By Anthony Bonazzo
We’re into the second month of the New Year, and if your 2014 resolution to committing to the gym isn’t in full swing, it’s certainly fading away. But, it’s not too late for a resolution reboot. And here’s what I want you to do: Commit to getting fat.
I’m not talking about getting more body fat but rather fattening up your brain with new ideas about how to approach—and make the most of—the time you spend in the gym.
Tip 1: Ditch the cell phone
If you’re using your phone as a music player, replace it with an iPod or another device. Even use an old Walkman. Having a phone at the ready is too much of a chance for distraction. Work emails, texts, phone calls… Facebook.
Exercise is supposed to be a dedicated time of singular focus, rejuvenation and recharge—a time to get your blood going and sharpen your mind and ease the stress of your everyday life. If you are bringing your everyday life into the gym, you are defeating the purpose of why you are there.
Many people will argue that they run a business or have personal issues and can’t be away from their phone. It’s a great excuse. However, no one is so busy or important that they can’t be away from their phone for an hour. If President Obama can play 18 holes of seemingly uninterrupted golf, you can manage being left alone in the gym for 60 minutes. But, if the separation is too much, notify the important parties that you will be at the gym, and if you’re needed, someone can call the gym to have you paged.
Tip 2: Hire a personal trainer for one month
Get someone with recognized certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Don’t become dependent on the trainer to do the motivating for you. You should be going to a trainer only if you are already motivated. And it is at this crucial time that you could use professional guidance to get you onto a program.
One month is a perfect amount of time to see whether you and your trainer are a match, and to determine your results. It also gives you a structure to follow. Soak up everything you can. And pay attention, so that when you’re on your own, you can replicate some of the workouts, or more importantly, learn how to exercise correctly and with the right intensity.
Tip 3: Get a subscription to a health magazine
A monthly magazine can do wonders for motivation by offering new exercise ideas, a new recipe or information about your body you didn’t previously know. Choose a periodical with reputable columnists with nutrition degrees and personal training certifications. Fill up your head with as much information as you can. Don’t let it overwhelm you; let it motivate you.
Tip 4: Work out at the same time every day
It sounds cliché, but it is fundamental truth: We are creatures of habit. Put your workout in your calendar, Blackberry, iPhone—whatever you use to keep appointments. Just commit to the same time and stick with it. It supposedly takes 21 days to form a habit, so the one month of using a trainer comes into play here, too.
Tip 5: Forget everything I wrote
If you are not ready to change and commit, don’t force it. Go back to the couch.
But, if you are ready commit yourself to a new way of fat thinking, take in everything you can, and let motivation find you, not vice versa. If there’s one common thread I’ve seen in the nine years I’ve been a personal trainer, it’s that when someone is serious about changing for health or aesthetic reasons, nothing will deter them. Not even a lapsed New Year’s resolution.
Anthony Bonazzo is an NASM certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and fitness nutrition specialist. He has been a personal trainer for over nine years, and teaches and trains all over Chicago through his company AB Fit.