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Tips on how to not quit on your fitness goals

Top trainers offer advice on how to avoid the Quitting Day urge

We are thick into winter, there is a raging pandemic, and many people are locked down in their homes. If there was ever a year when it was fine to quit on fitness goals, this would be it! But, keeping your fitness level high is a great way to distract from what is going on in the world, even if for a short time. There is an infinite number of live streaming and video fitness classes, and personal training sessions to help when times get tough. 

To help, we asked a number of top Under Armour fitness trainers to answer a few questions on how to keep on track. 

Kevin Yeboah

What is the best way to push through quitting day?
For me, when I feel like I’ve been doing too much, or I’m just not in the mood to do my regular workout, I try to do an abbreviated version of a workout. I shorten my workout from an hour-long workout to a 15-20-minute workout. Making the workout shorter and reducing the intensity is a great way to stay on track, but not put a large amount of stress on yourself as well. 

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when setting fitness goals?
The most important thing to do is to think about your end goal and make tiny, very achievable goals to get there. Small goals that you can complete are a great way to feel satisfied and will keep you encouraged to stay on track. 

What is the best way to break out of a rut?
Signing up for an event or a class helps give you something to look forward to and train for. For me, having an exercise buddy or accountability friend or group is a great way to get out of a rut. In the end, remembering and focusing on your goals and thinking about your “why” is a good way to get you through. 

Jennifer Rochon 
 

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when setting fitness goals? 
The most important thing is to start small by maybe aiming for 30-60 minutes, 3 days a week instead of going all out at 7 days a week. Less is usually a great first approach when making changes. The other most important thing, aside from smart planning, is to invest. There is so much misinformation everywhere that it makes it hard to decipher what the best way to achieve your goal. Investing in a personal trainer or registered dietician will save you time and money in the long run.  

What is the best way to break out of a rut? 
Again, I will ask myself why I feel that way and reassess my goal. I'll approach things differently and make small changes. We need to remember that lasting results take time. Changing your lifestyle is not an easy task and you will have those waves where you are motivated and some not so much. See it as a challenge. Jump over that wave to look at the long-term results, be patient with yourself and be kind.

What is your go-to activity to get back on track and remind yourself that fitness should be fun? 
Schedule it in! Even if you can't give your 100%. Moving a little is better than not moving at all. I've had my best workouts on the days I didn't feel like working out. Those are sometimes the best workouts because you have no expectations and you are more at-ease. Whenever we see people going hard in the gym, it always looks so serious and hardcore when that's just what most media outlets wants us to believe working out is. Working out is "FUN"damental and should be fun. Find what your body likes. Explore new options even that thing you said you would never try; to be honest I never thought I would enjoy running until I gave it a try!

Mark Fitzgerald

What is the best way to push through quitting day?
I have never actually heard of 'quitting day' and I am disappointed that it actually exists! Before someone even starts to think about quitting, they first need to see their health and wellness as an infinite journey filled with ups and downs instead of one that has an end point. This is the mindset I look to support in working with professional athletes as this allows them to deal with setbacks, injuries and poor performance and look at these as learning opportunities instead of failures. 

What is the best way to break out of a rut? 
I believe dealing with setbacks or disappointments is part of the journey and advise clients to not spend too much time on either end of the spectrum. Not too high, not too low, is something I continually communicate to clients as they deal with 'life'. There will be ups and downs and learning how to push through, enjoy and recover from them are crucial to long-term success. Enjoy hitting your goals, eat the cake, then get back to work. 

What is your go-to activity to get back on track and remind yourself that fitness should be fun? 
One of my favourite ways to get back on track is to get involved in a group activity or even just a partner training session. A few ways I have done this myself in the past is some pick-up hockey, boxing or MMA class as well as a family hike/long dog walk. On the other side of this it could be a reason to implement some rest and recovery into your training plan, some self care like massage or sensory deprivation may be needed. This goes back to looking at fitness through the 12-month lens and making sure you have scheduled down time that allows you to re-energize for the next phase of training. Rest is a weapon and when used correctly it can help guide your training and contribute to overall success of the program.

Rich Hesketh
 

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when setting fitness goals? 
Have short term goals that are attainable and measurable. They will pave the road toward your long term “BIG” goal. Write them down and then keep them where you can see them.

What is the best way to break out of a rut? 
To break out of a rut we need to change things up. Try a new exercise (or 2) or change the number of sets and reps that you are doing. We know that the human body will adapt to exercises in 10 days to 3 weeks so have a plan that varies volumes and intensities as well as changing exercises regularly. This will help to never get into a rut in fitness. 

What is your go-to activity to get back on track and remind yourself that fitness should be fun? 
I like circuits and games within the sessions. So, my go-to is a card circuit. I choose 4 exercises to match the card suits. Then, flip the cards and do the exercise and reps that the card says. For example: a 9 of diamonds is 9 push ups and the king of spades are 13 split jumps each leg. Whatever exercises you do, the workout will be different each time you shuffle the deck. If you’re just starting out, you can take the face cards out and add them in as you get more fit.


Janey Brown
 

What is the best way to push through quitting day?
No doubt, change can be tough. Adopting new habits requires committing to a "minimum of about 21 days," in order for a pattern to even start becoming innate. (Dr. Maxwell Maltz, 1899-1975.) When attempting to change my behaviour, it can be useful to set reminders in my digital calendar during the initial 21 days, which prompt me to push through the days I may want to ease up on my discipline. Though, while this can help me make it to the other side of the delicate first phase of habit building, an even more critical tool to deploy when attempting behavioural change is expectation management. The first "21 days" is just a starting point, but there is no magic number that guarantees liberation from our habit-building responsibilities. According to the data in a study conducted by UCL health psychology researcher Phillippa Lally and colleagues (2009), it can take people anywhere from "18 to 254 days" (66 days on average) for a habit to become automatic. Thus, in order to ensure a slip up won't result in a dead stop, we must be prepared to continue implementing our habits consistently beyond day 21. We must also reframe our expectations to be realistic and make peace with results occurring little by little over time, rather than in one, big overnight (or three-week) success. Celebrating the small wins along the way can also help keep an optimistic outlook, especially on quitting day!

What is the best way to break out of a rut? 
FORCE. We’re rarely going to “feel like it.” A sedentary person with the goal to improve their cardio is likely never going to just “feel” like getting on the treadmill. A high functioning CEO who knows they should be meditating more is rarely going to “feel” like stopping their busy workflow to sit down in a chair in silence for even just five minutes. Any scenario where we have to break our normal routine - no matter how chaotic or miserable that routine is, or how badly we "want to change" - will require us to face our fears and FORCE ourselves out of our comfort zone. 
We may never feel 100% ready. Charge forward anyway.

What is your go-to activity to get back on track and remind yourself that fitness should be fun?
Walking and hiking in the fresh air is like therapy and has so many gains! It burns excess energy while preserving joint health, allows me to connect with nature & discover new places, and is literally what we’re designed for. It's fun to collect data on the Under Armour MapMyRun app too. For something more upbeat, hands down my favourite movement modality is dancing!!! Ideally at night, with candles burning and my galaxy laser light on, while listening to deep house. 
 

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