Trainer and author Kathleen Trotter says going to the gym is not for everyone and the trick is finding what’s right for you.

Trainer and author Kathleen Trotter says going to the gym is not for everyone and the trick is finding what’s right for you.
Photo Credit: Flaman Fitness

How to avoid New Year’s resolution fail and get fit

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It has become cliché for Canadians to make ambitious New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get fit, and then break them shortly afterward. But there are ways to avoid that says Kathleen Trotter, a personal fitness trainer, columnist and author of Finding Your Fit: A Compassionate Trainers’ Guide to Making Fitness a Lifelong Habit.”

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Biting off more than one can chew

“I think the biggest thing is that people do what I call making fitness wishes versus fitness goals,” says Trotter. “You know what I’m talking about—those grand statements of ‘I’m going to get in shape, I’m going to get fit, I’m going to lose weight’ but they don’t take the time to figure out what does that actually mean, what are the specifics of their goal and then, how are they going to actually follow through…

“(they) bite off more than they can chew. (It’s) this idea of perfection. We get into this mindset of ‘working out only happens at the gym.’ And ‘if I’m going to get in shape, I have to work out two hours a day. I have to go for it and I have to be really extreme.’ And then you don’t get to the gym on Monday. You don’t go Tuesday or Wednesday because life intervenes and you suddenly go ‘Ah, I’m a failure, I might as well not go at all.’

Compassion is an important part of success, says Kathleen Trotter in her book on fitness.
Compassion is an important part of success, says Kathleen Trotter in her book on fitness.

‘Perfect is the enemy of done’

“So I always say to my clients perfect is the enemy of done,” says Trotter. “Don’t worry about the perfect workout, or the perfect day or the perfect week to work out. Just do something. The best day to work out is today. You put on your running shoes and go for a walk. Or if you don’t want to go for a walk, you put on some music and you dance around your living room…The best workout is the one you’re going to do on a regular basis.  ”

Be compassionate, advises author

Trotter also warns it’s counterproductive to beat oneself up for missing a workout. That can lead to negative self-talk and missing even more. “The trick is if you can say ‘Well, I fell off my fitness horse. I made a less-than-ideal choice, but that’s okay. I’m going to learn from my mistakes so I get on my fitness horse a more informed rider…’

‘What works for you, now’

“So it’s not about letting yourself off the hook. Compassion is about setting boundaries for yourself, setting goals but understanding that it’s a growth mindset, that life is about experiences and you learn from everything you go through.”

Trotter advises against using other people’s fitness regimes. “It’s about finding your fit, your individual unique recipe for success. It really doesn’t matter what works for anybody else. All that matters is that it works for you, now.”

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