Well, it’s January, and about 99% of people have made some kind of goal or resolution involving more exercise. We all have seen the stats that show staggering numbers of people will give up on their new year’s resolutions in about a month. Iron Standard is here to support you in reaching your goals, and wanted to give you a few quick tips on how to structure your new exercise program to make it sustainable for the year, and the rest of your life.
1. Think Small Steps, Not Giant Leaps
Think about where you want to be, whether that is a goal weight, % body fat, running distance/time, new lift PR, etc, give yourself a reasonable amount of time to reach the goal, and break it down into smaller steps. This is true especially if you weren’t doing much exercise before. Some of the most common injuries that we see are from people who ramp up their training too fast, without giving their body time to adapt on the way. These nagging injuries can derail your fitness goals in the blink of an eye. Instead, gradually increase your training over periods of weeks or months.
2. Choose Exercise That You Enjoy, Or At Least Can Envision Yourself Enjoying One Day
Generally speaking, at Iron Standard, we don’t discourage any one type of exercise, and our favorite exercise program for every person is the one that they will actually do consistently. It doesn’t take a genius to know that if you absolutely hate something, you aren’t going to want to do it for any long period of time. If you don’t like running, try other methods of training to get your cardio in – biking, swimming, HIIT, playing basketball or soccer, etc. This doesn’t mean that every time you exercise, you have to be having the time of your life – no matter what exercise program you choose, there will be days that you just don’t want to do it, and will have to push through – but setting yourself up for some success by choosing something you don’t hate will be helpful in the long run.
3. Don’t Go It Alone
Whether you find a workout buddy, accountability partner, or join a gym with group classes, it is much easier to stick to a new workout routine when you are doing it with someone else. In my own personal workouts, I find I am much more motivated to push myself during the workout, and I’m much more likely to even show up in the first place when I know that my usual workout crew is expecting me at the gym.
4. Don’t Let Perfectionism Get In The Way Of Your Progress
Perfect isn’t a realistic goal – not in the long term, but CERTAINLY not in the short term. You aren’t going to have a perfect workout every time you workout, and there are just days where you won’t be able to get your workout in at all. It’s just the way life works. Don’t beat yourself up about it, instead plan for how you can fit your workout in the next day, and get back at it. This also applies when choosing what kind of exercise routine to use. There are thousands of choices for what type of workout you can do, but again, the best one is one that you will do consistently, and one that you enjoy. It’s best to choose a plan and start it. You can always tweak, or completely change the program as you go.
5. Don’t Neglect The Importance Of Sleep, Hydration, And Nutrition
This may be the most important of these points. Fueling your body properly, and getting adequate sleep for optimal recovery are essential to a successful fitness program, and if you’re missing the mark on these, your progress will never be what you want it to be. Inadequate sleep has been linked to faster fatigue during exercise, decreased cognitive performance, and the effects can be compounding as you often then need more time for recovery between workouts. We recently told you about how improper hydration can impact your performance as well. And there have been volumes written about the importance of nutrition on performance.
Again, we at Iron Standard are committed to supporting you in your goals. If you need more advice, run into an injury, or if you would like a movement screen prior to starting an exercise routine, please reach out to us. We would love to help in any way we can! If you’re looking for a great gym with a knowledgeable trainer in the Birmingham area, come check out the Fit Facility in Crestwood!