Lose weight. Run a new race. Build muscle. Do one of these sound like your New Year’s resolution? You’re not the only one! Americans routinely make fitness and health-oriented resolutions, only to give up on them in a few weeks later.
So, why do we make these lofty fitness goals only to throw in the towel before February? Andrea Weber, a certified athletic trainer and sports medicine supervisor at ATI Physical Therapy, shares some of the pitfalls we often face and how to fix them.
You try too much too soon. Too often, people will start their exercise programs with long, intense exercise and then experience soreness or injuries right away. Make small goals, such as doing a routine for 20-30 minutes, and gradually work your way up.
You don’t know what you’re doing, but you don’t ask for help. If you’re not familiar with developing fitness and muscle-building routines, find someone who is. Many gyms offer sessions with certified personal trainers who can help develop an exercise program that’s right for you. This will help you get the most out of your workout and avoid injury.
You’re not realistic about your time and commitment. If you can’t hit the gym for a ninety-minute sweat session every day, that’s okay. Figure out what you can do and commit yourself to that. Maybe it’s Zumba twice a week or jogging for 30 minutes around a local neighborhood while your child is at soccer practice. Whatever it is, develop a realistic plan and stick to it.
You get too comfortable on one exercise or machine. Mix up your routine for optimum results. Don’t stick to just one machine or one exercise. For example, if you’re focusing on cardio, alternate between the treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc. This allows you to work various muscle groups and gives your joints a break, which can help prevent overuse injuries.
You’re not getting the nutrients you need.Do you think that by cutting out all carbohydrates you’ll lose weight? You may lose a pound or two, but you won’t be able to get through your work out with carbs, which act as your primary energy source during a workout. Therefore, learn what your body needs and fuel it with the right foods. If you’re focusing on muscle building, be sure to get enough lean protein which helps rebuild muscle. Here is an easy way to determine how much protein you need:
Sedentary adults: Multiple your body weight by .4
Active adults: Multiple your body weight by .5
Adult that is lifting to increase muscle mass: Multiply your body weight by .6 to .9
Ready, set, get fit!