It’s that time of year again- the time when millions flock to the gym, go on a diet, or join a weight loss center to get healthier in the upcoming year. Less than 20% stick to their New Year’s resolutions, on average, and the biggest resolution failures are often fitness related. “Many people set goals in the New Year’s to improve their health and begin a new exercise program . Yet after investing time and money, most fail to get any traction and achieve significant long term results,” explains personal trainer and boot camp business owner, Joe Ramirez. “The following steps to success can prevent frustration, disappointment, and ultimately failure when starting a new fitness weight loss or program.”
- Define (or re-define) your weight loss and fitness goals and why they are important to you. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche says, “He who has a strong enough ‘why’ can bear almost any ‘how’.” Is your weight loss goal motivated by a fear of disease, a desire for more confidence and self-esteem, to be a good role model for your children, to be more attractive and desirable to your spouse? Isolate the core emotional reasons why, list them out, tape to your bathroom mirror or refrigerator and refer to them each day. Your reason why will help fuel your motivation to your goal.
- Find your starting point. Take ‘baseline’ measurements of your weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, body mass index, resting heart rate and circumference of your waist, hips, arms and thighs. Have someone you trust take a picture of you in revealing exercise clothing. Don’t be shy. This picture, possibly more so than even your weight on the scale, will motivate you to stay on track. All of the other measurements can be performed by a competent fitness professional, your doctor or even your spouse or friend with the right tools. “Anything that is measured and watched consistently improves”, says Ramirez. In order to gauge progress, measurements should be documented every 30 days.
- Design a comprehensive program. This is where a certified fitness professional is irreplaceable. Books, magazine articles, and other generic guidance will not suffice. A personalized program addressing the specific needs of the individual is highly recommended as everyone is different. Most certified personal trainers offer program design independent of their training services. Although there is no substitute for the consistent guidance and accountability a good personal trainer can provide, an inexpensive starting point is to have a fitness professional create an integrated program including both exercise protocols and nutritional recommendations tailored to your daily lifestyle.
- Get your daily victory. It may be as simple as replacing a fast food breakfast with oatmeal and fruit, or walking up the stairs rather than taking the elevator. All that is important is consistent, daily progression towards your goal. Do not allow even one day to pass by without a personal victory and soon the willpower and discipline to succeed becomes second nature. TIP: use a daily journal to record everything eaten, all exercise performed and the positive feelings associated with those victories. Studies have proven that individuals who keep a journal made more progress than those who did not document their daily nutrition and activity.
- Regularly re-assess and reward. Measure your progress each Saturday. If you were disciplined throughout the week you will notice incremental changes and you can (and should) reward yourself on Sunday by enjoying a favorite treat in moderation. Do be certain to get your daily exercise to sustain momentum – even if it’s just performing just 20 minutes of basic calisthenics or brisk walking. Knowing that you have one reward day per week gives you something to look forward to, eliminates feelings of ‘mourning’ over perceived loss, and keeps your resolution bubble from bursting. Colorado Springs are encouraged to download their FREE Report "Blueprint for Fitness and Weight Loss Success" for a limited time at www.trainwithjoe.com.