Hello everyone! You lucky readers are getting spoiled this month, because I have another special guest coming in to help me out with today’s blog. Today’s post is a little different from my regular TCM musings, but I got to thinking about all of those people who wanted to try out some new fitness resolutions for the new year. I feel like the initial momentum of making positive changes can carry us through for about four to six weeks before real life gets in the way. So now we are just about at that point- it’s been awhile since you were all pumped up with that New Year’s energy and maybe now you are feeling sore, getting tired, or just aren’t sure if you like where things are headed. Plus this is prime PJs and wine season, so it can take some extra motivation to even get your rear in gear. I don’t want to frame exercise only in terms of weight loss (although obviously it can help with that), since there are so many other positive aspects to it. Among other things, exercise boosts your mood and promotes good self-esteem, strengthens your bones and promotes joint health, and makes your heart and lungs healthy and strong. So there are so many reasons to make sure you are getting some fitness into your daily routine.
This is where my good buddy Ryan Yurista, CSCS, comes in. He is a very talented personal trainer based in Manchester, NH. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach as well as a Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach. In addition to be an excellent coach and nutrition expert, he is one of the most genuinely positive people I have ever met and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve long-term, sustainable health goals. He recently wrote an awesome post on his blog where he talks about how to keep the momentum going after resolution season, so I asked him to contribute some thoughts on that subject here as well.
So I’ll turn things over to him and let the expert take the reins!
We are now well into the new year! Congrats, you made it!
Sometimes things can get a little crazy though, and it can be tough to continue your positive mindset moving forward when you have certain things land in your lap. That’s what we’re talking about today. With that said, we are talking about stuff that really just gets in the way. Real problems that everybody faces. Knowing how to overcome them can really help you be positive in the moment and figure out another path (even if it’s longer) to reaching your goals.
1.) I got hurt.
Well, that just stinks. It’s okay though. You may be able to work around it, depending on the injury. If this is the case, simply don’t do things that hurt. Don’t ever feel like you should push through pain, but don’t be afraid to find a new way to explore an exercise. For example, many of my clients might say that squats hurt their knees. Well, there are ways to get around that. Instead, you can try to a squat to high box and limit your range of motion, or push your knees way out to emphasize the glutes in the movement. Find what your body likes and don’t be afraid to experiment.
On the other hand, if you are just incredibly sore after your workouts, you need to look at those other factors like nutrition, sleep quality, and overall exercise volume. Sometimes your body just needs to rest and repair itself. Many times your recovery is limited because you may not be eating enough for your exercise demands. So, either scale back the exercise a bit, or make sure you replenish your muscles with a solid meal after workouts.
Another thing here is what type of pain you are in and when to get it looked at. If you wake up one day and you are in agonizing pain, you should definitely find a professional to assess your injury and give you some guidance regarding the injury. Rule of thumb: If your daily activities are limited with a lingering injury, get yourself looked at. Some things do need the appropriate care, so you can get back to feeling your best!
2.) I am bored.
For someone as scatterbrained as me, I completely get this. You see new things on the internet, and say, “Hey, I want to do that!” But, consistency is important for getting results- so stick to your plan! Although you may be getting bored with your exercise program, each workout is another opportunity to get closer to mastering each exercise. Here are a few tips to get around this feeling:
Pick a new skill and try to get better at it. We are more likely to be engaged if we are part of a learning process. Find a new lift or activity, and learn everything you can about it. Then, try and throw it into your routine and continue to work on it! This can be something as simple as using a new piece of equipment or learning a new mobility routine.
Take some classes. If your gym doesn’t have small group training classes, there is usually somewhere around town that you can pay a drop in fee. It’s always great to have someone else pushing you a little bit more, as well as having the community of the group sweating with you. Maybe you’ll be able to pick up a new tip that will help your form. There are tons of Spin studios, Barre, Pilates, climbing, and other training facilities that offer some pretty cool and unique experiences.
3.) I am frustrated with the progress I’m making.
Sound familiar? Everybody experiences this! The best advice I can give you is to think of your health like your bank account. There are no get rich quick schemes. You have to earn your accomplishments and deserve your results. Whatever your goals, be ready to fight for them. You can, however, continue to make small tweaks here and there to discover where you feel your best and get the most from yourself.
For starters, work on your warm up routine. Most people that I encounter are more on the side of, “Wait, I should warm up?” Here’s why it’s important: You won’t be wasting your time warming up for your workout- during your workout. Exercise is as much of a mental habit as it is physical, so if your mind isn’t ready, neither is your body. Come up with an easy routine that includes some foam rolling in those trouble areas that tend to get stiff, as well as a full body warm up that helps to get your heart rate up and loosen up those cranky joints. It could be as simple as foam rolling your hips, followed by jumping jacks, and a hip stretch for a few times around. This will ensure you are putting in the most effort you can while you are crushing your workout.
Secondly, I would also recommend that when you get “stuck,” you take a hard look at your routine and simply make some small adjustments to get the wheels going again. Don’t scrap the whole thing, just mix it up to add variety (no, this is not a reference to “muscle confusion,” whatever that is). Think about the days or parts of your workout that you really just… don’t enjoy, for lack of another PG term. Determine which parts you can live without, and keep the ones that you know you are progressing with and enjoy doing.
It’s all about getting your mind engaged again. So, you focus on new areas that interest you. Maybe it’s a particular detail of your exercise plan. Maybe you try and focus on your exercise as time for yourself, and keep your phone in your locker. Maybe you spend more time just playing and exploring what your body can do. Maybe it’s getting outside once a week. The possibilities really are endless, but that’s the point. You are in charge.
4.) I don’t know how I can keep it going.
Life is tough. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be. If it were easy, everyone would have millions of dollars, 8 pack abs, and live until we are 150 years old. But, it doesn’t work like that.
People work hard to make a living for themselves and build the body that they want. The key to making it all work is balance in your approach. Managing your lifestyle stressors is massive in building sustainable success for reaching goals. Seriously! When you aren’t on top of this, the first thing to go will be your awesome workouts and healthy eats! So chill out!
Do you best to not take yourself too seriously, and have fun with the process of growing on your fitness adventure. Just understand, sometimes you will miss workouts. Sometimes you will want to dominate cheesecake (maybe that’s just me). It’s okay, just get right back on track. You’ll be fine if you limit your stress and try making yourself better 90 percent of the time.
Get to it!
With that said, now you should be ready to conquer anything that comes your way. The New Year is an exciting time for everyone, and having ways to push through your struggles is key. I think someone smart said Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s kind of the way I look at creating the best version of your own self. Be willing to keep growing on each day’s successes and eventually things will start to click.
A big thanks for Ryan for his expert advice this week. I think these are issues that many of us struggle with, so I am so thrilled that he was able to lend his perspective here for us. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week, and I hope everyone has a great week until then! Be well.