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Fighting Back When Resolutions Start to Fail

Fighting Back When Resolutions Start to Fail

Rick Coe

New year, new you—right? But what if you’ve stopped following those workout plans you so enthusiastically set at the end of 2012? You feel there’s no way to salvage those next-year-I’ll-run-a-marathon goals and you’re already giving up. But don’t!

Ken Clarke and Rick Coe, personal trainers who own Fitness Together studios in Montgomery County, share tips to help you stay on track with those 2013 fitness plans. Perhaps more importantly, Ken and Rick offer advice on what to do when things start going downhill.

How do you handle New Year’s resolutions, especially when they start to fail?

Ken: First and foremost, you have to document what you want to do. Anything that is not documented is not a plan, it’s just a wish. And make sure that your plan is realizable based on your schedule and other commitments.

Rick: Yes, people fail when they set unrealistic expectations for themselves. The simplest way to approach your goal is to­ just do it! I bet you’ve heard that before, but it’s the best advice. Go to the gym and create small little victories for yourself. And don’t be too hard on yourself for occasionally failing. Don’t beat yourself up over not losing 20 pounds. Celebrate the five pounds that you did take off!

Ken: And make small changes—concrete, measurable and substantive changes. Tell yourself, ‘I’m going to be more active’ and then decide what that means for you. Does it mean exercising once or four times a week? Remember, it has to fit your lifestyle and other commitments. Rick, did you have any resolutions for yourself this year?

Rick: This year? Hmm, I’ve got some resolutions but not around fitness … more like life resolutions.

Ken: Beautiful!

Rick: Yes, but last year I wanted to do 200 workouts in a year—a vigorous, continuous exercise for 30 minutes, 200 times in a year, something similar to a basketball game to make me sweat heavily. So I would shoot for 14 to 15 workouts in a month, but I’d actually end up doing just eight because I wouldn’t do a make-up session. Still, having a long-term workout goal last year really kept me active. And always making up for the lost sessions really mattered in the end.

Ken: You were really on it, my friend! I testify!

Rick: Yes, and the idea is to make up for lost workout sessions. How many clients do you have, Ken, that are on the schedule for three times a week, but their average is actually 1.5?

Ken: Might be most …

Rick: Right, that would be almost everybody! So if you missed your aerobics class today, go for a 30-minute run tonight.

Ken: Or take the kids out for a hike this weekend.

Rick: Just get it in when you can and broaden your horizons!

Researchers say that people set resolutions that are “too vague, too hard and too spontaneous.” Do you agree?

Rick: Yes, everybody should know and follow the acronym SMART goals—specific, measurable, action-oriented, repeatable and … What’s ‘T’? Help me out, Ken …

Ken: I think it’s time-based.

Rick: Time-based, right! So if you follow that, you won’t fall into that trap of too hard, too vague.

Ken: And that’s when you might need to look to someone else to help make sure your goals are realizable. If you start out Jan. 1 with I’m going to lose 20 pounds in the next three months, that might be a little aggressive. You might need something more appropriate for that timeframe.

Rick: I had this client one time, she told me she wanted to be under 150 pounds. This is somebody in their late 40s, early 50s. I said, “Great, when was the last time you weighed 150 pounds?” And she goes, “in high school!”

Ken: I’m seeing the challenge here …

Rick: Right! Not realistic. Hey, I want to be an astronaut—not gonna happen! So that’s when you have to step back and look for help, which goes back to Ken’s point. If she kept that goal and tried to do it on her own, she would have failed. But she sought out a fitness professional, and we broke down her goal and set small steppingstones to get there.

Ken: Yes, you have to look to a fitness professional or even a friend to make sure the goal is appropriate and you have the right plan in place to help you keep it. And we spend a lot of time on that when we have consultations with our clients … because when someone comes in with a goal that’s too lofty, we may not agree with it, and we just have to reset the goal.

What are your fitness plans for this year?

Ken: Actually, I’m relying on two of my trainers to get me off the chair and into my workout.  They’re my support system, and basically I’m tying a piece of their bonus to their making sure that I work out.

Rick: That’s a heck of a way to keep your payroll down!

Ken: It’s fun for them, fun for me. The key is that they look at my schedule and make sure I’m being held accountable. Even though I’m in the studio quite a bit, it’s very easy not to get your workout in.

Rick: Right! I think the biggest misnomer people have about fitness professionals is that it’s easier for us. I don’t know about you, Ken, but I don’t absolutely love working out! When I have free time, I’m not looking to climb a mountain or do extreme sports. No, my free time involves beer, traveling and … some combination of those two.

Ken: Oh, my goodness. He’s human after all.

Rick: Hey, we all have families, businesses and such, so it’s easier to take care of everything else but ourselves. But being in this business adds another layer of accountability, and we’ve got to live by example.

Ken: Yes, you can’t just talk about it. You’ve got to live it!

Rick: Live the dream, baby!

Ken: And the dream is a balanced life, something we talk with our clients about all the time. You’ve got to work, you’ve got to take care of family, and you’ve got to find time for your workout!

Kenneth Clarke is the owner of Fitness Together studio in Silver Spring.  Rick Coe is the owner of Fitness Together studio in Bethesda and Gaithersburg. You can find them and their local Fitness Together colleagues at www.ftcustomfitness.com, follow them on Facebook and on Twitter to get their health tips and fitness news.