Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have five traits in common. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
I see it every year at the gym, the influx of the “resolutioners” for the month of January is huge! As February arrives the gym is noticeably quieting down and by March the gym is back to all of the regular members who are happy to have the gym to themselves again. This had me questioning, what is with the short length of motivation and quick give ups?
It didn’t take me long to find a handful of people to talk with about their previous failed resolution attempts of a healthier and more active life. The final outcome that lead to the failure, “Both feeling intimidated in the gym and not knowing what to do at the gym was the demise to the desire to continue on with the resolution.” Knowing that the intimidation factor plays a large role for most, check out these tips that you can incorporate into your workouts to take your from unsure to confident with your ability in the gym! Learning how to listen to your body to make each workout as effective as possible is key!
Follow these tips for your best and most effective workouts:
- Educate yourself on exercises: You can simply Google anything needed… “Exercises for biceps” “how to build strong legs” “how to strengthen the core” the world is at your fingertips and there are many videotaped exercises you can download to your phone or computer to watch until you perfect proper techniques and form of the exercises!!
- Stay connected to the body: Always ask yourself, what muscle group am I working? Where do I feel this? How challenging is this? What can I do to intensify?” My #1 tip for my clients is: whatever exercise you are doing, example: (a bicep curl) highlight the bicep muscle in your mind as red…. the more intense the exercise is feeling the darker red you are visualizing the muscle to be, staying connected will help you in a multitude of ways.
- Slow your movements down: Each exercise has 3 muscle contractions, ensure that all 3 muscle contractions have a tempo (timed movements) this will make your exercise more effective! One example is the shoulder press:
- Muscle contraction # 1: Pressing the dumbbells up, take 2 seconds to do a controlled press up, ensuring you have enough control to not let the dumbbells touch at the top
- Muscle contraction #2: Holding the dumbbells controlled over your head for 1 second
- Muscle contraction #3: Lowering the dumbbells down to starting position, take 2 seconds to lower, ensure once you have lowered your arms are still active and the muscles are still engaged for the next rep.
- Don’t hold your breath: Holding your breath increases your blood pressure and starves your body of the needed oxygen. The oxygen is one of your body’s fuel sources to energize you through your exercise! It’s important that you match your breath to your movement - exhale on exertion (the most challenging movement of the exercise), inhale on the less challenging movement. An important tip ** Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Practice your breathing techniques throughout the day so it becomes more natural for you when you’re working out. The bonus of the breathing exercises - you will feel much more relaxed and stress free during your day!
- Keep the core engaged: Visualize squeezing your belly button to your spine and press up. It’s pretty simple to do but challenging to remember to do when you are working out, especially when you are focused on proper techniques of your exercise. Practice throughout the day, find 2 activities you do regularly during the day to do this. My favorite times, sitting at a red light in the car or during my phone calls.
- Mind over matter: Your mind is stronger than your body, if you are thinking negative thoughts such as: I can’t do this; I’m not good at this, my muscles hurt, I’m tired" - Our body will follow the thoughts and give up! Use power thoughts instead that keep you going no matter how tired you may be: "I can do this, I have energy, 2 more, I am strong and I will not give up!"
- Know when to push, know when to stop: It’s important to listen to the body and let go of the ego! If you’re remembering your days of lifting a certain weight or running a certain pace, it’s easy to be competitive with your past... don’t be a victim to your good ol’ days. Pushing through pain or strain is a big no-no that will set you back!! Ease off and do what you know you are capable of today. However, it’s absolutely fine to push past muscle burn and fatigue-ness. Remember to always challenge yourself!
- Posture: Before starting any exercise adjust your posture, a hunched back and rounded shoulders needs to be re-corrected before each exercise every time! The last thing you want to do is to build on to your poor posture… the focus should be to correct it.
- Enjoy the workout: The process of burning calories and toning muscles should be a motivating and exciting experience… you are working on the ultimate you and there should be nothing frustrating about that! Don’t forget to stretch!
If your resolution was to lose weight and be more active, apply these trainer tips to your workout! Let this be your year to do good on your resolution, see you at the gym!