Guest Contribution by Sasha Tymkiw
Exercise – when consistent – offers many benefits, among which is an increase in body satisfaction, further lending explanation to the sharp increase in gym memberships after the winter holidays. When enthusiasm starts to wane, however, it’s easy for our former sweaty sanctuary to become another stressor on our list of to-dos – and is often the first one we take off the list altogether.
Often people are surprised to find that almost all of those who have started and just as quickly stopped exercising have one thing in common: a failure to plan. Whether it is an unforgiving work schedule, injury, or a simple loss of interest, these variables can most always be pinpointed to lack of a plan after the initial “I’m going to start going to the gym”. For every skipped workout, however, there is a tool to help you really….no, really, stick to it this time.
When it comes to goal setting, the SMART model is a well established and useful method which for all of its function, is underused for personal fitness. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Oriented. This model is a great way to identify where you are and to plan out the steps necessary to get where you want to go. Templates for creating SMART goals are easily found on the internet.
Where this template proves most useful to exercise adherence is when the user also identifies what has happened in the past when they began missing workouts. Was it the pressures of a new relationship? Tax season? Exams and subsequent vending machine fuel? Because the SMART tool is meant to be revisited, users find a simple change (like increasing workout intensity in order to spend less time at the gym) can help reinvigorate their commitment to fitness.
When embarking on a fitness journey, it can also be wise to approach with a “slow and steady” mindset. Incorporating two workouts a week at first that you can stick to will not only allow your body to build a base level of endurance, but will allow for you to experience the self-esteem that comes from taking these (R for Realistic) first steps.
It can be helpful to think of our fitness like money being invested in stocks: we know we would first look at its past history, invest what we feel comfortable and then continuously monitor its performance. The multiple rewards experienced from exercising are why people jump into programs without much thought. We all deserve the long term security that fitness can offer our health, so let’s plan to “go for broke”, not bankruptcy.
Sasha Tymkiw is a certified Personal Trainer and has been involved in sports (competitive swimming, snowboarding, horseback riding) since childhood, making the natural progression to personal training in her early twenties. With a bachelor of psychology, numerous fitness certifications and years of experience, Sasha views pushing one’s body as an integral part of the human experience. Sasha works both independently as a trainer and teaches around Vancouver, becoming one of the first instructors who offered boot-camp style workouts in East Vancouver. Sasha is sponsored by Garden of Life Protein Powder and will be competing in her second figure competition in March 2015, promoting a long-term, balanced approach to the sport.