By Coach Kendra
Congratulations! The fact that you are here reading this means that you are well on your way to acheiving your health and fitness goals! Taking the first few steps are often the hardest, whether that is simply exploring your fitness options, taking our Fundamentals Course or signing up to be a member, you should be proud for seeking positive and healthy change in your life!
Sticking to a new fitness program can be difficult at first for many reasons. Trying something new is really hard, changing habits that have been ingrained in us for years is exceedingly difficult, and with our busy lifes it seems like we can always come up with an excuse. Here are my best tips for how to make this a lifelong lifestyle change that you will reap the benefits from for years to come!
1) Reward yourself for the small achievements!
Find what motivates you and plan out small rewards for yourself that will keep you motivated. Maybe if you go to the gym 10 times in one month, you will reward yourself with a new pair of shoes. Or perhaps if you go all week without eating sweets, you will reward yourself by going out to icecream with friends (because it’s all about balance if this is going to be a permanent lifestyle change).
This might even be how you talk to yourself—after a really tough workout you can reward yourself by jamming to your favorite song on the way home and allowing yourself to feel accomplished.
Whatever it is—find what makes you tick and be sure that you are looking for the small things to celebrate. Write down you PR’s on the PR board, post to Instagram when you hit a goal, do whatever you need to do to celebrate the small wins.
2) Get rid of the all or nothing mindset and be gentle when things don’t go your way.
A lifelong fitness journey is full of little steps forward, the ocassional step backwards, and everything in between—that’s why we call it a journey. But, how we address those little (or big) steps back can make all the difference. You made a “mistake” (think had an extra piece of cake at your friend’s birthday party or skipped the gym for a week), so what? Process why that happened, set-up new strategies to prevent it from happening next time, and then leave it in the past. Forgive yourself and focus on the new week ahead of you!
It’s okay to have off weeks and sometimes our body needs that because we are recovering from a really stressful week at work. Be honest with your set-backs, own them, and then move-on.
In addition, throw the all or nothin mindset out of the window. So what if you had a cookie at lunch? Your one cookie didn’t ruin your entire day, come to the gym and give it your all and keep on keeping on! Precision Nutrition calls this the “Dial Method”.
3) Find a fitness buddy!
Community is a HUGE part of why so many people love ECCF and are successful with the program. Find a buddy to journey with you, pick you up when you are down, and hold you accountable. Whether it is someone you graduated Fundamentals with, a friend you made in class, your partner, your roommate, or your cousin who does CrossFit in Texas—we aren’t meant to go it alone.
Along with this, I encourage new athletes to find a class that works well for their schedule and be consistent at that time. This will help you get to know your fellow classmates and coach really well—making it even easier to come to the gym after a hard day.
4) Stick with it when it gets hard—and it will!
Sometimes, you just have to put your head down and keep grinding. Changing your lifestyle, losing 10 lbs, or trying to gain strength is a slow process that requires hard work and dedication. It won’t always be fun, it won’t always be easy—but it will always be worth it.
I have walked out of the gym in tears many times because it was hard, I was exhausted, I was disappointed with my WOD, or I just wan’t where I wanted to be. But, that doesn’t mean we give up. We call our fitness buddy, reward ourselves for just BEING there and getting through it, and then we keep on doing the work. That’s why on the whiteboard sometimes you will just see a smiley face by my name—because I was there and I did it and that is enough. On those days scores don’t matter, you SHOWED UP.
5) Assess your goals and set realistic ones.
In CrossFit we talk a lot about your WHY. Why are you here doing the work? Why does this matter to you? Why do you have the current goals that you do? Knowing your why helps you keep going when it gets really hard, but can also help inform that kind of work you do in the gym (but that’s for another blog post).
Understanding why you want a six pack and all of the hard work it will take to get there will help you stay on track during the tough times. Do you really want to lose 20 lbs or do you just want to feel better in your skin? Understanding your why will help you set realistic goals. It’s okay to be honest with yourself, maybe your why isn’t to change your outward appearance at all, but because throwing some weight around in the gym makes you feel empowered and keeps you sane! Maybe your why is to stay healthy for life, so your goal is being consistent in the gym.
Sitting down and honestly relfecting on what you want and why can help keep you going when things get tough.
The hope is that after a while these mindset shifts will become second nature and the fitness routine you have worked so hard to implement into your life will become a lifelong practice that you enjoy. And remember, slow and steady always wins the race.
See you in the gym!