January is a very tough month. It’s dark, it’s cold and everyone has the back to work blues after Christmas. Many decide to attempt Dry January. Many more decide to go cold turkey on any food deemed too naughty. No one dare look their bank balance in the eye.
Weighing scales emerge from their December hiding holes. Unhappy with the number on the scales, many resolve to make a change. With motivation levels at an all time high everyone throws themselves into exercise. Instructors can’t remember the last time they had so many people walking through the door!
Despite having all the enthusiasm in the world, it doesn’t change the fact that jumping back into exercise is HARD. The realisation of this tends to lead people to make a big mistake…
They don’t give things a chance.
Or should I say they don’t give themselves a chance.
If you read my last blog post you will know I have started doing some weight workouts at home. Last week was also my first full week back at classes. By the end of the week I couldn’t sit down on the toilet without letting out an audible squeal of pain. Stairs became the enemy. My best friend and fellow exercise enthusiast announced she needed to feel “more achy,” to which I said “I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyway.”
Not only did I suffer from muscle soreness, I also suffered a blow to my confidence. I realised the weights I’d planned on starting out with were too heavy. I also struggled with my form during some of the exercises.
A lot of people’s gut reaction to something they are finding hard is “I don’t like this,” quickly followed by “I can’t do this.”
It doesn’t matter who you are, what your size, shape or age is, when you start exercising after any length of a break you will find it hard. When you try something new you haven’t done before, you will find it hard. You can’t expect to master those first few workouts.
You also can’t expect to see results after those first few workouts. It takes longer than a few weeks to see a body transformation or a dramatic improvement in fitness. But low and behold I still found myself getting disheartened after just 2 weight workouts and I still found myself examining my butt in the mirror to see if it looked any rounder yet!!!
The problem is January can seem like such a slog. Christmas seems a lifetime ago. But the reality is it was a couple of weeks ago. Most of us forget this and can’t understand why we aren’t seeing results faster. We question why we aren’t finding it easier yet. Unless you really love a challenge, the struggle you feel can impact on your enjoyment of the exercise you are doing. This can then lead to the decision to quit before you’ve really got started.
You have to do what you can.
When I realised I was struggling too much with the weight of the dumbbells I was using at home, I just swapped to lighter weights. I decided to do some of the exercises without weights first.
I always say to my Dance Fit classes that you can either make the moves high intensity or low intensity. There are always alternatives for the harder moves.
Remember you have to walk before you can run and doing something is better than nothing! It’s also important to remember that it will get easier; you just have to give it a chance. It won’t be a breeze in the beginning.
Try and put aside how hard you are finding your workout and ask yourself if you are enjoying it. Don’t berate yourself for not doing it all perfectly.
I’m pleased to report that this week I have been less achy and I’m starting to get comfortable with my weight workouts.
So whatever you do this January, give those new workouts, new classes and new activities a chance. Don’t be tempted to give up because you ‘can’t do it’ or you can’t see any visible results yet. Give yourself a chance.