Ah, February. The gym seems a bit quieter, and the jam-packed yoga classes suddenly have room to breathe. The weights area has less machismo gym goers staring at themselves in the mirror, and athletic equipment is all available. February, the time when all those resolutions and gym goals slowly (or immediately) slide out of view.
If this is you, don’t worry too much. Way too many of us make lofty fitness goals that we simply can’t keep; like gyming 7 days a week, losing that stubborn last 5 kg, or perhaps drinking more water and eating a strictly Paleo diet. If you’ve made health resolutions that you simply don’t think you can keep, remember you can always adjust and not completely give up on your goals. Let’s go through some of the best ways to keep up what you’ve started, and turn those resolutions into habits.
Remember why you started
When your 6 AM alarm goes off for your Crossfit session and all you care about is sleeping through it, you’ll never make it to the session unless you’ve developed some will power. To do this, start at the very beginning. Why did you start working out or eating healthier in the first place? What is it about eating well or working out that is going to help you reach that goal? It’s so easy to hit the snooze button instead of thinking through why your alarm went off in the first place, but we highly recommend it anyway. Take a moment to remember what your goals are, and why you put them in place. Maybe even visualise how you feel after a workout, or remind yourself that you never regret a workout.
Don’t let the setbacks get to you
Potentially one of the biggest reasons why resolutions fail every year is because of setbacks. Maybe you binge eat pizza and beer all weekend, or miss a few workouts in a row. Setbacks are absolutely not a reason to give up, though! At the time, it can feel like you’ve completely messed it all up, and perhaps spiral down the thought process of failure. Stop the spiral as soon as you realise you’re going down it, and remember that one bad day of eating or a few skipped workouts won’t undo your weeks of progress!
We also recommend focussing on the long game with your goals. For example, count your calories daily, but focus on the week goal of calories rather than obsessing over one bad day. Most of us have great days mixed in with one bad day of eating, but if you focus on the whole week, it will likely balance out. Try and really hone in why you had a bad day of eating, or why you’ve skipped workouts lately. Perhaps there’s something else going on in your life that you’re replacing your feelings with sweets and junk food. Here’s some other great tips for dealing with diet setbacks.
Find fitness elsewhere
For a lot of people, gyms are intimidating, out of reach, or simply boring as, and that’s okay! Not everyone is cut out for fitness classes and weight rooms. There are a million ways to get and stay fit, and they can be as fun or boring as you’d like to make them. Find your fitness in a way that brings you joy, and you can see yourself doing for the long haul. Let’s look at some fun, alternative ways to get in shape without being trapped in a gym:
- Ski fitness: Skiing can be an excellent health benefit. Try walking up the hill, if possible, instead of taking the ski lift for a fantastic cardiovascular workout. Remember to take advantage of the ski lodge’s steam or sweat lodge after your ski day to help your muscles recover quickly. Cross country skiing is a more accessible ski fitness activity, which you can even do during the week, and save the slopes for the weekends. Cross country skis will work your entire body and get you outdoors in the cold and snowy weather.
- Badminton and racquetball: Sure, badminton nets typically bring about images of summer picnics and backyard barbeques, but both badminton and racquetball are excellent exercise if played correctly! Move quickly when playing, and add in jumps and full arm swings to increase your cardiovascular benefit.
- Aerial classes: Want to join Cirque du Soleil but have zero experience? Try your hand at an aerial yoga class, aerial silks, or even an aerial hoop class! Your core is especially challenged in an aerial class, as well as your daring.
- Outdoor classes: Just hate being inside? Consider trying a local outdoor bootcamp that meets in a nearby park. You’ll still get the benefits of a fitness class, but be able to breathe in the fresh air and you won’t feel stifled and claustrophobic in the sweaty gym.
If you’re still looking for that perfect gym alternative, try one of these to see what works for you.
Another massive setback for New Year’s resolutions is an injury. For those of us who go out too hard in January, especially those who don’t usually work out, injury is a common occurrence. Make sure you’ve got yourself a good physiotherapy and rehabilitation provider to help you work through an injury, and more importantly, find ways to prevent it from happening again. If it’s a diet you’re struggling with, we highly recommend meeting with a nutritionist to help make a plan that works for you specifically, versus something that could end up hurting you. The Nutrition Society of New Zealand is a great place to find a nutritionist that is certified and near you.
Now that we’re nearly in February, we hope that some of these tips will help you maintain your fitness or nutrition goals, and carry them through the entire year. We know it’s hard, we’ve been there! But keep up your positive thoughts and remember why you started this in the first place. We believe in you!