With any new year comes millions of resolutions to lose weight, get fit, begin a new exercise program, or just plain, live healthier. And as popular thinking would probably agree, making it past the three-week mark in any new fitness program is crucial.
And here we are, almost a full month into the new year. How are things going for you? For many, the initial motivation is completely gone, and the adrenaline has worn off. That fitness program which used to feel new and exciting now feels like a chore or even a burden. And others may have already thrown in the towel (literally), feeling discouraged and feeling as if they have failed, yet again.
But friend, I have some good news for you! This doesn’t have to be the end of your story. You are not alone. Having noticed this trend at the gym year after year, it got me thinking that there are a lot of people out there who could really use some encouragement to just keep going when they hit that three-week wall! But when you don’t feel like working out anymore, how are you supposed to find the motivation to push through?
Rather than offering my own insights for this particular post, I decided to glean some wisdom and advice from two highly qualified fitness instructors whose classes I regularly attend. I have literally spent hundreds of hours in their group fitness classes, and they consistently push me to my limits and keep me motivated to reach my personal best. Although I know these instructors locally, their influence reaches far beyond our local gym.
Allow me to introduce you to Amber Kuphal and Angie Reeves, both motivating and talented leaders with a passion for fitness and helping others achieve their fitness goals. If you wish to read their bio before reading the Q&A, scroll down to the bottom of the post first. For now, let’s see what they had to say about powering through and staying motivated in your health and fitness goals in the new year…
What are the biggest mistakes people make when beginning an exercise program or joining a gym?
AMBER: “I think the biggest mistake is those who expect things to happen immediately or the quick fix/magical solution mentality, which leads to giving up too soon. Healthy exercise habits truly have to be a lifestyle choice for life. It doesn’t mean you have to live at the gym or work out for hours every single day – what it does mean is that you build exercise into your schedule. Write it in.”
ANGIE: “One of the biggest mistakes is expecting things to happen too fast – setting those expectations so high. If it’s taken you a year to put on ten pounds, you can’t expect to drop it in two weeks. We often see people start out super strong, but then when the soreness happens or the newness wears off, they quit.”
For someone beginning or renewing their commitment to an exercise program, what would be your biggest tips for success?
AMBER: “Accountability. Find a friend with the same bottom line goals – to live a healthier lifestyle. You can check in with one another, work out together, attend classes together, and encourage one another. However, I realize some people may be overwhelmed with too many people at the gym or in a fitness class. You can still find a trustworthy friend to confide in via phone, text, email with home workouts.”
ANGIE: “As someone works to commit to an exercise program in the new year, he or she should focus as much or more on food prep and trying to eat “clean.” 80% of our results come from how we fuel our bodies. We can work out for hours each day, but if we go home and eat junk – we’re going to feel like junk!”
What advice or encouragement would you offer to someone when they hit that 3-week wall and lose their motivation to keep going?
AMBER: “Remember, it is a lifelong commitment. Our physical health will change with age, circumstances (pregnancy, health-related sickness, injuries…), and well, just seasons of life. Think long-term quality of life and health benefit vs. short-term outward appearance.”
ANGIE: “Attitude is everything. Whether we think we can or not, we’re right! We need to speak to ourselves in a positive voice. We need to be patient with ourselves, and we need to focus on the things we know matter most.”
What specific tips can you offer for someone starting a fitness program (someone who has not been exercising for a very long time and is very out of shape)?
AMBER: “Every day is a new opportunity to better your health. It is never too late to start.”
ANGIE: “Plan ahead. Schedule your daily workout time and make that a non-negotiable, just as you would a work appointment. And start out reasonably. If you push so hard you can’t move for the next three days, you’ve set yourself up for failure! In addition, I’d say be sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated is so important when you’re making changes like adding physical activity.”
What about the person in relatively good shape who just needs a little kick start in the new year and a renewed commitment to stick with it? (a “yo-yo” workout type of person)
ANGIE: “The MOST impact you can make is by concentrating on what you put in your mouth! Shop heavy in the outside (perimeter) of the grocery store – focusing on the produce, lean proteins, frozen veggies, dairy, etc. Prep food ahead of time, so you have healthy foods when you’re needing a snack or you’re in a pinch for a quick meal. The more you plan, the more success you’ll have in staying on track. And when you fuel your body right, you’ll have more energy to work out and to give your all in your workouts. It’s a beautiful cycle!”
Or how about someone who is fit but just wants to take their fitness to the next level in the new year?
AMBER: “Cross train. If you favor cardio activities, try adding in strength training. If you favor group fitness classes, try the weight room. Basic idea is to think outside the box. Include cardio, strength, and flexibility into your routine.”
Can you share an encouraging piece of advice about the importance of committing to a fitness routine/program?
AMBER: “What encourages me greatly are the people who have truly stuck with it. Months, years go by, people come and go in different seasons – pregnancies, injuries, health issues, etc. and yet they are still at it. Faithfulness and dedication month after month, year after year. Seeing those same faces at the gym is priceless and so rewarding because many of those stories are just committed people making a daily choice to care for their health and should encourage us all.”
What do you love most about helping/teaching people in their pursuit to be fit and healthy?
ANGIE: “My favorite part of my job is seeing others fall in love with living their best lives! I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself, to my limits. To getting every last ounce I could out of my body, being stronger than any excuse. Helping others find that in themselves too – that’s what I truly love!”
A Few More Words of Advice to Wrap Up…
AMBER: “Get down to the heart of the matter when setting health goals. For me, I truly want to care as best as I can (which sometimes isn’t all that great I will admit) to honor God with my body. Trying to keep an eternal mindset, even with my fitness goals, keeps me on track and is a lot more meaningful than just hitting a new personal record or a new physical achievement. Have fun with it too, just have fun with it.”
Even though many of you reading this post won’t have an opportunity to work out with Amber or Angie, I sincerely hope they have inspired you with their words of encouragement and advice. If you’ve already thrown in the towel this year, pick it up, get back to your fitness program, and remind yourself that this is a journey and not a destination. Rather than thinking of your new year’s resolutions simply as fitness goals, resolve to make healthy exercise a way of life. Your body will thank you for it later.
Upcoming Post Teaser – If you’re looking for some tangible workout motivation, stay tuned in the coming weeks because I will be doing a product review and hosting a giveaway for a Momentum Motivate Wrap, which you will notice Amber and Angie are wearing in the photos below. 🙂
Amber Kuphal has been teaching group fitness for more than 16 years and has taught a variety of formats including: boot camp, BOSU®, core, Les Mills, strength, small group training, TRX™, and senior fitness. She is a NETA Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), an ACE and AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, a TRX® certified instructor, and co-owner of faith-based fitness FUEL. She is also a certified Les Mills instructor for BODYATTACK™, BODYSTEP™, and CXWORX™. Her role with Les Mills includes serving as a national trainer for both BODYATTACK™ and BODYSTEP™ and as an AIM facilitator. She is also a Reebok sponsored athlete, and most recently, she began working as a Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor in the Wellness Department for Presbyterian Homes and Services.
Angie Reeves is a 3 Star Diamond Coach with Team BeachBody. She has been coaching people through their at-home fitness programs for about 5 ½ years, providing accountability and motivation, as well as teaching them to meal plan and incorporate healthier choices. She is also an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor and has been teaching group fitness in a gym setting for three years. She is a certified instructor for a variety of formats including Insanity, PiYo, and KettleWorx.