Wednesday, January 03, 2018
3 Ways to keep "Too Much, Too Soon" from ruining your New Year's Fitness Resolutions
1. Stretch - Many people know cardio and strength training helps condition their muscles and make them healthier, but many people forget about stretching. It is a common misconception that you only need to stretch if you want to increase your flexibility, but stretching can also help you prevent injuries and soreness. You know how you feel sore and burn-y after lifting something heavy? That is lactic acid - the by-product of muscles working. Stretching helps increase circulation which keeps muscles healthy and also helps flush away lactic acid, keeping you from getting too sore. Stretching also helps your muscles from getting injured. When working out or lifting something heavy, your muscles can get something called micro tears - little tears in your muscle fibers. These micro tears are usually no big deal, and we routinely get them all the time doing everyday things and usually we don't notice them at all. However, when a micro tear happens, it can fill in with scar tissue - again, something we all have and usually doesn't cause any issues. Stretching keeps this scar tissue long and loose rather than tight and bunchy so your new strength training doesn't feel like an injury.
3. Avoid unrealistic expectations - It is very tempting to go hard into your new workout and eat nothing but smoothies and salad for two weeks, then put on your "skinny jeans" only to still have them not fit, so you get frustrated and give up. Often, it can take as much time to undo something in your body as it takes to do something to your body. So if you have been gaining weight for 5 years, it will be rare to lose that whole 5 years of weight in two weeks - or if you do, you might have other health issues. Keep your workouts simple, healthy and consistent, stick with it, and celebrate small victories rather than getting frustrated if you don't achieve the big ones right away.
Overall fitness resolutions are a case of 'slow and steady wins the race'. The temptation to push yourself to do too much too soon will almost always result in frustration and pain which leads you to be more likely to give up. If you want to push yourself hard, don't forget to take care of yourself outside of your fitness routine as well.