Making It Last: Fitness in 2020

By Tia Norris, January 2020 Issue.

The

number one New Year’s Resolution, every year, is some kind of diet or

fitness-related goal.

While people almost always have the best intentions

in eagerly embarking on their wellness journeys, I’ve seen too many fall short

of reaching their often overambitious goals, only to doom themselves to a

perpetual cycle of start and stop on repeat.

The pursuit of “getting healthy” is

multifaceted, involving more than just physical fitness; it also includes

critical mental and emotional components. Here are some of my trainer tips to

set yourself up to be more successful in all three of these domains in pursuing

goals in 2020.

Mental fitness:

One of the smartest

things you can do in setting fitness goals is to start small. Sure,

people get excited about making changes and want to hit the ground running; but

unfortunately, many people overcommit and make things far too hard on

themselves too quickly. An example of this is going from exercising zero times

per week to five times per week; of course, this is quite an adjustment. Effort

must be scaled appropriately based on your starting point. My advice would be

to start with exercising three times per week at first.

And then, progress slowly. Get used

to three before you upgrade to four; and get used to four before you upgrade to

five. Although this gradual progression may not yield as immediate of results

as a more aggressive program, ultimately it’s the one that will go the distance

and produce more results over time. If you progress too quickly, you increase

your risks for injury, overcommitting, and burnout.

Additionally, if you’re like most people,

you might need help with making a good plan or instead hiring someone to

make it for you. Trainers and coaches are both educated and experienced in what

works, fastest, and most comfortably. Don’t underestimate the value of paying

for expert advice!

Physical fitness:

Newsflash: you

should not hate your diet or exercise program. Pick activities and diets

that you actually like and can sustain. Your fitness life is too short to

trudge through something that you despise, multiple times per week, for months

or years. There are an infinite number of options out there – find one that you

like and can tolerate most times. And perhaps more importantly, this goes for

diet, too! Read this very carefully, five times: crash and extremely

restrictive diets, cleanses, magic pills, and cosmetic treatments do.not.last!

Long term results hinge, critically, on your ability to like your diet most of

the time. If it’s extreme, it won’t last and it therefore won’t work!

Here are some more hard truths: walking

does not count for 90% of the population, and more is better when it comes to

exercise. The minimum recommended exercise prescription is 3x

moderate/vigorous sessions per week. More workouts equal more results. Three

times per week is the gold standard; less than three sessions will likely not

yield appreciable results.

While we’re cutting to the chase: you

cannot completely  avoid either diet, or

exercise, and only do one of the two. Err on the side of more activity and

less dietary restriction to achieve better physical fitness, aesthetics,

and quality of life. My tried and true equation is: exercise hard, diet

moderate, for best results.

Emotional fitness:

Focus more on

the process, less on the results. I have a saying:

“if you play the numbers game, you will lose, every single time.” On one hand,

you need to have goals and a direction to shoot for; but on the other hand, you

must not live and die by your numbers. This includes: weight on the scale,

pounds on a key lift, time on an endurance effort, and more. Long story short,

you cannot hang your entire self-worth (and the success of your program, which

involves dozens of other factors!) on achieving a number. Focus on doing your best;

let the numbers fall where they may.

Don’t complain, it’s not cool. Frankly, I am not impressed with how hard you think your fitness

program is. Stop complaining on social media about the difficulty of your diet

or exercise. Stop vocalizing your dread for your upcoming workouts or meals. You

chose this; no one is making you do this. Change your attitude, not only out of

consideration for others, but also for your own improved success.

Connect healthy choices with positive

outcomes. More movement and better food choices

make you feel better. Doesn’t everyone want to just feel better? Sure, I love

burgers and fries and pizzas, but I can’t eat that shit mid-day during the week

when I’ve got hours more of hard work to go. Sure, I love sleeping in and

lazing around and having fun; but none of that will bring me accomplishment,

pride, and success. Do the work, to get the results. And even better, if you

can connect the work to the outcomes, you’ve really got it made.

Remember, it’s not just physical choices

that make you successful in fitness; you’ve got to be sharp mentally and

emotionally, as well, to achieve holistic results.

Happy goal setting for the New Year!


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