Here are 5 common pitfalls when making New Year’s resolutions and shares his strategies to beat the New Year’s Resolution Syndrome.
1. Dream big but start small. Just like many people, I like to gain muscle, lose fat, and stay in top shape. As a personal trainer, I have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. My goal is a minimum 4 sessions of strength training and 3 sessions of cardio exercise and conditioning per week. The cardio and conditioning part is my challenge.
My plan is to start with small baby steps. I will start to add some form of cardio or conditioning work at the end of each strength training session for 15 minutes. As I make progress, I can do cardio at separate sessions for a longer duration of 30 to 45 minutes for a total of 3 hours of cardio exercise a week.
2. Make multiple resolutions that reinforce each other. This is a common pitfall for most people that don’t realize it. Why make “annual” resolutions that you can only follow for a month? Have a big picture. Break it down into smaller, more realistic, achievable mini goals. You’ll feel better when you accomplish the mini goals.
My strategy is to design my training programs according to different goals in different training phases. It’s called training program periodization. In a nutshell, you change the training stimulus by varying volume, load, and intensity in each training cycle ranging from 6 weeks to a year. Pull out a annual calendar. Mark the beginning and end of each training phase. I will design my training program according to each goal in each phase and also change up my workout routines in each phase.
3. Food is your friend, not your foe. Make a good friend with food. It turns out that stress eating, emotional eating, overeating, and mindless eating cause more weight gain. The food area in which I want to improve is vegetables. My goal is to eat at least two servings of dark green or leafy vegetables per day, such as broccoli, spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, bok choy, etc.
I plan to list my weekly grocery shopping list with at least three dark or leafy vegetables. I will buy enough for the week’s portion. Cook twice a week. Freeze the rest. When the meal time comes, I will simply reheat them.
4. Get a good night sleep. I know many people are eating late, snacking, drinking alcohols and, watching TV shows in the evening to unwind their stress from the day. These poor habits disturb your sleeping quality. My problem is mostly from my busy work schedule training clients late in the evening. I usually have to get up early for morning clients.
I need to set limits in my work schedule by communicating with my clients. In addition, I will schedule in mid-afternoon, 20-minute power naps to help me recover from the morning and get ready for evening client trainings.
5. Watch your environment. When you want to lose weight and stay fit and healthy, you need to watch out who you’re associated with. You are the product of five of your closest friends. Obesity is epidemic and contagious. Some people call it “sympathetic weight gain” with your friends. Stay close to your fit and healthy friends, but don’t break up with your overweight friends just yet.