbs. of rocks vs 20 lbs. of feathers. It's not going to take that many rocks to make 20 lbs., so think of the rocks as muscle. It's going to take more feathers than the rocks to make 20 lbs., the feathers are the fat. So you could be losing fat while gaining muscle, and that's why the scale isn't moving.
3. THE DIET ISN'T GOING SO WELL
I hate when people use the term “diet” as temporary. A diet is never temporary. A diet is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”. Let’s stick to that meaning. You probably went from eating fast food to trying to meal prep. Again, let’s go back to the SMART goals! You went from one habit to another and face it, old habits die hard! Let me help you make the transition a little bit easier.
I love me some tacos! Hamburgers, spaghetti, etc.! You don't have to give those things up, just find healthier alternatives. For the taco meat and burgers, use ground turkey. Taco shell, use whole wheat tortillas. Same with hamburger buns, whole wheat! Spaghetti, I have recently discovered spaghetti squash and love it! Or instead of using regular pasta, go whole wheat or quinoa noodles. Ditch the vegetable and canola oil, go for olive oil. These small changes will take some getting used to, but you'll still enjoy your meal!
Think of your body as a car. It runs more efficient on quality fuel...so does your body. Feed it well and it will do you well. And your car takes you further on a full tank of gas, so do not deprive yourself. Most people think starving themselves is the way to go, but it's not. You'll only mess up your metabolism, so fuel yourself! Make healthy eating a lifestyle. And it's okay to be “bad” once in a while, as long as you get back on track! I like to enjoy a big, greasy burger from Five Guys every now and then!
4. BUT IT'S TOO “PEOPLEY”
I hear you on that. At the gym, it's a struggle even us gym rats go through in January. We have to zig-zag around a crowd of people, you think you're in a mosh pit! It's probably safe to return! Most of the New Year’s crowd dies down towards the end of January (and you better not be one of them!!!!). As much as we would like to see people keep going, it's the reality of the situation. We know a lot of people are not in it for the long haul. So look at it as their loss is your gain! Besides, you still got your “resting gym face”, put it to good use!
5. BUT I DON'T LOOK FIT
Who cares? We all have to start somewhere! It's a struggle that anyone of any shape and size go through. I've heard people say they didn't want to be the fat person at the gym, they were afraid of getting judged by all the fit people. Think of it this way, maybe some of those fit people used to be the fat person. Or that big-muscled guy over there, he was probably a skinny looking kid that got tired of everyone telling him he needs to go eat a cheeseburger! The gym is there for a reason, it's there FOR YOU!!
If anyone judges you for not being fit, then they are a douchebag! Showing up to the gym means you're putting forth effort. Don't let a few shady people throw a wrench into your goals. Fitness is not just a physical challenge, it's also a mental one. You have to mentally prepare yourself for anything that comes your way. You're going to have haters, nay-sayers, the negative voice in your head telling you “you can’t” ...you have to overcome all of those.
STAY IN THE FIGHT!!!!!!!!!