If you can’t beat the odds, change the game

Let’s face it, the odds may be against us. According to the American Council on Exercise, 40-65 percent of new exercisers will quit within three to six months. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology say that as much as 80 percent of people who begin an exercise program don’t stick with it.

Like clockwork, busy gyms die down in the months following January, a representation of fitness resolutions gone awry. That time is approaching. With the start of the semester, excuses come easy and exercising becomes hard. One month into 2012 are you still going strong and getting strong?

Have some precautionary measures in place to help you stay on track. Here are some ways to avoid the burn out of your workout:

• Find an activity that you enjoy.  If you hate running, don’t run! Try swimming, biking or Zumba-ing. Hit up the T/W Fitness Center for some fun exercise classes. Boot camp, extreme yoga and kick boxing … yes, we have those here and they are free!

• Learn a new way of being active. Look into joining TCNJ Crossfit for a fresh, new and intense workout and to make some fit new friends or inquire about a personal trainer at the Physical Enhancement Center. 

• Start slow and gradually increase your workout intensity, frequency or duration. It’s a marathon not a sprint! A common mistake for new exercisers is to set unrealistic expectations for their workouts and expect unsustainable regimens. 

• Schedule your workouts ahead of time. Sit down and map out your week to make yourself a priority in your busy life. Pencil in your workout like you would a meeting with a professor. 

• Track your progress. Invest in a journal and jot down small changes that you notice in energy, strength and how well your jeans fit. Every small improvement will help keep you motivated.

•Work out with a buddy, but choose wisely. A work out buddy can help add accountability to your program, if it is not a friend that you are likely to skip with for Happy Hour. One study published by the Journal of Social Science found that we tend to mimic the exercise behavior and intensity of our partner during a workout.  

• Most importantly, get out the door. If you start talking yourself out of going to the gym, decide on a shorter workout instead of none at all. Your something is better than your nothing. 

See you at the gym!