We are two weeks into January. How are the resolutions going?
I’ve seen a steady influx of new people joining the club over the last couple of weeks and this year I have noticed something new. The people that are coming in to join my health club seem to have more of a clue than previous years.
In the past I have had people coming in to join in January with ideas that they will be buff and beautiful in weeks (just like the magazine promised). They believe that a few weeks in the gym will make up for all the overeating, drinking and general bad food choices that they have enjoyed over the last however many years. Not even considering that they didn’t get to the shape they were in that fast.
This year the people I am meeting seem to have a firmer grasp of the journey that is fat loss. They understand that they will not reach their goals in a matter of weeks or even months. I have even had a few tell me they know it could take years for them to get where they want to be but they are ready to start the process. I have had conversations with people about how they are combining healthy eating programmes with exercise and how they can make the most of their gym time, and my favourite conversation has to be with a lady (in her fifties) who has never used a gym before asking if someone can show her how to use the free weights because she has read that resistance training is better for fat loss than cardio. I was so pleased to book her in with one of my gym staff for a consultation.
I was aware of the shift in focus towards the importance of nutrition when exercising within the fitness world but what I was not aware of was that some of that research and new found knowledge has leaked its way over to main stream media. People are starting to realise that the health myths of old are just that… myths! It is becoming more widely accepted that fat does not make you fat, that fruit juice is not all that good for you and that diets don’t mean starving yourself. That final statement however may not be catching on quite so well…
I say that because there has been a distinct pattern over the last couple of weeks, and it goes a little something like this:
Monday- Bonkers from the moment we open, all classes packed gym busy pool busy everyone on it.
Thursday- not so much
Friday – even less
Saturday- Morning bonkers, afternoon dead, evening no interest
Sunday- Morning no change from the rest of the year.
I have a theory and it’s pretty much general consensus, DIET’S START ON MONDAY! Everyone is keen and energised and full of good intentions, they hit the gym, they cut the calories they drink less coffee and more water and they feel awesome. Tuesday they are still feeling great, full of motivation cracking out the gym time or classes or whatever, the diet is still on point all is going well. Wednesday they are starting to flag. The hard work and strict eating are starting to take their toll on the energy reserves and tiredness is kicking in, but the dedicated push on because it’s doing them good. Thursday, they really should have taken Wednesday off! It’s been hard staying focused at work, even harder resisting the treats at work. The diet has gone from enjoyable and interesting to part of the reason you are failing to find the motivation to get to the gym. By Friday it’s all gone wrong, the gym is out the window, and they are trying to justify the take away because cooking another low calorie high veggie dinner is just not going to happen. Then it’s the weekend, Friday nights treat meal has either given them the energy needed to get up and back to the gym, out for a run or whatever. Or it has caused the worst case of lethargy they’ve ever experienced and getting out of bed is a struggle. Either way joints and muscles ache, they are stiff sore and hungry and no matter how much they try they can’t ignore the cravings. It all goes out the window because by God they have earned a rest, but then it’s Monday again and they are feeling guilty so begin the cycle again.
As I said, it’s a theory. But it does make sense, and I’ll explain why.
You see although combining a calorie deficient diet with exercise will help you achieve your goals, you are burning more calories than you are consuming. So you are going to be tired, you are going to start craving sugary and salty foods, you will start to lose motivation and you will power is going to weaken, because you aren’t eating enough!! It’s the catch twenty-two of fat loss, you need to eat less than you burn but you need fuel to get through your day. The problem with a lot of new gym goers is that they cut calories too quickly causing this negative cycle. The reason it all goes wrong at the weekend is because they do so well at the beginning of the week, they do well at the beginning because they overeat on the weekend. The solution is to take a rest day mid-week and ease up on the diet a touch that day, allow yourself a few extra carbs, let the body replenish the fuel reserves, that way you will have the motivation to plough through to the weekend with will power intact and hopefully survive the temptation on the weekend.
This time of year is tricky for those new to exercise or dieting (or the combination of both) and as with everything we do as individuals the formula changes from person to person so finding that balance is purely trial and error but if you don’t rush to reach your goals and you give yourself a little, and I mean little, slack every couple of days, you will find the journey far less daunting.
As always good luck and take care.