5 Ways to Prevent Burnout & Stick with Your New Year’s Resolution Program
By Todd Tampke, BSc. Exercise Sports Science
Inner Element Fitness General Manager
Your life is an accumulation of your choices, and this includes your New Year’s nutrition and fitness programs. One extra value meal from the fast food joint is not going to make a difference in your waistline or bicep size. If you really want to see your body change, you need consistency over time. This means preventing burnout and sticking with the program that you set rather than creating an untenable program and giving up on it two months later.
The following tips will help you maintain a consistent program so that you can begin to see results when you are supposed to – after you have put in a few months of work. Take in these best practices so that this year can be different from all of the previous and you can really begin to change your body and your mind.
There is really no need to try to immediately emulate the supplemental program of the latest Mr. Universe at the beginning of your weightlifting program. Natural food sources are always best when you are getting started because of their bioavailability. The habits you set in seeking out such foods are almost as important as the nutrition you receive from them.
Research has actually shown, however, that a whole food diet cannot provide you the appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals that you need to meet recommended standards. Nutrition replacements and supplements are a convenient (and some would say, essential) option that should accompany your program.
It is common knowledge that supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This does not mean there is no oversight on the industry – there is still a standard that separates good supplements from the ones that are not worth the powder they are ground into. Staying away from proprietary blends is a good way to reduce your exposure to questionable doses of active ingredients. You also don’t need to worry about so-called “delete” supplements.
Stick to the basics – carbohydrates before workouts for energy, proteins after workouts for recovery, and the personal recommended pattern of vitamins and minerals unique to your makeup in between. If you’re not sure, ask a nutrition professional!
Use the Buddy System
Who is on the same path as you are and wants to share in your victories? Take inventory and recruit a partner. Your colleagues from work, that new buddy you met at the gym, your cousin with the gym membership – any of these people can help you get to the next level of your nutrition or fitness program.
It is always helpful to buddy up with someone who has the same goals. For instance, if your goal is weight gain, then you shouldn’t prioritize someone who is looking to lose 30 pounds for bikini season. If you have someone on the same path, you can compare notes and trade techniques for more effective workouts and nutritional programs.
And, when temptation strikes – as it inevitably will – you have a means of support already in place. Someone you can call or text to help back you up and give you the encouragement (or tough love) to make the decision best for you and achieving your goals.
Write It Down
Writing down your goals engages your senses more, which increases your retention rate, which increases your rate of success. This is very important if you are looking to maintain a consistent program. When you write things down, you also increase your personal accountability. Those notes in your pad may as well be your conscience, looking at you over your shoulder and telling you that you need to finish just one more set.
As you complete those sets, it is also important to note progress. Good nutrition and fitness programs are both built on gradual efforts that feature incremental improvements. These improvements may be difficult to discern at the beginning of a program. If you write them down, however, you have a verified record of what you are able to accomplish last week and what you need to accomplish this week in order to surpass your previous best efforts.
Writing down your accomplishments also gives you a standard by which to celebrate. “Celebrate often” is a very important tip that will be discussed later. Suffice it to say that quantifying your successes makes it much easier to celebrate them.
Track Your Success
What good is putting in all that work at the gym and in the kitchen if you do not track the improvements that are coming from your efforts? There is medical evidence that meticulously tracking your success improves the efficiency of weight loss programs. It certainly follows that this would be the case for any kind of nutritional program or fitness program. Even if you do not take the results of the previously linked study to heart, there is definitely something to the ego boost that anyone receives when noting improvement over time.
Celebrating is key to ongoing success and defeating burnout. Choosing the rewards is key. There’s no hard and fast rule that says it has to always be one thing. Maybe it’s a new pair of shoes, or new equipment for your favorite hobby. How about a massage or spa day? Whatever they are, make a list of rewards that are meaningful for you, and assign them to your different milestones.
For instance, when you eat out, eat out! The beauty of eating out is that you are paying for the enjoyment of food. There is no reason to pay extra money for convenience without satisfying the craving that made you want to eat out in the first place! Too many people make the decision to starve themselves right after the new year only to find themselves back at square one in March. Get your fill at the buffet. However, here’s a rule you can follow to balance your enjoyment and your nutrition.
The 20-minute Rule: You will always feel the full range of your satiety around 20 minutes into the meal. The slower you eat, the less you will eat. Keep this in mind when you are eating out. Take your time. Chew for taste and not for granularity. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the company! You’ll eat less and feel just as good.
Pro Tip: When you are spicing your foods, don’t overdo it! Ketchup is fabulous on a plate of hot fries, but don’t forget that ketchup has calories, too. You can definitely treat yourself, but don’t slather the plate. This consistency and discipline are what will make the difference in a successful New Year’s nutrition program and a stagnant one.
Slow and steady wins the race. Burnout simply means that you were trying too hard to achieve something in the present that was meant for you in the future. Slow down and enjoy the journey. This attitude will certainly help you stick with your New Year’s resolution program and any other goals that you decide to initiate throughout your life.
Feeling the burn(out)? Need help getting on track with a program that you want to maintain? Let’s talk! Ask me and we can set up time to go over where you are, what you want to achieve and more fun ways to get you there.
DISCLAIMER Please recognize the fact that it is your responsibility to work directly with your physician before, during, and after seeking fitness consultation. As such, any information provided is not to be followed without the prior approval of your physician. If you choose to use this information without the prior consent of your physician, you are agreeing to accept full responsibility for your decision.