The New Year’s Resolution Slump, according to the American Psychology Association, can begin as early as late January. It’s the time of year when people start slipping on all the wellness goals they set for themselves in the beginning of the year: healthier diets, a more positive mindset, and more time in the gym.
The beginning of January is one of the busiest times of the year for a lot of fitness centers and gyms, but some people have problems making the commitment to fitness they made on New Year’s Day stick through February.
Brent Eno, owner and head trainer of CrossFit Aiken, said maintaining fitness goals into the rest of the year is all about implementing a plan and seeing it through.
“At the very core of it is self-control,” Eno said. “We’re creatures of habit. We all have routines we do throughout the day … you have your set routine. Most people are comfortable in their routine.”
Becoming healthy, he said, is not something that can be leapt into overnight. And people who leap into a fitness routine without building up the necessary stamina and strength risk pain, injury, and can have a harder time sticking to their commitments to be healthier.
“With exercise, one mistake that people often make is, they go too hard too fast,” Eno said. “They get sore, really sore, and it’s hard to get out of bed the next day. And they get discouraged.”
Eno has lived in Aiken since the 1990s. A former military serviceman, he decided to put his athletic skill to use and opened Aiken’s first CrossFit gym, CrossFit Aiken.
CrossFit is a type of exercise that utilizes incorporates disciplines into a comprehensive workout routine, such as running, gymnastics and weights. Eno teaches CrossFit to people of all ages in Aiken, including kids. His lessons are meant to build muscle and stamina, but also to protect themselves from injury.
“They need to understand their bodies,” Eno said. “One thing I’ve noticed with most of the kids that come here is they’re horribly inflexible … If you don’t stretch and don’t take care of your body, you’re setting yourself up to get injured.”
This also can happen to people who jump at the chance to go the gym after New Year’s, he said. A way to tell is by soreness – muscle pain after a workout that prevents easy movement, like standing up or sitting down, can be “really damaging” to the body.
“The way to do it is to start very slow, and make it a part of your routine every day, even if it’s just walking for 15 minutes, doing the stair master, or biking,” Eno said. “Any kind of physical activity for 10 or 15 minutes, but you have to make it a part of your day. It’s changing your hardwiring.”
Eno said the trick to adapting a body to a fitness routine is doing exercise – even something as easy as walking – that triggers an endorphin rush.
“You’ll start to appreciate that feeling,” Eno said. “You’ll start to have more energy, and that’ll transfer over to other areas of your life.”
In the time that Eno has lived in Aiken, he has seen the outdoorsy scene grow. Eno said there are increasing opportunities for people to get outside and get physical activity in Aiken County, such as a rock climbing group at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center, kayaking on the Edisto River at Aiken State Park, or visiting the Greeneway in North Augusta.
His idea for a New Year’s resolution? Adopt to a low-sugar diet.
“Keep sugar to a minimum,” Eno said. “That’s the biggest thing, really. Once you cut sugar out and change your taste, you’ll start to not crave it and be grossed out by it.”
Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.