Why your Fitness Resolution won’t work.
By- Jason Yule
If you are reading this, you most likely are no stranger to New Year’s fitness resolutions. I’ve spent over 12 years of my life in the fitness industry and see these resolutions play out every year. Gyms are bombarded with an onslaught of individuals who decided that starting first of the year they will commit and stick to their resolution – they will finally take control of their health and wellbeing. You’ve most likely made a few fitness resolutions yourself over the years. How did they pan out? So what made you decide to read this article? Maybe you are trying to pinpoint why fitness resolutions fail so that you can avoid it for yourself. If that’s the case, great! If not, no worries. The point of this article is to not only show you why most resolutions are failing, but to also identify the missing ingredient that will make all the difference in the world. And I’ll show you this by sharing a story.
This story is of two people, Jamie and Jessie. Jamie and Jessie are pretty similar – Jamie is a dad of two, played sports growing up but hasn’t done much in terms of physical fitness in years. Because of that, and the fact that he sits in an office all day, he has packed on a few extra pounds. Jessie is a brand new mom, and like Jamie, hasn’t been very active over the past few years. She’s on her feet a bit more during her day but still relatively sedentary. Jessie has also packed on a few pounds being so busy with her newborn. Like most of you, Jamie and Jessie both realize they need a change and both have told themselves that this year will be the year – starting January 1st.
Jamie has spent some time planning his strategy and has a good idea of what his goals are – he wants to lose 20lbs and estimates that if he goes to the gym 3 times per week and cleans up his diet during the week, he should be able to lose the 20lbs in about 3 months. That means he’d have to lose just about 2lbs per week, which is definitely doable. Jessie on the other hand has no concept of weight loss and no idea what her goals are. She just wants to get back in shape – back to where she was before the baby.
Fast forward to January 1st, 2018 and both Jamie and Jessie are determined to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s start with Jamie’s journey – It’s the first, New Years Day, and even though Jamie celebrated the night before, he is determined to stick to his new routine, and what better way than to start on the very first day of the year. Jamie goes to the gym with his workout plan in hand and is extra motivated to put in a good day’s work. When he arrives, he realizes he isn’t the only one with ambitions of improving themselves. While this is great, Jamie realizes that his plans are going to have to change. Either he’s going to have to wait a while to get on the machine he wants, or he can deviate from his workout plan. In the interest of time he decides to skip ahead. When it’s time to finally go back to that first machine, people are still using it and Jamie is uncomfortable bothering them so he decides that he can make it up next time. Jamie still accomplished the biggest goal of all – getting to the gym.
Jamie makes it back to the gym and actually sticks to his routine; he’s actually making it 3 times per week! However, he realized that he always runs into the issue of an important machine being occupied when he needs it, so he eventually stops following his program and just does what he can each day. Something is better than nothing, right? A couple more weeks go by, but something changes. Jamie is no longer as motivated as he was. He starts dreading doing the same thing every day. Since he doesn’t have any specialized education on exercise, he doesn’t know what to do, and does the same few exercises he’s found on the internet. After a month of this Jamie has no results to show and eventually throws in the towel.
Jessie’s story is a bit different than Jamie’s. Jessie new she likely wouldn’t be successful in the typical gym setting; since she had no goals and no direction, she knew she’d need a bit more guidance. Jessie had heard about CrossFit, and while being a bit skeptical and more than a bit nervous about it, decided to give it a try. Her experience started with an initial consultation – she came into the gym and was told how CrossFit operated differently than the normal gym. CrossFit is run in classes, everyone in class does the same workout, and an instructor will lead her through all the movements. This is great because Jessie doesn’t have to worry about what she’s going to do; it’s ready for her when she gets to class. Moreover, every day is a totally different workout with totally different movements, so she’ll never get bored. Jessie set some realistic goals during the consultation and then was given a tour of the facility.
Upon her first day, Jessie is as nervous as she is excited. She goes to class, is warmly welcomed, and is introduced to everyone else in class. Jessie feels at ease knowing she is with an entire group of beginners for this first class. Coach takes them through a group warm-up, and then explains to them the workout they will be doing. After demonstrating the movements and having everyone in class practice them, they start the first workout. Afterwards, coach takes them through a cool down and stretches them out and then helps them book their next class. Jessie is still nervous, but comes to her next class, and then another. After a few weeks, she is in a routine and realizes that all she has to worry about is booking that next class – coach will take care of the rest! After a month of this, Jamie realizes she is no longer nervous about going to CrossFit. In fact, she’s excited to go hangout with the people there because they are positive and only care about improvement. While she’s still a bit scared of what the workout will be, she gets a bit of a rush seeing what it is each day since it is totally different from the day before! Lastly, when Jessie does skip a day, her new friends at the gym keep her motivated by posting their scores on the whiteboard… and if too much time elapses, a coach will send her a friendly text or phone call to find out where she’s been and keeping her on track to hit her goals!
What’s more interesting is that Jessie hasn’t worried about her weight at all over this period. She hasn’t stressed about the number on the scale and if it is going up or down. But she does notice when she looks in the mirror she likes the changes she sees, and she notices her clothes are fitting a bit better too. So while she has no idea if she’s making progress when it comes to her weight, she knows her physical appearance is improving, and that motivates her to continue….
So what’s the difference? Ultimately, why did Jamie stop going to the gym but Jessie stuck it out? Jamie had the plan, but ended up quitting, while Jessie had no plan, but seems to be on the path to success? What gives?
The most significant difference is guidance and accountability. Jamie had no guidance and no accountability, and that is ultimately the biggest downfall when someone joins a typical big box gym. With no one telling him what to do, how to do it, and more importantly making sure he sticks to his plan, he ended up losing focus. After a while, results slowed down or stopped all together and he lost faith and quit. CrossFit is different because guidance and accountability is viewed as the primary factor in success. Jessie had both guidance and accountability from day one. While she was unsure of herself and a bit uncomfortable, especially with new movements, she always had a coach there walking her through it. If something was too hard, instead of skipping it, coach gave her an easier version of the exercise. When Jessie wanted to skip class she knew coach and her new workout buddies would be there to keep her motivated and working hard.
While CrossFit is obviously about the hard workouts and pushing yourself as hard as you can, the reason it is so powerful is because of the web of accountability, integrity, like-minded friends and passionate people you are constantly in the presence of. Truly, the only way CrossFit doesn’t work is when someone doesn’t come at all.