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  • Writer's pictureAaron Turnbull

How Your New Year's Resolutions Could Cause Trouble

Holidays like Christmas and New Year’s are meant to be enjoyed. You’re meant to eat a bit too much, exercise a bit less and generally take a load off. Come January 1st, many of us have large aspirations to make this year our best, setting big goals in-regards-to our health and fitness.

And this should be encouraged right? Everyone prioritising their health and fitness?

Well yes…. but be careful.

You all know the story. Everyone hits the gym that first week or two, training the house down, counting their calories and doing everything they think they should be doing.

Then you start to negotiate with yourself and make excuses, cut sessions and tell yourself you’re too busy and work and life starts to ramp back up.

Before you know it, you’re back in the same rut as you were in 2022, seemingly even further away from your goals.

Well not this year.

The following tips will help you navigate January effectively, either getting back into your usual gym routine or starting all together, reducing the risk of needing to see a physiotherapist because your body has seemingly broke down on you, when you just started/ got back into something that was supposed to be healthy.

Part 1: Who Are You?

When it comes to mapping out your training post holidays, it’s important to reflect on what your training has looked like over the last month. Usually, we all fit into 1 or 3 categories:

  1. Beast: hasn’t changed their training much at all and trained all the way through the holidays. If your training during the holidays was >80% of before the holidays, you’re likely a beast.

  2. Yo-yos: These people were very up and down with their training during this time, some weeks training relatively hard, the others not so much. Yo-yos maybe did around 70-40% of their usual training.

  3. Grazing daisies: And there’s the people who didn’t do a whole lot (<40%). This may also be those who are yet to start a regular exercise routine or coming back off a big break. Please don’t take offence, I was a huge grazing daisy this silly season and will be sticking to this plan for sure.

Write it all down in detail. How many sessions per week did I do? How long were they? How hard out of 10 was it? Now that we know what we have trained like over the last month, we can start to plan out the month of January.

Part 2: Where do you want to go?

All injuries occur when the body experiences more load that it is ready for. Now although we want to overload the body to get fitter, faster and stronger, if we over-do it, we can risk increasing our chances of injury and preventing sufficient time to recover.

Now that we know where we are, it’s important to know identify where we want to go. If you a yo-yo currently with an average of 2 sessions per week, but want to get back to 5, this will help formulate a plan moving forward.

Just like before, write it all down in detail. How many sessions per week do you want to do? How long will your sessions be? How difficult out of 10 will they be?

Part 3: Plan for success

Now that you can compare where you are now, to where you want to be, we can start to make a solid plan. Now at the end of the day, everyone is different and will recover differently. Some people may have had a “bigger” holiday than others so general guidelines are very hard to give. Taken that all into consideration, here is what I recommend post-holiday break:

Beasts: 1-2 weeks of increasing intensity. Although you may have trained hard throughout, you may now be back in your normal environment and back to all your normal life stressors.

Yo-yos: Take 2-4 weeks to gradually build back to your pre-holiday volume and intensity. Strategically put rest days after every two training days to ensure you’re recovering well. You might go straight back to the same amount of days, however drop the intensity right back. This week I trained at 70% of my usual intensity/weight to tick it off and ensure I could move and train again later on in the week.

Grazing Daisies: Now like I said before, some people have had “bigger” and longer holidays than others. This group may take 3-6+ weeks to get back to where they want to be. If you trained like a beast and had a two-week break, it’s not like you suddenly lost it all. These people may only take around 2-3 weeks to get back to their best. If pre-holiday training levels were relatively low as well, it may not take the whole 6 weeks. What we want to avoid is huge load spikes that the body isn’t ready for. If someone had done little before and during the break, start with 3 sessions, separated by 1-2 active recovery/rest days, ensure sleep and hydration is great and take it from there. After 4 weeks or what we call a mesocycle, slowly increasing intensity, you may then add a day.

At the end of the day, New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be nor will they be achieved in January. Train smarter not harder this January and you’ll still be in the gym come February.

If you need help with a plan to maximise your health and fitness this year, please send an email or call 0731280300 so we can assist and ideally prevent you from needing to see us with what I call a “New Year’s Overload Injury."

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