Another New Year Resolutions Time Is Here…
which means that right now, millions of people are chasing after new diet and fitness goals—goals they will never reach.
The problem isn’t lack of effort or desire. It’s that most people’s New Year’s resolutions are unrealistic to begin with. But even when they pick the right targets, many folks run into pitfalls along the way—some of them painfully easy to avoid.
Discover the nine most common obstacles that stop people short of their goals, along with strategies for beating them—from some of the top fitness experts in the world.
Resolution Fail #1: Falling For a Fad
Oftentimes, a new fitness craze that promises big results in less time can cause fitness-minded folks to stall in their tracks. According to Jon Goodman, personal trainer, author and founder of fitness industry hub ThePTDC.com, newbie exercisers are especially susceptible to “the unfortunate misbelief that they are not working out the right way.” That, plus the fear that they’ll “look stupid” by not knowing the latest trends, can be enough to drive people away from gym.
Overcome It: Pretty much every workout is effective at something (activity is always better than inactivity), so don’t get caught up in the latest workout trend or worry about what others think. “Pick a workout, any workout, then put your head down and complete it,” Goodman says.
Resolution Fail #2: Doing Cardio to Drop Fat
You’ve seen these folks at the gym. They’re the ones strapped to treadmills and ellipticals, trying to sweat off pounds through cardio. The problem? “The metabolic cost of cardio adaptation is very small,” according to Dan Trink, strength coach and nutritional consultant at TrinkFitness.com. Performing the same cardio routine over and over again won’t necessarily make your body better at burning fat; it will simply make you more efficient at moving your body across the specified distance. Over time, that improved efficiency means your body will expend less energy during the activity. You’ll have to run more to get the same results.
Overcome It: Building muscle through strength training puts greater demands on your body, because a person with more muscle has a higher metabolic rate. Trink says, “Simply put, improving your cardio abilities doesn’t cost your body much—it’s cheap.” But when you hit the weights, “your body needs more energy to build muscle, which is great for fat loss, and will do more to make sure you keep that muscle.”
Resolution Fail #3: Going Cold Turkey
Swearing off sweets for life may sound like a good idea, but your strict resolve may be setting you up for failure. ”People often resolve to totally eliminate a certain food, food group or guilty pleasure, and then soon feel totally deprived,” says Pam Nisevich Bede, a sports nutritionist at Swim, Bike, Run, Eat!. And deprivation usually leads to a binge somewhere down the line.
Overcome It: Instead of foregoing your favorite indulgences, try cutting down the number of servings significantly—but still giving yourself an occasional treat. ”It’s better to set a goal of eliminating one serving of your guilty pleasure each day or week,” Bede says. Try the ”everything in moderation” approach. Another winning approach: replace unhealthy snacks with more nutritious options, like trading in your afternoon potato chip fix for peanut butter and crackers.
Resolution Fail #4: Suffering From ‘Lone Wolf’ Syndrome
Poet John Donne wrote that “no man is an island,” and when it comes to getting in shape, you’re a lot better off on the mainland. Your family and friends are a support system, one that can help boost your fitness motivation when your workouts hit a rough patch. Which is why strength coach Jim Smith of Diesel Strength & Conditioning recommends making your goals public. He says, “By engaging a support system, you can immediately be more dialed-in to your goals and be held accountable.”
Overcome It: Smith says that your fit commitment can be as simple as forming an e-mail support group or creating a page on Facebook. Be upfront about your goals, what you’re doing to pursue them, and what kind of challenges you’re running into along the way. “You’ll be surprised by how many of your friends share the same struggles,” Smith says.
Resolution Fail #5: Taking On Too Much, Too Soon
It takes time to adapt to lifestyle changes, and being a New Year’s Revolutionist—a term coined by Goodman to describe those who try to accomplish all of their goals in January —is an unrealistic way to improve your life. As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A healthier you won’t be, either. So start slow, expect progress to be gradual, and lead with your strengths. “Generally, there are aspects of your personal lifestyle that are positive and healthy. Those are the ones you should build off of,” Goodman says.
Overcome It: To help identify the positive elements in your life, Goodman suggests charting your daily habits—eating, sleeping and exercising—for three days, including one weekend day. From there, circle the habits you want to change, prioritize those changes from most to least important, and then start at the top. Move on to the next habit only after you’ve conquered the first. “Small steps,” Goodman says. “You’re in this thing for life.”
Resolution Fail #6: Not Getting Enough Sleep
Q: What improves when you get more sleep? A: Everything. When you get more sleep, your body has more energy, making it more primed to exercise and burn calories through activity. “Sleep recharges and resets your body,” Smith says. “When you don’t get the rest you need, your body is always ‘on,’ trying to help you recover. You can mask it with caffeine for awhile, but eventually, you’ll crash.”
Overcome it: Let go of those late-night habits (record Jimmy Fallon if you have to), and stay away from caffeine-packed energy drinks, especially after 3 p.m. You’ll recover faster from workouts. You’ll also have more power to overcome cravings. And you’ll feel more alert, making you more likely to make better decisions throughout the day. Check out these secrets for muscle-building sleep.
Resolution Fail #7: Creating Demands That Exceed Your Desire
Working out, eating well—these things aren’t easy. If they were, everyone would do them. So an important question to ask yourself when you’re setting goals is: How bad do you really want it? If you just want to lose a couple of pounds, set a goal to start running, but don’t say you’re going to go run a marathon. “Fitness goals—they’re not always fun,” Trink says. “Your desire has to be strong enough to exceed the difficulties you’re going to face along the way.”
Overcome It: Be realistic and laser-focused when you choose your New Year’s goal. Your objective is to not overshoot what you’re capable of doing. If you find that you’ve crushed it and want to move on to something more challenging, set a new goal for yourself after six months. Whatever you choose, you want your goal to be challenging but achievable.
Resolution Fail #8: Being Too Hard on Yourself
If you’re trying to make a life change, you’ll discover one inevitable truth: there will be days when you want to give up. You’ll probably miss a workout at some point. There will come a dinner where you have one taco too many (or several). So don’t expect perfection.
Overcome It: When a down day strikes, acknowledge that it happened, but then move on. “Everyone makes mistakes,” Smith says. “The trick is to get right back on track and keep moving forward. Our greatest successes happen when we overcome adversity.”
Resolution Fail #9: Stopping at the Finish Line
Congratulations! You’ve sworn off sugary snacks, dropped 10 pounds and added some plates to your Bench Press max. You’ve achieved your New Year’s resolutions. You’re now free to go back to normal life, right? Wrong. “The biggest problem most people have is not meeting the goal, it’s maintaining the results,” says BJ Gaddour, strength trainer and founder of StreamFIT. “You keep it going for a couple of months, but then you get unmotivated or sidetracked and fall off the wagon.”
Overcome It: According to Gaddour, when it comes to weight loss, the body’s metabolism needs at least four to six months at a new weight to have a fighting chance of keeping it. Keep in mind that your goal is not to reach a new weight one day, but to stay leaner for life. Once you’ve reached your target weight, Gaddour recommends setting a new goal or performance standard that you want to hit, like doing more Push-Ups or running a mile 10 seconds faster.
Source: Zac Clark | January 4, 2013
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