One of the hardest things to do sometimes as a personal trainer (besides getting up at 3:30 in the morning) is managing expectations. When you have a new client who is so excited to get started and wants to change every part of their life in the first couple of sessions, it’s hard to be the guy who is all, “whoa, slow down, let’s take things easy for a little bit.” But, as someone who has been in this game for more than a hot minute, that’s honestly the best thing I can do. The truth of the matter is, if we take it a little bit slower in the beginning, you’re going to respect me more later. If I could give just one piece of advice to everyone who is starting out on their fitness journey, it would definitely be… pace yourself. Those two simple words have the power to help you more than anything else I could say. Further down on the list would be sage words of wisdom like, “no, you don’t need to take out a loan to buy nothing but Lululemon” or “the top two reasons why you shouldn’t wear running shorts to a yoga class.”
I totally get it, we have all been programmed to want instant gratification, immediate results. Anything worth having is worth having now. But the true path to health and wellness is a journey of discovery, of what works for you, of what is realistic and sustainable. There is a reason why most all of the contestants from The Biggest Loser gain all their weight back (and then some!) They were thrown into a situation where all of a sudden they were expected to give 110% effort 100% of the time...sounds eerily similar to how some people attack their new years resolutions. They weren’t given the chance to start slowly and properly adapt to all the changes they were making. By pacing yourself, by starting out changing habits one at a time, you are laying the foundation for something that you can stick with, something that will last.
So, if you find yourself a couple months into the new year, a couple months into your new years resolutions and you are starting to feel frustrated and unmotivated at the gym… relax. Shift your focus towards long-term goals instead of immediate results. Losing 20 pounds is going to take a little while. Gaining 10 pounds of muscle, same thing, it’s gonna take a while. In the meantime though, you can focus on some short-term goals that will be easier to track, easier to adapt to, and that will lead you towards your long-term goals. For instance, instead of focusing on your goal of having six-pack abs (or whatever your goal is) make goals that will help take you there, like, this week I will go to the gym 4 times, or, I will cook a healthy dinner 3 nights this week. By pacing yourself, by setting these smaller goals, you will be a lot more successful with changing your habits and ultimately a lot more successful at reaching your long-term goals...without getting frustrated or burned out!