In all the years spent as a gym owner and personal fitness trainer, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly some people abandon their exercise plans. The biggest complaints I always hear around the gym, especially between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day is ‘I hate to do…,’ and you can complete the rest of the sentence.
It is usually some exercise their best friend told them about, or perhaps they read about in one of the ‘expert’ exercise magazines. This results in folks, with all the best intentions, becoming yet another ‘quitter’, quickly quitting all exercise. So the exercise program is abandoned without exploring the possibilities of other kinds of exercise that may be a better fit for their needs, goals, and personality.
You’re different! Aren’t you?
You have made up your mind to succeed in your new lifestyle. To make certain that your goal of losing 13 ½ inches before your class reunion is achieved. Or do you have ‘the swimsuit’ you can’t wait to wear to the lake or beach. Perhaps your goal, like one of my ‘real-life’ clients, is to ‘show abs’ on your anniversary trip to Hawaii. (She was successful, by the way, and did it in about 6 weeks!)
So how do you figure out if you are doing the right activity that will ensure that you will stick with it consistently? Good question. And it is one that deserves a very good answer, so here goes.
First, I am making the assumption that you have either worked with your gym’s personal training staff or at least consulted with one of them.
What? Your gym doesn’t have personal trainers on staff or at least have an independent trainer available? Find another gym! Now! Do not pass GO!
You get my point.
Invest in a gym that is investing in you by providing everything you need. Just having the ‘best’ equipment isn’t enough. You should have qualified trainers available to work with you to design a workout plan based around your unique needs and goals. Or, if you know your direction already, then a trainer can review your plan with you and teach you proper exercise technique.
Ok, I will stop the rant! Now that you have your plan in place; what if your trainer wants you to perform the ‘Precor® stationary bike 3-mile sprint’ two to four times a week as part of your cardio routine? Let’s review this particular exercise and see if this will work for you long term.
I believe in the three questions method.
First, do you look forward to this?
I am not talking about the ‘gosh, I wish I could stay on the couch with my 6-pack and get 6-pack abs’ kind of feeling. I mean, do you look forward to your work-out with anticipation? The kind of anticipation that says, ‘Will I beat my best time?’ ‘Will I take the resistance level up a notch?’ When your ‘competitive juices’ are flowing, I believe that’s a good sign you look forward to the exercise.
However, if you have the feeling of impending dread like ‘this is worse than the Apocalypse’, then perhaps this exercise is not for you.
Second, do you enjoy doing this?
Continuing with the stationary bike analogy, a few of my ‘real-life’ clients actually ‘hate’ the 3-mile sprint. The seat hurts their butt or there is some other ‘problem’. It really doesn’t matter what the problem is, if it comes down to the bike or else, the ‘or else’ wins. That defeats the purpose.
Find something that you actually enjoy. Listen to your fellow gym members and you will hear these comments at your gym, ‘I really like the elliptical’, or, ‘I actually enjoy those leg inny/outy things’. (The ‘inny/outty things’ are actually the leg adduction and abduction machines.) Keep searching for the exercise, or combination of exercises, that prompt you to make a comment like that.
Third, do you feel good afterward?
I wish I had a dollar for every time I started an exercise without the proper enthusiasm, only to feel afterward, ‘hey, I’m glad I did it, I feel great!’
Even when you do the tough exercises (like legs) you should finish with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. If fact the toughest exercise routine will give you greatest sense of achievement. You should ‘feel good’ afterward.
With these three questions answered ‘YES!’ you can easily make your exercise program a part of your daily lifestyle…and enjoy the entire process.
Lance Curtis is a personal trainer and author of “7 Keys to Unlock The Sexy Dream Body Inside You!”