Fighting the Good Fight - 3 Ways To Stick To Your New Year's Resolution

mohammad ali standing over sonny liston

by Dr. Mike Smith, DC

It's that time of year again when your honeymoon with your new years resolution is starting to turn into a grind...AGAIN.

Around this time of year I start to get questions from my patients asking if I have any ideas on how they can stay active, lose weight, and/or get stronger.  Really the patient is asking, "What are good ways to help me stick to and achieve my goal(s)?" Whenever I get this I immediately ask 3 questions:

  1. What have you been doing already?
  2. Why are you doing it? ("It" being the answer to question #1.)
  3. Do you like doing it?

I get a wide variety of answers, but for this blog I wanted to focus on the most common response I get.

Me: What have you been doing already?

Patient: Running.

Me: Why?

Patient: To lose weight.

Me: Do you like running?

Patient: Well, no....Actually, I hate running.

Pump the breaks.

This needs to be addressed on several levels, but let me provide a few simple thoughts and recommendations if you are in this boat.

3 Ways To Stick To Your New Year's Resolution

1. Don't torture yourself. 

After weeks of extensive research on goal setting, how to successfully obtain goals, how to overcome obstacles, how to stay motivated, etc - not once did I come across an article, blog, podcast, or chapter that had "TORTURE YOURSELF" on the list to success.

For obvious reasons, do "YOU" a favor and find something you enjoy. Keep your eyes on the true prize (see number 2), and be creative!

For this example, the goal is not to run more, the goal is to lose weight. For the non-runner, there are tons of other options - even more efficient options - to lose weight. The advice I give has to do with getting stronger. Specifically, I push posterior chain activation.

Posterior whaaaa??

posterior chain diagram

The posterior chain is a group of muscles that start on the back of your head, goes down your back, down your legs, and ends at the bottom of your feet.  Think about those muscles: glutes, hamstrings, calves, lats.... those are HUGE muscles! And now think about what huge muscles need.... huge amounts of energy. Energy comes in the form of calories, so the more demand you put on these muscles the more efficiently you can burn calories.  (Disclaimer: I know there are large variables that go into weight loss; ie. diet, anaerobic exercise vs. aerobic exercise, supplementation, not to mention hormonal and psychological components, and the "calorie in < calorie out" is not as simple as it sounds, but my point for the sake of this post is to get people people thinking about ways they can set themselves up for success.)

How do I put demand on my posterior chain? Lots of different ways, but it all comes down to a few fundamental movements. Squatting, hip hinging, and thoracic extension. Then really all you do is increase demand by adding weight and volume. Have you heard of a kettlebell swing, or bird dog, or glute bridge? Well those are all posterior chain exercises, and they are the fastest, most efficient ways to burn calories and lose weight. Let me recommend a few establishments I have been sending my non-running patients who want to lose weight.

CrossFit

These are all gyms our KSR docs know and work with. They focus on achieving fitness goals by getting stronger and utilizing movement and loading of the posterior chain (squats, hip hinge, thoracic extensions). Good CrossFit is fun and safe. These guys do good CrossFit. They each foster unique personalities and communities; I recommend shopping to find the best fit for you. Take a friend! You might even bump into your favorite KSR team member at a class!

Kettlebility

Andrea Chang and her team of trainers at Kettlebility use the kettlebell (along with tools including TRX and Ground Force Method) to drive their programming. Talk about creativity! Kettlebility gets you moving and moving well.

Moda Yoga

Right across the plaza at our Green Lake clinic is Moda Yoga Seattle. Modo preaches movement and community. If you're not crazy about lifting heavy things, yoga is a fantastic alternative as the movements load the hips and core. Yoga is an awesome complement to any program.


2. Always ask, "Why?".

The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.
— Jim Rohn

My best advice to helping you keep your new years resolution is to always remember the true "why". If your goal is to lose weight, rarely does it end there. Always ask, why?

I want to lose weight (Why?) because I want to be able to play with my kids...and their kids. I want to lose weight (Why?) so that I can hike Mt. Rainier.

I want to be active (Why?) because I feel better and I treat my wife/husband better.

I want to be stronger (Why?) so I can take care of my parents. I want to be stronger (Why?) so I can get a hot date!

Those ideas and goals are more motivational and healthier to hold onto than number on a scale.

3. It’s ok to fail.

You will learn more in failure. Just never give up. Learn, adapt, and get better.


I hope this little post shed some light on efficient and fun ways to achieve your new years resolution(s) and even some of your goals in the future. Happy and healthy 015 everybody!

- Dr. Mike Smith, DC

 

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