Back in January I got the following message from one of my besties back in London;
“You’ll be so proud – I just signed up for the gym!”
Because Staci is your Type A gym-o-phobe. Any exercise that doesn’t involve yoga or dog walking just isn’t her cup of tea. We had a lot of fun during our PT sessions for FBB- but I know for a fact that she only turned up to half our sessions because of the promise of brunch and a long, girly catch up afterwards!
This is why I was so proud of her for deciding to carry on with “the whole fitness thing”. Now that I live halfway across the world, I won’t be there forcing her to pick up that heavier weight – and she won’t be able to tell me how evil I am for pushing her to do those extra reps!
The thing is, Staci is far from alone. Apparently, over 90% of New Year’s Resolutions revolve around health and fitness. January sees Fitness Centres doubling and tripling their membership sales. Everywhere you look there’s a new Personal Training promotion and suddenly, you have to queue to have a shower after your workout.
But it’s not January anymore. Somehow, we’re already into the first week of February. And that’s where it starts to get tricky.
After the initial high of post-Christmas euphoria, February is the time when the promotional sales end and motivation levels drop. Suddenly you find yourself paying full whack for a gym membership, overloaded with work and longing for a glass of wine at the end of the day. That extra hour in bed seems so much more attractive than heading out at the crack of dawn with your gym leggings and your protein shake.
So, I thought it’d be the perfect time to write a few tips for all those January newbies, before the harsh reality of February has a chance to settle in.
Set Some February Goals
I mean, I’m a PT. I could bang on for ages about the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T goals. What I don’t get is that at the end of December, everyone is clamouring to make all these changes to their routine or lifestyle that somehow is supposed to last them the whole year. And then by the end of January, more often than not, they’ve already gone out the window. Shorter term goals are so much more realistic because you can take them step by step. Instead of thinking about where you want to be in 12 months’ time, think about what you want to achieve over the following four weeks.
Ask More Questions
Ok so this is classic. You’ve been going to the gym religiously since the first week in Jan and you’re feeling completely unmotivated because it hasn’t seemed to make any difference. You’ve not shifted those extra couple of kilos from all the Christmas parties and frankly, when you’re on the gym floor you just don’t really feel like you know what you’re doing. So, ask someone. Ask a friend, a colleague or a family member who’s into fitness. Do you research online or look up a couple of videos on YouTube.
Most importantly of all, ask the people that work in the gym! Whether it’s a Fitness Instructor, a Personal Trainer or the teacher of your favourite class, they’re all there because they’re passionate about the fitness industry and (hopefully) they’ve dedicated a lot of time to learn about it. I’m not saying that you should ask them to tell you exactly what to do every time you work out, but there’s no harm in asking them how to use a particular piece of equipment, or to quickly check over your technique.
Ignore the Haters
People in gyms can be dicks. To put it bluntly. Particularly the people who train regularly and were probably in the gym over the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of backlash about “January newbies” for taking up all the space, equipment and showers for a month before buggering off again. Ignore it. Better yet, prove them wrong. You have just as much right to be there as everyone else.
Tidy Up After Yourself
Not so much a motivational tip, just a little bit of housekeeping. Like any social environment, gyms have a certain etiquette that should be adhered to. Part of the reason that people from the above point can be rude or abrasive is because newbies don’t always conform to this etiquette. Basically, be considerate to other people. Use a towel. Put your weights away after you’re done with them. If the gym is busy, don’t spend the whole hour taking up one piece of equipment. Equally, if you want to use something that’s already taken, don’t be afraid to ask how many sets that person has left, or whether you can jump in whilst they’re resting. It’s all give and take, really.
Acknowledge Your Set Backs
Don’t let little set-backs put you off. Lots of people set unrealistic targets, such as going to the gym every day and only eating x-amount of calories. Perhaps you were able to keep this up through January. But now that it’s actually 2018 and not just ‘the new year’ you need to be able to turn your health & fitness routine into a habit, and not a hyped-up resolution. The way to do this is to accept the fact that you’re going to have set backs every now and then – a few too many drinks here and a few too many missed workouts there. That doesn’t mean that that’s it. Done. Over. Allow yourself to be ok with falling off the bandwagon and let yourself climb back up tomorrow.
How are your New Years Resolutions going? Still going strong or falling off the bandwagon? I’d love to hear in the comments!