Several weeks into 2011, many who vowed to eat better or exercise more have already returned to old habits.
Why is it so difficult for some people to keep the resolutions they make?
“I think people set unrealistic goals. They put too much pressure on themselves and end up with a feeling of failure, so they give up right away,” said Andrew Whitman.
Whitman is a certified personal trainer at Waupaca’s Health & Fitness Headquarters, who has worked with clients as young as 10 and as old as 82.
Often, people try to make too many changes – all at the same time.
Changing a diet, while also deciding to fit exercise into the mix, backfires on some.
Instead of sticking with the changes they set out to do, they feel overwhelmed and quit.
“It’s important to set small, attainable, direct goals. As you accomplish them, you get motivated to continue and your confidence grows,” he said. “I suggest to start with getting in a routine. Schedule a time to workout a few times a week. When you start planning stuff around it, you’re set.”
He recommends finding the time that fits best into one’s schedule, and Whitman says that as people accomplish small goals, their confidence grows.
Whitman said for those who have used excuses in the past, saying they do not know what to do or are too busy, a personal trainer is a good option for them.
“As a trainer, I will give you the confidence and show you that you can do it, no matter what your age, level or ability,” he said.
Whitman’s clients have included people who have injured their backs or had a stroke. “I have beginners to people who need me to kick their butt,” he said.
Having a trainer holds people accountable, Whitman said, because they do not want to miss their appointments.
There are hourly rates for personal trainers, and he said one does not need to be a member of Health & Fitness Headquarters in order to have a personal trainer.
Whitman also has in-home clients.
When it comes to exercise, most people know the benefits, he said.
“As you work out, your heart and lungs become more efficient, which equals less stress on your body,” he said. “Lower weight equals less stress on your whole body. Confidence equals less stress on your mind about yourself.”
Whitman says that when people exercise, they sleep better and are often motivated to eat healthier.
Some need help with a specific problem, such as back, knee or shoulder pain.
Exercise is something that people have to commit to themselves.
“You can’t force someone,” he said.
After the first of the year, fitness centers see people return and others decide to become members for the first time.
“But, then it dips. People get back to their old routine,” he said. “Everyone is busy, but are you too busy to be unhealthy when you’re older? It’s a quality of life, regardless of how long you live.”