Personal Fitness, More Than Exercise
-Dan Allen, DPT
Resolutions are made leading up to every January 1st, but unfortunately, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. If your goal involved becoming a healthier you, maybe you joined a gym, or started a calorie deficient diet, or even opted for a “Dry January.” Honestly, you should be commended for your effort. The decision to improve your health is a good one. The problem is that health is complex and requires a plan with a great deal of patience and persistence to achieve.
The Plan of Attack is Crucial
From personal experience I remember the moments when I would walk into the gym and feel overwhelmed by the numerous choices of what could be done for the workout. Usually, I would simply step onto the treadmill or elliptical and try to sweat for awhile before hopping off without second-guessing my choice to workout that way. Surely, this is not bad. On the contrary those minutes were helpful for my heart health and kept my caloric burn above zero. However, I now see those moments were wasted opportunities that could have been remedied with a clear goal in mind.
The key to success is setting the right kind of goals and developing a plan to achieve them. Your plan needs enough detail to drive successful completion with enough freedom to modify when changes need to be made. The right plan of action involves a team to hold you accountable to ensure that you don’t drop your resolution by February.
The Right Kind of Goals
When I take on a client in personal training I help that person come up with clearly defined goals, so that we can mutually work to develop a plan for success. The plan should be focused beyond the most common goal of losing “x” amount of pounds.
When considering human motivation we know that pain can be a uniquely powerful tool to help us perform a behavior in hopes of feeling less pain. Sales people and marketers use these tools to encourage buyers to choose their product, whether or not they truly need or want it.
Salespeople have the skill of displaying their product in a way that gives soothing relief to one of our pain points. We can use this technique in ourselves to help instigate lasting change. So, is the point of losing weight just a matter of having less mass on the scale or is it more psychologically complex? Thus, your goals need to go beyond a number. The goal needs to correspond to something that really matters to you. What hurts you so much right now that you can’t do, but you would do anything to be able to?
Personal training should also focus on more factors of your health beyond your weight or body mass index. Training should focus on other health variables. For example, at the end of 2017 I had a client come to me for training who had an A1C, a measure of blood sugar levels, of 12.0, which would put her in the range of being very dangerous blood sugar and potentially deadly. By setting goals, increasing physical activity, and being held accountable, she lowered her A1C to a much healthier 6.5. That type of change is not one that will show up on the scale, but it is the kind of change that will keep you alive and functioning.
How to Stay Consistent
A lifestyle change is not a single moment in time, it is every moment in time. Patience and persistence is truly the key. The goal of all fitness intervention by a professional should be to educate, guide, and prepare someone to manage their own health.
If you would like to schedule a consultation to talk about what we offer for personal fitness training, please reach out via email dan@AGADAPT.com or phone (952)303-4550.