Keep going: Kym Herron Scott, owner of The Athletic Club  (left) watches as Judy Benevides, management team member, works out on the elliptical. *Photo by B. Candace Ray
Keep going: Kym Herron Scott, owner of The Athletic Club (left) watches as Judy Benevides, management team member, works out on the elliptical. *Photo by B. Candace Ray
Timothy Ferriss, author of the number one New York Times’ best seller, The 4-Hour Workweek recently released his new book, The 4 Hour Body. He jokes that the major fears of modern man could be boiled down to two things: too much e-mail and getting fat.

Upon the arrival of yet another New Year comes — you guessed it — New Year’s resolutions, the most popular of which are a change in exercise and diet. Is it time for an attitude adjustment? If you have the wrong attitude about fitness, you’ve already set yourself up for failure.

Most people think of exercise as punishment, obligation, pain, and as a time-consuming bore.

However, exercise is a break from a stressful day; a way to boost energy, an opportunity to get physical and rest the mind, reward the body for working so hard, ‘me time’, and a way to immediately improve quality of life.

As we all make extreme promises from time to time, New Year’s resolutions work the same way.

Let’s look at making realistic goals versus extreme resolutions

  • I will go to the gym three days a week increasing to four days as I get comfortable versus I will go to the gym and work out every day
  • I will dust off my treadmill and use it a certain number of times per week versus I will train for an ironman triathlon
  • I will hire a trainer to teach me the best way to weight train versus I will use my dumbbells for something other than paperweights, if I can find them

You get the idea. Resolutions sound great when you make them, but the reality is often a far cry from what you imagine. What happens when the thrill is gone?

What can you do in order to not abandon your resolutions?

  • Results take time. Be patient and consistent. It can take weeks or months to see significant changes. Don’t think you’re doing something wrong and give up before you see these results.
  • Plan ahead. Making permanent changes requires planning. Hitting the gym without a clear idea of what to do can lead to frustrations and confusion and for many, quitting.

Quality clubs have the expertise to help you reach your goals. Some sessions may be included with your membership, such as an assessment and goal setting session, programme orientation and personal training session just to get you started and then following up within three months.

  • Set realistic goals. Keep them specific, measureable, achievable, trackable and reasonable. Stick with goals that work for your body, your lifestyle and what you are willing to do with your exercise time.
  • Start slowly. It takes time to build strength, power and endurance; allow your body the time to adjust. This is essential for permanent change. Add small challenges each week to progress.
  • Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. Getting healthy and losing weight is important, but it doesn’t have to be grim.

Get moving with something you enjoy, such as a dance inspired class like Zumba, or punch it out in a martial arts based class like BodyCombat.

Change your attitude about fitness and you will be more likely to stick with it.

Kym’s weight control tips

  • Weight training is the key to effective fat burning. The more muscle you carry the more efficiently you will burn fat.
  • Increase your calorie burn by exercising at higher intensities. The fat burning zone (55 to 65 per cent of your maximum heart rate) can be misleading.
  • Quicken your metabolism by eating six small healthy meals a day instead of three larger ones. Eat a portion of protein (chicken, salmon, or egg whites) and carbohydrates (sweet potato, pasta, or oatmeal) with each meal. Add veggies when you can. Use performance shakes or bars to supplement some of your meals if necessary.
  • Portion control. I like to use my clenched fist or palm of my hand to represent the size of portion for each of rice, chicken and vegetables, as an example.
  • Plan your grocery list in advance, not when at the store.
  • Water, water, water. Drink at least 10 cups per day. It keeps you hydrated and fills a temporary void if hungry.
  • Give yourself a break once a week without beating yourself up. Eat what you like and rest your body.
  • When it comes to fat loss what matters most is how many calories you burn as opposed to how many calories you take in.

Timothy Ferriss sums it up like this. “Take adherence seriously. Will you actually stick with this change until you hit your goal?

“If not, find another method, even if it’s less effective and less efficient. The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit!”