Seeing it through
Getting into shape is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions – and yet, only eight per cent of people who set a sweeping goal for the year ahead see it through. But no matter when people decide to start hitting the gym, research suggests most dropouts from exercise programmes occur within the first six months.
Fitness pros tell Reader’s Digest that this trend is actually longstanding. So how can you make sure you’re part of that disciplined eight per cent? A few common missteps can serve as early clues for you to become aware you might be preparing to abandon your exercise goals.
You have an all-or-nothing approach
By far, the most common workout mistake experts say they see people make is doing too much, too soon. Exercise motivation is great – but overdoing it can not only fizzle your fitness passion, it may also lead to injuries that seriously set you back.
Trainer Ellen Dyverfeldt, suggests you should watch out for these signs that it may be time to scale things back:
- You’re dreading the thought of working out
- You’ve gotten an injury or ‘niggle’ and recovery is slow
- You are feeling more stressed
- Your sleep is poor
You hold yourself to certain expectations…
“I see people who were college athletes 20 years ago, but two decades at a desk since graduation has completely changed their bodies, but not their minds,” says personal trainer Anthony Maritato. Trying to force your way back to the intensity you think you should be able to handle often leads people to quit their programme early – or develop an overuse condition like tendinitis, bursitis, or stress reactions in the bones.
Maritato says the first two weeks of any training program should be at “such a low intensity that it almost feels like a waste of time.” That can include light cardio, strength work, and range-of-motion conditioning. Building this foundation slowly is incredibly valuable, as it allows you to accelerate your fitness more quickly in the next four, eight, and 12 weeks and beyond.