by John A. Ruibal
Many folks use the New Year holiday to make resolutions to get in better shape or eat healthier, only to find that by the first of February they are back to their old habits. When my athletes or clients want to have a New Year’s resolution, I never discourage them. In fact, their resolution can be used to jump-start their training or nutrition plan.
Unfortunately, I have seen many athletes start a new training plan only to give up on it after missing a few workouts or quit because the results weren’t coming fast enough. The key to success is staying on track – here’s how:
1. Make your resolutions obtainable and realistic. If you have a goal to lose weight, be realistic. Weight loss of 1-3 pounds a week is reasonable and obtainable. When you see the Biggest Loser participants drop double digits in a week, you have to remember where they started and the support system they have in place 24 hours a day. The question I always ask my clients is, “If you were 30–50 pounds lighter this time next year would you be satisfied?” When you look at it this way, small adjustments in diet and exercise will get you to your goal.
2. Keep yourself accountable. You can join a fitness program, get a trainer or get a training partner. Your coach or training partner will keep you on track. There will be times when you don’t want to get out of bed in the cold weather to do a workout. You will be more likely to show up to the workout if you know your coach or training partner is waiting in the dark and cold. Conversely, you can be the motivator for your training partner to make it to the workout.
3. Celebrate the small victories. Award yourself when you meet interim goals throughout the year. Be proud that you are seeing progress. If you have increased your workouts from 30 to 60 minutes over 4-6 weeks, give yourself a reward – enjoy a nice meal or night out. Then use this small victory to get you to your next goal. The New Year is a great time to reflect and set new goals. Use your resolutions to motivate and chart your new healthy behaviors. Set realistic goals, motivate your training partners and celebrate the small victories on your way to your ultimate prize.
John Ruibal is a registered dietitian and is board-certified in sports nutrition from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He coordinates the distance running classes available at both iRun Texas locations in San Antonio. He has been running for more than 40 years and coaching for 25. To connect with John or learn more about his classes, visit www.iruntexas.net.