As I write this, it’s only January 4th … how many of you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions? Well below half of those who make resolutions are still keeping them by June. The most common resolution is to lose weight or get in better shape. People commonly buy gym memberships in December or early January and expect that to work. When it doesn’t, they come to me – usually that coincides with the first bit of warm weather in April and May. Since I’m in that business, that’s a good thing, but for now, let me offer some advice or tips to help you stay on track if you want to try it yourself.
Don’t try to do it all on the first day. People who have been away from exercising often begin their “I’m gonna exercise” program with a gung-ho attitude and lots of enthusiasm. I have clients that come to me in that same frame of mind. I am glad to see the eagerness, but it needs to be tempered to avoid overtraining. Doing too much, too soon causes excessive muscle soreness which usually leads to stopping training to recuperate. Resuming training is then approached with fear if it is resumed at all. Moderation is key. “Functional soreness” is what I prefer to see the day following training. Your should be sore enough to be reminded throughout the day that you trained … but fully able to do everything you want to do.
Supply your muscles with the proper fuel. Protein is absolutely necessary to repair the muscle fibers. Exercise breaks down muscle cells and the protein helps to rebuild them stronger and better than before. Neglect to repair the muscles, and your training becomes ineffective. I have helped lots of people who were guilty of doing just that. Fixing the problem resulted in dramatic improvements in energy, appearance and sense of well being. Also remember to include ample amounts of good complex carbohydrates from things like oatmeal, whole grain brown rice, sweet potatoes, yams and so on.
Enlist the help of a trainer or a training partner. Accountability is a HUGE benefit! If you are meeting someone at an appointed time who is going to make sure you train, you are more likely to be there for every training session. It is far easier to blow off training sessions when you have no one waiting on you to show up. Good trainers know how to get you going when you don’t feel like it and training partners are always good to have for spotting, competing with and just to have someone else there for encouragement. Good trainers make sure you do it right!
Remember that water is your friend. It is necessary to keep your systems operating to their potential. It WILL help you lose weight and can help to fend off hunger pangs – especially when taken with meals and/or fiber. A good rule of thumb is to figure 1/2 of your body weight and then drink that many ounces of water per day. If you’re far away from that point initially, build up to it over a week.
Eat something every 3 hours … until 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm. By eating SMALL amounts of food frequently – and knowing that – lets you know that you’re always fairly close to eating again. Your blood sugar levels remain more stable which also helps to stave off hunger pangs, and your energy levels will remain steady as well. Always include a protein and a complex carbohydrate at each meal or snack and keep them necessarily small.
Remain positive. There is usually a significant weight drop the first week. This is always encouraging, but don’t expect it to remain that way. As your body adapts to the new eating plan and increased workload, it dumps extras and much of that will be water weight. Your body will quickly adapt to this, and then the weight loss will slow.
Losing 1-2 lbs per week is what you should aim for. Losing more than that probably indicates you’re losing muscle as well. Losing muscle will cause your metabolism to slow down. When the scale doesn’t move – or moves in the wrong direction – don’t give up. This also is normal and expected. Keep after it and examine your diet and training to see if you’re allowing too much food – or some wrong foods in your diet. Then, see if your training program is accomplishing what you want and stimulating your metabolism. If everything checks out, accept it for what it is and continue training.
If you need help, contact me anytime!
Dave – Your Harford County, Maryland Personal Fitness Trainer
Results are what you’ll get when you train with me. I’m conveniently located in Forest Hill near the center of Harford County, Maryland. Clients come to me from Fallston, Jarrettsville, Bel Air, Forest Hill and Baltimore. I’ve got the experience, the ability, the knowledge and the success stories of my students to testify that my training is result driven and result based. Visit my webpage for more information.