It no longer surprises me that, over many years, working in several gyms, the yearly pattern, is always identical.
Hundreds of people appear in the gym with urgency after 1st January looking for a gym induction. The gym is inundated with a sea of bodies.
It’s like these people have woken up in the new year, assuming somehow they are entirely different versions of themselves, just because it’s the new year.
Having normally gained two or three kilos over the excess of Christmas and new year, they are determined to make changes, turn the tables and start getting fit.
Note, I’m not in any way being critical of them trying, it’s great they are having a go at something new, and it should be empowering for them.
Unfortunately, however, by the end of February this tide of people starts to slow down.
By the end of March, these new faces are phasing out and, by the end of April, few of these new gym-goers have lasted the course. Furthermore, they can often be disappointed by their experiences.
This appalling failure rate is universal and disappointing. While the reasons are many, I can highlight several.
1. Lack of support
The irony, in this instance, is that the answer is always there. Hiring a personal trainer from the beginning is the easiest way of increasing motivation, getting sound knowledge, increasing confidence and improving adherence.
Simply put, this worthy investment will be the best way to achieve goals in a realistic and linear fashion, starting at the appropriate level. We are here to help.
2. Too much expectation
It’s great to have expectations, but they need to be grounded and achievable (more on this later).
We’ve all seen the super keen new starters who intend to change everything overnight. They proclaim that they want to turn everything around, attend the gym every day, maybe twice a day, to achieve a veritable transformation.
While these people (often de-conditioned and over-weight) are to be applauded for their enthusiasm, they also need to be realistic.
They need to be advised to not run before they can walk. (No pun intended.)
It’s often these same people who may well get injured, burn out faster and even give up within the first two months, let alone three months of exercise.
Fitness and genuine gains take real consistency and a learned attitude towards sensible structured progress. Nobody becomes an overnight success, it’s just the same in the fitness world.
3. Exercise adherence
The main difference, as a beginner, which makes a world of difference, is consistency.
The general goal for the first month is to attend three workouts a week for a whole month. Simply because it is generally known that it takes a month to form a habit and, opposing that, to break a habit.
It really doesn’t matter if the workouts are short at first. Depending on personal fitness levels, of course, as this can be extended over time as adaptation occurs.
A good way of reinforcing adherence is to record all training appointments in a diary, as this makes them more concrete and it helps you to keep regular appointments with your personal trainer.
4. Techno wizardry
This is the term used for the overall fear and misunderstanding of gym technology.
As technology has evolved over the years, it can put people off going to the gym. It’s a good idea to keep things simple at first. You will naturally learn so much as time goes on.
In today’s ‘ready baked’ society, people want results fast. But you can’t hurry gym results.
To paraphrase a classic, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Likewise, a gym newbie can’t expect too much, too soon.
If going to the gym or working out becomes a chore, or the process is considered boring. no wonder people give up so early.
So what exactly can you expect in the first three months of training (based on three sessions a week)?
A typical gym or general training newbie who’s never trained before, and has spent a number of years getting out of shape, should expect to increase stamina, strength, flexibility and an improved sense of well-being. Your general health and sleep patterns should also improve.
While you should expect some fat loss, if following a sensible nutrition plan, it will be too early to expect much by the way of increased muscle, though you may see a change of shape through inch loss.
This is because the initial stages of resistance only involve neuorological changes and not so much the working muscles. That part takes years of hard work and sensible dieting to achieve.
Remember this is only the start. Only the first three months.