As the year is almost over so are a lot the promises to oneself that this will be the year to finally make that change, lose the weight, or run that marathon. Most resolutions certainly come with the best of intentions, yet most of us give up or never fully commit to making the changes they we desperately seek. We all are guilty of approaching the New Year with a newfound zest and determination, so one has to wonder why do we fail to stay on track. As a personal trainer I see this all time, and in my eighteen plus years in the business I have made a few adjustments to approaching a new program that I cant wait to share with all of you readers! Jumping into a routine that is too hard, or not having a plan at all, are both examples of how some fall off the wagon. However, most personal trainers will tell you that the participants biggest mistake is that they will overlook a few key things when getting back into shape. This article will highlight some of these mistakes, and provide a road map to a well-balanced lifestyle, not just how to stick to your resolutions.
The fact is that when one makes the statement that “this is my year,” they have a vision of charging into a new routine with Braveheart-like determination, and as such their routines, although may include great exercises, are too advanced for what they need. My first tip is that I try to ensure that they are structurally balanced before they start the high intensity program they are planning, or before they jump into a running/cycling mileage that is too much too soon. No matter the skill level you might posses in any given area, addressing your weaknesses and fixing them first will set that you up for success way better than jumping into a full-bore training cycle without first prepping your body to do so. This seems like a no-brainer, but again I couldn’t count how many times someone comes to me wanting to hit the ground running. Although I love that desire, a well balanced body will be less likely to be injured, and allow the individual to workout longer at a higher intensity, thus providing a foundation for a lifetime of functional capability. A pyramid with a large base can reach the greatest height, so the more we lay the groundwork the better our chances of success will be. Most trainers are not (or should not be) in the business of fitness just to get folks ready for “bikini season” rather they prefer to show the client the tools they will need to be successful for life. Starting a new fitness regimen should be no different. Taking the steps in the beginning to properly prep the body will be the best gift you can give yourself. Having the right mindset is also a key factor.
“So Pete what are the best ways to become structurally balanced, and how does one get in the right mindset? “ I am glad you asked! listed below are some of the exercises I choose to use with my clients, particularly in the beginning, but also throughout the length of any given program. These exercises are just a few of several that are grounded in physical therapy, and aim to get the body balanced front to back and side to side. These exercises include, L Laterals, ring rows, angled step ups, and banded squats to name a few. Every person will be different in their weaknesses, so there is never a “one size fits all” prescription of these exercises and ones like them. However, in general these exercises done prior to, and in conjunction with, large compound exercises (Squats, Deadlifts, presses, etc. ) will target the stabilizing muscle groups in the shoulders, hips, and knees and provide the needed foundation to be able to move properly for a long time in any given physical activity.
As far as the mindset goes finding a behavioral change model that works for the individual is my favorite part of any new program design. It will provide the “AH HA!” moment I love seeing my clients start to realize how to be successful. Once the model is chosen the individual will create their own coping mechanism to help them overcome situations that have caused them to fail in the past. Once again there are several models one can choose, too many to list in this article. So please come by and talk with me and I will help you find your “ah ha!” moment.
The best bet is to seek the advice of a certified personal trainer to, at minimum, set the right path for one to follow. Also don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Making sure this is the last year to say “this is my year” will take some thought and planning, but once done, the quote will read “ this is my life!” -Pete