By: Rich McLoughlin – Contributing Writer
Editors Note: Rich McLoughlin is a senior exercise science major whose life experiences have led him to motivate others toward personal fitness. McLoughln is a certified personal trainer.
We’ve all heard, “New year new you,” right? Consider rethinking that. Chances are you had a pretty good 2013, I mean the majority of it was spent at UD so it couldn’t have been that bad. And most likely, 2014 will be just as great if not a better year. So a complete revamping of your personal lifestyle may not be necessary. However, there is nothing wrong with picking one or two things to really try to focus on improving, which for many people is usually fitness. That’s where I am hopefully able to offer some motivation and advice.
The Science Stuff
A recent meta-analysis study done in 2013 by the British Journal of Health Psychology and a decade’s worth of other exercise studies determined that many people who intend to get fit for their New Year’s resolution give up the noble pursuit only two weeks into the new year. The study also noted about half of the pursuers making it only to June before they call it quits. Even the consistent exerciser who has been making their way to the gym on a normal basis will struggle to continue onto the new year with about 25 percent of those people throwing in the towel as well.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to the reason people give up on working out or fail making it to the gym at all, but it is typically a mix of psychological, physiological, and genetic reasons. There are other reasons like not having the time or not really knowing where to start on a workout, but according to a review published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine people who are extroverts find it easier to stick to an exercise regimen, while people who tend to be “agreeable” do not. Interesting stuff, but it really comes down to making it a habit and a priority at least half of the week, which isn’t asking too much.
Plan it Out
Sundays are usually days to catch up on some work, but they can also be the day you plan out the rest of your exercise schedule for the week. A quick look at your weekly schedule to find some down time, and then just give yourself one hour a day to make it to the gym. Write it down or set a reminder in your phone, that way you won’t be able to forget it. If eating out or not having enough time to prepare quality meals is also a problem you’re working on, consider making your lunch and dinners on Sunday. Grill up a ton of chicken or prepare your salads, put them in a plastic container in the fridge and you’re good to go for the week. There is essentially zero nutritional value lost if you keep the food covered and in the fridge.
Sticking to the Plan
If you’re never really sure what you should be doing at the gym, there are some really good websites and apps that offer great workouts and even monthly plans that are easy to follow (suggestions can be see to the right). The RecPlex also provides opportunities from open court hours to play basketball for the competitor in you, the rock climbing wall for your adventurous side, fitness classes if your looking for a push, and even personal trainers if you’re really looking to stick to it. Mix those up consistently and it can be two-fold. You’ll eventually get yourself into good shape and it’ll break up the monotony that can come with exercising.
Stick to that plan you made on Sunday, and it should be smooth sailing. Get over that two week hump, and at least give it a month worth of trying.
The “New” You
Everything is in place, you’ve got your plan that you laid out on Sunday, your meals are prepared and prepped to be eaten (which maybe took one hour at the most), and you’re ready to become the “new “ you. Remember, real results take time and commitment but you are more than capable of achieving your fitness goals. I guarantee daily exercise will give you more energy, a better shape, the ability to perform better in school, and even a sense of pride and happiness, generating a version of yourself that you’ll love and your friends and family will love. Those are the facts. Now it’s up to you and only you to make it all happen.
As always, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any fitness questions or are looking for some advice to make your workouts work for you.