Is It You Or Your Program?

by Abby Montanez
fitness program

We all have our own agenda when it comes to health and wellness. Some of us set out to lose weight, build muscle, eat cleaner or improve our overall quality of life. In the end, every person desires a different result and regardless of what your mission is—committing to a program is hard, especially when you’re not progressing as fast or as much as you’d like. When that roadblock hits, being honest about your approach will not only help you work smarter but maybe even a little harder too. We recently reached out to local fitness and nutrition experts to talk us through whether the real problem lies with you, or your program.

Change doesn’t happen overnight

First and foremost, the key to maintaining any type of diet plan is to incorporate change gradually. Whether Atkins isn’t your thing or you’re sick of a smoothie kick, keep in mind that little adjustments are often easier to maintain in the long run as opposed to something super restrictive. We had Joe Nissim, CrossFit Coach and Certified Nutrition Advisor at CrossFit Jersey City, weigh in. “The human body is not meant to change overnight and making dramatic health and fitness changes often feel good initially, but rarely stand the test of time.” When it comes to weight loss, Nissim went on to explain that while cutting out processed foods is ideal, eliminating them all at once is oftentimes what causes people to derail from their programs. “….You are putting tremendous stress on your body and mind by making such a big change in such a short period of time.”

Put good in, get good out

If you’ve come to a standstill in your workout routine, poor nutrition can still play a factor regardless of how often you exercise or how many weights you’re lifting. The muscles being engaged rely solely on what your body has taken in as fuel. If you’re not seeing results, make sure that you’re getting the right amount of protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals daily. Greg Morrone, Owner and Head Trainer at The FIT Lab in Hoboken suggests his clients try meal prepping. “You have to sit down and map out what your days and weeks are going to look like. It takes some planning in advance in order to make a complete lifestyle change but you have to figure out strategies to make this stuff work.” Knowing what you’re going to eat next is an effective way to not only save time and money but to ensure you’re eating a nutritionally balanced meal while also controlling portion size and keeping yourself on track.

A positive mindset goes hand-in-hand with how successful your fitness program will be, whether or not you believe it can actually work. Morrone explained, “First, we have to get people feeling like they want to do better.” Exercise and diet are only two pieces of the puzzle and things like negativity and insecurity can significantly impact your ability to reach your full potential. If you’re not working at 100 percent, neither is your program.

Set short-term fitness goals

Setting short-term, as well as long-term goals, can help combat the feeling of defeat—think of them amassing to something greater in the end like the ability to run a 5k or lowering your cholesterol. The trick we learned from Patrick Barry, Master Trainer at Crunch Fitness 83rd Street, is not to try and accomplish your long-term goals in a short period of time. “There needs to be some sort of progression. One of the most important parts of a good fitness program is the ability to measure progress so you can achieve and set a new goal each and every time.”

When starting a new fitness program, Barry added that people often pick exercises that they’re not prepared for.  This can be counterintuitive because although you feel like you’re working hard, you aren’t reaping the results and this causes many people to give up. “When you’re doing exercises that aren’t structurally right for your body, those movements are going to be unsuccessful. You won’t get the full benefit of any exercise until you can do the movement properly and efficiently.” Not only can this lead to injury, but it will hold you back from reaching whatever you’ve set out to lose or gain. Consulting with a professional personal trainer, fitness instructor, or even looking to a workout app can help you understand what went wrong and why.

Picking the right program

Deciding what fitness program is right for you is simple—do what makes you happy and find something that you can stick to. Consistency is the leading factor in success or failure when it comes to a health and wellness program so if you can’t envision yourself completing tasks and reaching goals day in and day out, then it might be time to switch things up. At the end of the day, much like us, no plan is perfect. What you’re able to accomplish relies on a balance of diet, exercise and personal motivation. So if you’re feeling stuck, chances are one of those things could use some improvement.

Main image via Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

About the Author/s

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Abby is The Digest's Managing Editor. She spends her time looking at dogs on Instagram and eating her way around Jersey City.

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