This article was originally published on the Spartan Race website.
Feeling stressed or anxious is the absolute worst. And it’s not uncommon. Most people suffer from chronically-elevated stress levels for a large part of their lives, and 29% of Americans will suffer from a clinical anxiety disorder in their lives. But with the right tools you can learn how to overcome stress.
Time for a New Year a new you, right? But statistics show that while resolving to get fit is a top way for most of us to ring in the New Year, by the time the second week in February chugs around, a whopping 80 percent of us have dumped our resolutions quicker than dry turkey leftovers. So it’s time for better New Year fitness resolutions that will actually stick.
The reason for the downslide is due in part to lack of self-belief, expecting instant results, or letting boredom with our training get the better of us. But even still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t commit to trying to improve ourselves next year. Rather, we should resolve to do one meaningful thing to help us on our 2020 fitness journey. And to give you ideas, we asked some of Spartan’s top coaches for their pro tips on better New Year fitness resolutions they think are worth making.
The best resolution you can make is to just jump in from wherever you are, says Bernard Courtney, a UK-based SGX coach. “Everyone has to begin somewhere on their fitness journey,” Courtney says, “So just start.” And, he adds, “if you want to take part in an inclusive, challenging, mindful training regime, then Spartan really could be for you!”
One of the main reasons for the high failure rate of New Year fitness resolutions is because people tire of it quickly. If you’re running the same route, or tackling the same six weight machines at the gym you’re bound to start feeling fed up with the routine. So mix it up, says Spartan coach and regular racer Alina Piunno. Try something new every month, and make it challenging too. “The harder the goal the better to try attempt it,” she says.
And these are not empty words: Piunno is currently training for a 100-mile race. “Whatever it is for you, make it really challenging to achieve and then go crush it! I don’t achieve all my goals but failed attempts are the best way to grow and learn about yourself.”
“Resolve to treat yourself with the same grace you give others,” is the pro-tip from Kate Clem, SGX coach and assistant fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness, in Lowry, Denver, CO. “Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.”
But that’s not a get-out-of-gym-free-card either. Clem states that being kind to ourselves also includes believing in our capabilities. “It’s important to hold yourself to a high standard,” she says, “because you ARE capable of reaching your goals.”
Definitely a better New Year fitness resolution is ditching unhealthy food. Not only will your body thank you, but eating well gives you greater energy and improves your mindset—both of which are needed, Courtney claims, for motivating you to keep on your fitness track.
“A healthy body equals a healthy mind,” says Courtney, adding that eating clean—i.e. less processed and refined foods – will give you the energy you need to get out in the mud and “train dirty!”
Mark Logan, an SGX coach and owner of Obstacle Play Park, in West Sussex, England, says that while you’re cleaning up what you eat in 2020, take notes. “For all my new clients I ask them to keep a food diary for a week.” This, he says, can achieve a couple of things right off the bat. The first is that you might see some small changes worth making such as forgoing a sugary breakfast, or adding more veg to your meals. “Simple changes can make a big impact at the start of your journey.” Secondly, tracking your chow can be an eye-opener. “it makes you look at what you are really putting into your body,” the Spartan coach says. “And that can be a massive reality check to what you think your eating and what you’re really eating.”
Logan, who is also an OCR course designer and race director, suggests resolving to start small with your training too, particularly if this is your first foray into fitness. “Don’t go too big too soon,” he says, “Set yourself small achievable goals instead and very gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts.” Take the advice of a trainer too, he adds. After all, they’re in your corner and they want you to succeed.