Getting stuck in and sticking to it
At this time of year, our good intentions can lead us to sign up for a gym membership. The hope may be that a gym ‘does what it says on the tin’, and will prove an incentive to both start, and then stick to, a life that includes regular exercise.
But, sadly, figures show that a significant number of the people who join will quit after only 6 months. There are many reasons reasons for this, but most often cited is that people don’t have enough time or are not getting results. In terms of getting results, it takes time, commitment and motivation, all of which can seem boring when what you really want is a quick fix solution. But, alas, there are no healthy quick fix solutions if you want to lose weight, get fit and stay that way over the long term…..simples.
There are, however, ways to embark on a programme which will give you a good kick start, and also ensure a consistent and on-going rate of achievement.
In terms of the gym environment, there are some common reasons why workouts may not achieve the results you want, and I’ve highlighted a few below:
Quality and Quantity
When you look around the gym, there are always seem to be quite a few people who don’t seem to be getting a quality workout. They wander around looking quite lost, perhaps desperately trying to remember where the machines are that they were shown in their induction, and then once they’ve found them, having to spend time reading the instructions about how to use them. I’ve also seen people walking on the treadmill reading a book, or lifting weights either with incorrect form, or so light that there is no exertion whatsoever. These people have invested the time to go to the gym, but the return on that investment is either non-existent or minimal – very disheartening. So in this scenario, the quantity of time spent in the gym is there, but the quality of the workout and the likelihood of a satisfying outcome is not. You need to exercise with a real purpose, preferably with a goal in mind, and really challenge both your aerobic capacity and strength, then you will find that your workouts take half the time and give better results.
It is easy to think that we have spent longer in the gym, worked at a higher intensity, lifted heavier weights or been to the gym more often than we actually have. If you think you have done more than you actually have then it’s easy to see how this can be de-motivating when the results don’t match your expectations. In order to avoid this, it is worthwhile keeping a record, and it will also then be easier to track progress towards your goals.
Underestimating what you Eat
As it is easy to overestimate the amount of exercise we have done, it is also easy not to take into account everything we eat, and this will particularly hamper attempts to lose weight. But keeping a food diary will help to highlight potential areas for change, as well as track progress towards your goal.
The Type of Workout
As with the quality versus quantity above, it’s important to maximise your workouts by doing them correctly.
Gyms can be large and confusing places where it seems to be easier to either copy what other people are doing, or mimic what you have read in fitness articles. However, the way you exercise directly affects the results you can expect. And to learn the correct exercises, and equally importantly the correct form, it is worth consulting a fitness professional. A Personal Trainer will then design a bespoke programme based around your goals. It may seem a harsh thing to say, but this will prevent the sort of haphazard exercise which produces haphazard results.
If you go to the gym and do the same workout time and time again then it becomes easier because the body and mind adapt. This is great, but for the purposes of weight loss (to avoid plateau), to increase strength or to progress overall fitness, then changes need to be made to your workout every few weeks.
Using Incorrect Form or Technique
It is crucial to avoid injury and maximise results by learning the correct technique and form for all exercise, but it is especially important when using weights to improve strength. In a gym environment you will have access to Gym Instructors or, for greater knowledge, a Personal Trainer to teach proper technique.
Your goals need to be realistic for you. Yes, they should always be challenging, but it’s also important that they are achievable otherwise you are bound to become disillusioned, de-motivated and will be more likely to give up exercise before you start to see any real results.