While one of the hardest parts of any fitness journey is getting started, remaining consistent and dedicated towards lasting fitness habits can prove even more difficult. Engineer turned fitness trainer Abby Pollock knows this all too well. She has been at every point on the fitness spectrum and has shared her journey over the years on her social media.
Having the mindset of an engineer, Pollock was fascinated on pulling things apart and putting them back together in an efficient way. Her work smarter, not harder approach focuses on home workouts, healthy fitness habits, and has served hundreds of thousands of women with “The Team Plans.” She believes by simplifying your approach to reach your target goals, you have a greater chance of remaining consistent and setting yourself up for long-term success rather than getting discouraged by not reaching the lofty expectations many set for themselves entering the new year.
She explained some of the basics of her approach to building good fitness habits, nutrition and remaining consistent. You can also get more insight at her YouTube channel.
On Why New Year’s Fitness Goals Fail
Broadly speaking, a lot of people go into the new year with a ton of motivation, and I love that. I think it’s a great time for a fresh start. When you’re motivated, it’s easy to put that energy into the wrong things and maybe set bigger goals than you should, and they overcommit to what’s actually realistic. A lot of people go into the new year thinking what’s the most I can do today. Whether that’s following a super restrictive diet, a high volume of cardio or following a strict workout routine, instead of asking what is the most you can do, I try and get people to reframe that and ask what is the least that you can do that will make you feel like you’re taking steps towards your goal. My goal when I’m training people is how can I make this so easy that you don’t even realize you’re doing it. You’re still taking steps toward your goals but I’m not going for the big steps. I’m going for the small actions that are going to lead to those bigger goals over the course of a month, two months, and three months because you’re now sticking to a routine.
Honesty is Key to Consistency
Now is the time to be really honest with yourself and that doesn’t mean being critical of yourself. A lot of New Year resolutions set people up for failure because they are too extreme, and it shouldn’t be surprising people fall off. It can be a good thing that it didn’t work out for you initially because if you didn’t fall off now, you were going to fall off or burnout at some point because that routine wasn’t designed to serve you. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing that you’re starting over from scratch. My advice is to focus on routine instead of extreme. Let’s go back to what is the smallest thing I can do. How can I do less in a way that I’m going to be able to stick with it and build results to not be stuck in the cycle of breaking yourself down, burning out and having to start again? Now is the time to figure out what three key things you can do. Let’s be really realistic about the workouts, nutrition and let’s focus on what you can do consistently.
Take Your Fitness Habits into Your Own Hands
What I would recommend for people, if it’s in their budget, invest in a set of dumbbells. If it’s not, get the gallon jugs and some heavy objects you have laying around and start doing some YouTube workouts. There are so many things on there, and they’re all free. This is just to get moving. I’m also big on walking. It’s something you can do at any time of day, anywhere and every bit of it counts. It’s something that will help you feel more active. Once you get moving, it’s easier to stay moving. So many people get stuck in a routine of sitting on the couch, watching Netflix, or sitting at their desk at work, but once you get moving and create a routine around getting up and getting moving, it becomes easier to do for your body.
You don’t need to start by cutting out an entire food group and going on a crazy calorie-deficit diet. I think a great starting point is getting into a routine with grocery shopping and figuring out a few staple recipes for dinner. Everyone has a different definition of healthy, but these are recipes that should be enjoyable because you have to eat them consistently. This is like two to three recipes that you can rotate throughout the week. A lot of people fall off track with their diets when they get home from work. They don’t have anything to eat, and they don’t want to make anything, so they get takeout, or they eat what’s in the pantry. If you find two to three recipes that you really like, and you can do portion control, but just getting this one routine down is going to create momentum. Too many people try to change everything at once. Start with dinner, find those staple recipes, rotate them throughout the week, swap them out as you need to. That alone is going to be so helpful.
Some people try and do six-seven workouts a week. That’s crazy if you’re brand new to working out. Try three workouts. If you’re trying to switch your entire diet, let’s do those three staple recipes for dinner. Do your best earlier in the day but make sure you have food prepped at home. Instead of doing a ton of cardio, just get walking. Get up and walk after meals, add it to your morning routine. If you work in an office, walk around the office after lunch. There are little things that you can do that people dismiss because they think it’s too small to make a difference. If you do it consistently, every bit truly does count.