Athletic Training Column

Nobody is perfect, but you can still do it

By Jenn Mroz | Jan 23, 2014
Photo by: File Jenn Mroz

If you ask people what their New Year’s resolution was, a large number of them would probably reply “to get in shape.”
The new year brings motivation and enthusiasm, but they don’t always last.  You may have seen funny photos comparing what the gym looks like on Jan. 1 (filled to capacity) and then on Jan. 2 (completely empty).  It can be difficult to stick to a workout regimen, but this article will offer some tips on making it a little easier to keep your promise to yourself.
First and foremost, make sure you are physically capable of beginning a workout program.  Consult with your physician if you’re unsure.
Choose a type of workout that appeals to you; do something that you’re going to enjoy whether it’s walking, jogging, weight-lifting, swimming, or aerobics.  I’ve always said that I would rather walk five miles than jog one.  Cross training is the latest fitness trend, such as CrossFit or BodyPump.  It’s extremely popular, and those that are regularly involved with it love it.  But if you were to participate in these programs and were unhappy, you wouldn’t stick with it.  You should “want” to workout.  That is what’s going to keep you exercising consistently.
Find a “workout buddy” for moral support.  Sometimes having another person to hold you accountable can help.  You motivate each other.  One day you may not feel like exercising, but your buddy will be there to push you, and vice versa.  Someone to talk to while you’re exercising can also make the time pass faster and before you know it, your workout is finished.
There are so many options for where to exercise.  There are fitness centers, like the Health and Fitness Center at MedWest Haywood.  The benefit of a fitness center is the variety of equipment and classes available as well as the expertise of the personal trainers and exercise physiologists.  Living in beautiful western North Carolina, there are plenty of outdoor activities available.  Walk or jog around Lake Junaluska.  Go for a hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Explore downtown Asheville on foot.  The possibilities are endless.
Change your routine if it gets boring.  It’s not only good for your psyche, but also for your body.  I see it frequently in athletes that participate in only one sport, year-round.  Not only do they get mentally burned out from the same activity day after day, their muscles and joints also get worn down as well.  It’s called over-training.  Variety in your exercise will keep you energized, mind and body, as well as providing more well-rounded fitness.
Too tired to exercise?  Find a time that works best for you.  It’s not easy to find the motivation to exercise when you’re exhausted from a long day at work.  If you’re a morning person, plan to do your workout before going to work or school.  Exercise during your lunch break.  You may find you have more energy once you begin working out.  Scheduling a time to exercise by writing in your calendar may make you less likely to cancel since you already have the time blocked off.
The little things can add up.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  When looking for a space in the parking lot, choose one further away from the building so you have to walk.  Don’t have time to get in an hour of exercise?  Take fifteen minutes and do something.  At the end of the day, the calories burned from doing those little things can certainly make a difference.
Don’t beat yourself up.  Nobody’s perfect.  You may slip and miss a workout, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising all together.  Give yourself permission to have an off day.  Set realistic goals for yourself and write them down.  If your goals are so high that it’s impossible to reach them, you’ll get frustrated and quit.  Once you achieve a goal, set a new one to strive towards.  You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and a renewed motivation to keep going.
Next time I’ll discuss heart health.  Until then, stay healthy.