How’s That Resolution Going?

You don’t have to be perfect to get perfect, the best exercise and nutrition programs, and how to be realistic with what you’re going after.

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Right about now, I bet many people are starting to say, “screw it” when they think about their 2017 resolution. And while this is indeed a shame, it’s not an eventuality. It is something that can be avoided by a little kick in the rear. Which is why I’m going to talk about how you don’t have to be perfect to get perfect, the best exercise and nutrition programs, and how to be realistic with what you’re going after. So buckle up for a quick read on how to resolve your resolution disillusion! 
 
What Do You Mean You’re Not In Perfect Shape After 3 Weeks?
One big reason why people give up on their health and fitness resolution so quickly is that they don’t see immediate returns on their investment. In fact, when we exercise, we often see the opposite. We are achy all the time, more tired than usual, stink with sweat (at least I do), and I feel like the list goes on forever. But, all that stuff goes away (invest in quality deodorant) once you push past the first month or two. The trick is really not to expect perfection. Not only do we all have flaws, we all have lives that don’t revolve around having a perfect body. Which is why, at the end of the day, it’s more important to be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished rather than be disappointed with what you didn’t. So, instead of going home and being bummed out that you didn’t get in the greatest workout, use techniques such as positive reframing, acceptance, and humor to be happier and more satisfied with how your day went (1). Be happy that you got any exercise in at all, and be satisfied knowing you truly made an effort to eat better that day.
 
You Already Know What The Best Exercise & Diet Are
People always want to know what’s the best exercise to do, or what diet works the best. The answer will forever and always be… the one that you will stick to. When it comes to your nutrition, none of the major diets reigns supreme. There is no clear cut winner when we compare any diet plan to another. As long as you can stick to it, any diet will do (2). One quick thing to note: In the short term, you will need behavioral support for friends, family, and possibly a professional for both nutrition and exercise (3). And in the long term, the effects of exercise will be more pronounced if you’re lifting weights (4)! But remember, your training program shouldn’t make you miserable. Which leads me to my last point.
 
Get Real
You aren’t going to look like a Spartan after a few weeks just because you did the “300” workout you saw on the internet. You need to set realistic goals for yourself… which can be tricky. For some, just asking yourself, “will this make me better?” is enough. For others, you may need hard and fast numbers to go by. In general, if you’re looking for fat loss, here is a formula to figure out how much you should lose per week (5):
Body fat percentage ÷ 20 = percentage of your current bodyweight you should aim to lose per week.
If you’re looking to gain muscle, you can expect to gain 4-7lbs within the first 3 months (6). And while muscle does weigh more than fat, it’s not by much. The density of muscle is about 1.06kg/L, and the density of fat is about .9kg/L.  In other words, muscle IS denser than fat, but only about 15% denser. Below is a picture of what two pounds of each looks like (7).
Inline image 1
What I’m trying to say is, don’t get caught up in how much you weigh for the first few months, and don’t overestimate how much muscle you will gain either. Just know that if you’re doing the right thing on a day to day basis, both metrics will improve. So don’t give up just yet if you’re not satisfied with the way you feel, what the scale says, or by how much you can lift. Everything will get better in due time as long as you stick with it!

References

  1. Stoeber, J., & Janssen, D. P. (2011). Perfectionism and coping with daily failures: Positive reframing helps achieve satisfaction at the end of the day. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 24(5), 477-497. doi:10.1080/10615806.2011.562977
  2. Johnston, B. C., Kanters, S., Bandayrel, K., Wu, P., Naji, F., Siemieniuk, R. A., . . . Mills, E. J. (2014). Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: A meta-analysis. Jama, 312(9), 923-933. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10397
  3. Zurlo, F., Larson, K., Bogardus, C., & Ravussin, E. (1990). Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 86(5), 1423-1427. doi:10.1172/JCI114857
  4. Zurlo, F., Larson, K., Bogardus, C., & Ravussin, E. (1990). Skeletal muscle metabolism is a major determinant of resting energy expenditure. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 86(5), 1423-1427. doi:10.1172/JCI114857
  5. Alpert, S. S. (2005). A limit on the energy transfer rate from the human fat store in hypophagia. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 233(1), 1-13. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2004.08.029
  6. Damas, F., Phillips, S. M., Libardi, C. A., Vechin, F. C., Lixandrão, M. E., Jannig, P. R., . . . Ugrinowitsch, C. (2016). Resistance training-induced changes in integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis are related to hypertrophy only after attenuation of muscle damage: Muscle protein synthesis, hypertrophy and muscle damage in humans. The Journal of Physiology, 594(18), 5209-5222. doi:10.1113/JP272472
  7. Wernbom, M., Augustsson, J., Thomee, R., Sahlgrenska akademin, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Section for Anesthesiology, Biomaterials and Orthopaedics, Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, sektionen för anestesi, biomaterial och ortopedi, . . . Göteborgs universitet. (2007). The influence of frequency, intensity, volume and mode of strength training on whole muscle cross-sectional area in humans. Cham: Adis International. doi:10.2165/00007256-200737030-00004

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