Brains and Brawn… January is resolution time

Published 11:53 pm Friday, January 22, 2021

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Over the last thirty years, I have worked out at several public gyms like the Franklin Fitness Center here in Elizabethton, and I noticed something interesting about this time of year.

In December, the very large gyms would often be nearly empty, but as soon as the new year hit, the gym would be packed.

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It was exciting to see all those new people making a positive change in their life. I would always go out of my way to encourage them.

Unfortunately, there is a big caveat to this happy story, these folks often could not make their resolution stick. In fact, by late February, the gym was usually back to being nearly empty.

Where did the new year’s resolution folks go wrong?

Well, every person’s situation is unique, but I did see a few common pitfalls to avoid. If you can navigate these challenges, you will be well on your way to making a more permanent life change.

One thing to be careful about is taking on too much too soon or “biting off more than you can chew.” For example, planning your workouts at two hours a day five days a week right after an eight-hour workday might be setting yourself up for burnout.

Instead, I would recommend setting up workouts in a way that interferes the least with other things you love to do. A more realistic plan might be thirty to forty-five minutes three or four days a week at a time that works well with your existing schedule.

Another common problem is a lack of accountability partnerships. In other words, someone to help you make the choice to work out instead of skipping a day.

It can be daunting to approach other people in the gym, but it is my experience that nothing, absolutely nothing, will help your motivation as much as a workout partner.

This can be someone you hit the weights with every day or just a few people in the gym you speak to briefly. You will be surprised how this can impact your motivation.

A close friend or family member might not always be the best choice for an accountability partner as they sometimes are not able to call you out the way a workout partner should.

Finally, another common pitfall is poor workout planning.

There are a million different strategies to get fit, but most of them will be ineffective. Every person that has worked out for a while has seen a new lifter either lifting with terrible form, using too much or too little weight or choosing ineffective exercises.

Almost every gym employs a few trainers whose job it is to help you with these things. Seek out their professional advice, especially early on, to plan a workout that is sustainable and will get you real results.

I have seen a lot of people give up on their goal of fitness far too soon. If you can make it through the first couple of months, you will begin to see your true potential and what a difference you can make.

Someone might mention that you look good. You will stand a little straighter and know your hard work is paying off.

Your friends and family will celebrate your success.

If you are careful about planning workout times so they do not burn you out, get some partners to help you be accountable, and get help planning your workout strategy, it can happen for you.

You can do this.