So I’m going to piece together a little series for someone that is going to try and start working out and getting in better shape on New Year’s. We all know someone who is going to do this. Unfortunately, statistically speaking the vast majority of these folks are not going to last. So my goal here is to put together a number of pieces geared towards getting these folks to be successful.
The vast majority of people that start on this journey as a member of the New Year’s Resolution club are going to fade out at some point or another. When I was younger this massive influx of people in the gym always annoyed me (just like the start of the semester flux and then two weeks before spring break onslaught). Now that I’m older I just do my business and get out. Let’s be honest, most of the folks starting off then on their own are not going straight for the squat rack, so I’ll be ok with getting my work in. I see these folks come and go each year that are obviously initially committed, but with time they are start to lose the fire and next thing you know they are done and back home on the couch.
Here are a few things that these folks should do before they even do day one in the gym:
Put your money where your mouth is
Take and not only spend the money on a gym membership, but make a bet with a friend or family member. If you have a solid chunk of change that is going to a friend (or maybe someone you despise like the Phelps family) this is going to get you up and get you going. Ten dollars on a gym membership each month is not going to get you up and get you going as much as a gym that charges you $100+ dollars a month and when you have classes or personal training sessions booked to attend.
If you are looking for someone to hold you accountable, just write me a check for $200.00 and send it to me. If you stop working out before the end of March then it goes to the Norbert food and home destruction repair fund. So if you train until the end of March then congrats I will tear up the check, and if you give up early Norbs gets the nice dog food, and we can start repairing the couch and other things around the house he has destroyed.
Find a friend
If you have friend that wants to lose weight or one that already trains consistently in a way that you want to perform ask them if they will let you join them. The more people you have holding you accountable the better off you will be. Make sure that you have similar schedules before you try to set this up so you aren’t going to sabotage this training relationship before it starts. Maybe you just set things up so that you guys train together once a week and you find another friend to train with on the other days of the week.
Find a club
The gym you train at is very important. The way that people look on average in the gym gives you an idea of what you are in for. Look at this in two ways, the age demographic and the fitness level. My in-laws found a gym in Louisville known as Baptist health which was great for them. The average clientele was an older professional or a retiree. The personal trainers were geared towards long term health and performance which is much different than what you will find at a gold’s gym or (and please never go there) a planet fitness. When you enter the gym ask yourself a few things:
1) Do I think I will like the people that train here? (if it is full of Bro’s and you are 70 year old woman it might not be for you)
2) Does this gym offer what I am specifically training to attain? (If everyone does yoga and pilates and you want to get strong this is not for you)
3) Will I be the outlier here or the average? (If everyone here does steroids and you aren’t in to that, it might be a little awkward at times)
4) Will I find people here that I will possibly want to train with?
5) Does the cost of training at this gym rationalize what I get out of training there in value? (If you want to pay $100.00 an hour to talk about your feelings just go see a psychologist)
Do keep in mind that all productive gyms can be a bit intimidating when you first set foot in them if you don’t train. This is normal, but at least get an idea of what you are buying in to.
Find a trainer
If you are completely new to training spend the money and get a personal trainer. If you can only afford one or two sessions then just have them teach you proper technique in barbell and dumbbell exercises. If you can’t figure out how to make an exercise machine work then have them teach you how, but do some reconnaissance on these movements first so that you can then utilize your time as efficiently as possible. Take videos of the exercises and take notes on them.
If you have the funds then hire the personal trainer for at least twice per week and at most initially 4 times per week. Pay up front for 2-3 months so you have to say goodbye to enough money that you are likely to follow up with the trainer.
When interviewing the trainer, aim to find someone that is at least in shape (they don’t need to be an Adonis or bikini model, but if they at least look like they train you are in the right place). They should be able to answer your questions when it comes to training. If they start using bad parenting (“because I said so” logic) then it is time to leave. Anyone can put on a tight t-shirt and yell at someone to do burpees, but training a wide variety of people from different athletic backgrounds can be very difficult. Ask them for examples of their success stories of people they have trained before and if you can contact those people. With trainers just like gyms, you tend to pay for quality. It is not unheard of for high level personal trainers to make $100.00 an hour.
If you don’t have workout clothes, go buy some. Make sure you have shoes that you can train in. Take and get everything set up (a gym bag with toiletries in it so you can shower at the gym and go to work). If you have everything set and ready then you help remove your own excuses. Pack your lunch and everything else the night before. Make morning as simple as possible so you have no excuse but to get up and go.
The new year’s resolution club is BS. Don’t start after a random day because it is the cliché thing to do. Start the week before or better yet start right now. If you know you have to journey a thousand miles the sooner that you start walking the faster you are going to get there.
If you are trying to do this on your own good luck. I really do hope you make it. But, if you don’t start planning early and get everything lined up you are likely to fall short and end up quitting before you can make training a real habit. For the next part of this series I am going to start talking about diet then about what to do week one, how you can make stick, and finding the program for you. Thanks as always for reading and please share this if you think you know someone that this would be useful for. If you have direct questions about trying to make it work for you or need guidance just directly message me.