Can you believe it’s almost the New Year? Again? Every December, I find myself commenting on how time seems to be moving too fast, especially as I look at my children who are growing taller and more independent each day. When you’re busy and active, I find that days and months start to blend together, and then all of a sudden you realize – ‘wow, it’s the holidays already!’ Before you know it, the year is almost finished.
The holiday season is often a time for reflection, looking at what has happened during the year, being thankful for the goals you have achieved or assessing how you can improve. January 1st can bring a sense of a new start, a clean slate, a chance to make a promise to drop bad habits and begin a new journey toward improvement. This week, I’m sharing my theories on how you can make your New Year’s resolution last more than a week.
Traditionally, the focus of the New Year is on improved health through better nutrition and weight loss goals. I think this is for two main reasons:
· Unless you have the willpower of a saint, it’s likely the holiday season will give you the gift of a few extra pounds from overeating
· Or, you may have struggled to control your weight and energy levels throughout the year
As fitness expert, January can be the most exciting month but it is also a bittersweet month because so often people’s good intentions only last for a few weeks. This worries me because yoyo dieting and on-again-off-again exercise habits can play havoc with your long-term nutrition and fitness plans.
I want to stop the cycle right now, so I’ve identified three exercise personalities. Take a look and decide which personality group you fall into – or maybe you’re a combination of all three? Be honest with yourself, but this is just for fun and I hope that the names will make you smile!
Are you excited and enthusiastic about starting a new routine? Do you work so hard on the first day and the second day, that by day three you can barely move? By the end of the week, are you hobbling because you go at everything full throttle?
I love the positivity of the Martini Exerciser personality – you’re so positive it’s refreshing. But if you’re using ice to soothe your joints instead of clinking in your glass then you may be approaching exercise with a little too much enthusiasm.
If you’re a Martini Exerciser, you tend to jump in with both feet but soon drop out because either you don’t have the staying power or you continue at a break-neck pace until injury or common sense finally makes you quit. But I know you’ll be full of energy and ready to go again soon.
Do you make sure you have the right equipment for every activity? Do you make sure you have a cute outfit for every activity too?
As a Fashion Exerciser you’re always armed with the latest gadgets and equipment. Proudly showing off your pristine new gym membership, you feel great swiping your card and sauntering into the gym.
You get into a rhythm and you’re looking forward to revealing a more toned, more energetic you, but life takes over and your visits become less frequent or non-existent. This cycle is one that may repeat throughout the year, especially as the season’s change. Unfortunately buying more new gym gear as an incentive to go remains only a short-term fix.
Are you desperate to change but worried you won’t manage it? Do you always have a reason why now isn’t the right time to make a start?
A Caterpillar Exerciser is desperate to change but is afraid of failure. You’ll sit and plan but won’t actually jump out of your comfort cocoon. Every Monday you claim that this is the week you’ll finally start, but by mid-afternoon you have an excuse and you’ve decided next week would be a much better time to start exercising.
Your excuses range from the weather, to family commitments or just feeling too tired. If you’re a Caterpillar Exerciser then I bet you dream of being a butterfly but previous failures have left you uncomfortable to even start.
Did you find an exercise personality that fits your approach to fitness? Did something in there make you think – ‘yep, I do a little bit of that?’ Many people are a combination of all three exercise personalities at different points in their lives. But now that you’ve decided on your exercise personality, you can make a plan toward being successful. The tips are pretty simple, almost obvious in fact, but sometimes it’s the simple approach that works best.
You need to pace yourself. Try to train smart, not hard and make a plan to work out for only two days a week and progress from there. During your first month, train at about an intensity level of about five or six out of ten and then increase your intensity in small steps. This will keep you motivated and help you to stay on track. Your excitement and enthusiasm is a gift that can lead to incredible success, if you set a clear goal and a plan that builds up as you gain strength, stamina and energy.
Your personality generally needs to be kept accountable. By enlisting a friend to meet you or by signing up for a specific six week set of classes you will get past the first few weeks – the time most people find it easiest to quit or flutter to a different regime style. Only use your fashion addiction to reward yourself for actually following through because getting a new top or the latest gadget should be a reward and not a bribe!
With your exercise personality, you’ll achieve the best results by joining a group – find a walking group, a weight-loss group or ask a friend to be your success buddy. If you ask a co-worker who loves being active to help you take the first step, then the next steps will come naturally. I promise that the first step is always the hardest but within no time the feeling that comes with achievement will have you finding your butterfly wings.
I am here to help you achieve your goals, make you smile and keep you on the right track to become the best you can possibly be! Leave me a comment and tell me which exercise personality you relate to most.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.