If you are like most ... by now the majority of your New Year's ... have fallen by the wayside. ... sticking to your new exercise program was probably one of the first things
If you are like most Americans, by now the majority of your New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately, sticking to your new exercise program was probably one of the first things to go.
It's not that you don't want to get in shape and reap the rewards of a properly executed fitness plan. You go through the motions as best you can, but it's just NOT working -- and you demand to know why!
Let's take a close look at the top five reasons why exercise programs fail.
Reason # 1: Failure to Clearly Identify Goals
You canít expect to get anywhere fast if you donít know where youíre going. Establishing goals early on in the development of your regimen, will help you to pick the right exercises, and routines to deliver those goals.
You might feel that spare tire youíve been carrying around for the last six or seven years is starting to look like an oversized truck tire. More than anything else, your goal is to just get rid of it, and looking like Arnold is not important to you.
Solution: Sit down with pen and paper and make a list of goals to help you get in touch with what you want from your program.
Because you've clearly identifited fat loss as your main goal, you won't waste hours at the gym hoisting heavy barbells. Instead, you now focus on aerobic exercise as the best way to burn fat. But you donít skip strength training (weight lifting) altogether, you just modify the way you lift, doing high reps with light weight, while resting only briefly between each set.
Reason # 2: Lack of Proper Instruction, Direction
You might have seen this guy at your local gym. Heís been training for years, spends hours working out, and yet never looks any different. If you ask him about his routine, he hasnít a clue. He basically just wonders from one station to the next, and hence, his program has little, or no effect. Worse yet, some of the exercises heís performing are actually having a negative impact on his health, possibly leading to over-training and injury.
Solution: Educate yourself. With all the time this poor guy spends training, heís never taken the time to learn HOW to train. He needs to read a book or two, and stop wasting his time and energy doing what doesnít work.
Reason # 3: Failure to Start Slowly
You want that new body, and you want it now! But back in the real world youíll have to give yourself a couple of months to see real results in the appearance department. However, youíll notice increases in strength, energy levels, and endurance almost right away.
Soluiton: Give your body a chance to adapt to this new stress called exercise. It will reward you by getting stronger and fitter. Small, gradual pushes work best. For example, if youíve havenít jogged in years, walk first. Gradually, ad in brief intervals of jogging during your walk, and before you know it, youíll be jogging for a pain free half an hour.
Reason # 4: Lack of Time to Devote to Your Program
This is a failure to prioritize and put yourself, and your fitness program first. When you take a closer look, youíll realize that you donít need all that much time. About a half an hour per day, 4 or 5 days a week will get big results Ė if you exercise smartly, you can get by with even less.
Solution: Save the excuses for the boss, but be honest with yourself about when, and where you can train. Also, if you put together some basic equipment (a small bench and some dumbbells), you can save the travel time to and from the gym, and squeeze a thirty-minute workout before, or after work right at home.
Reason # 5: Poor Eating Habits
You wouldnít expect your car to respond at its optimum level if you filled its tank with the wrong fuel. A successful exercise program has to be fueled by solid nutrition, with an adequate balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Failure to eat right while training hard can result in loss of muscle mass, and increased amounts of stored body fat, just what you donít want.
Solution: While shopping, read lables and always choose the low-fat, low-calorie option. Stay away from fried foods that are high in fat, and avoid junk food like the plague. Take a common sense approach to eating right, and make sure you avoid any extreme fad diet.
Michael Stefano is a 20-year veteran of FDNY, as well as author of The Firefighter's Workout Book. His workout routines and articles have been featured on such internet giants as America Online, Yahoo!, eDiets, and iVillage. Currently Michael is editor in chief at http://www.firefightersworkout.com, where you can get more information about his book and other services, as well as sign up for his FREE Train For Life Newsletter.