Happy new year, folks! Looking at the calendar we are now seven days into 2016 and your proclamation to get fit. Since Thanksgiving you’ve exhausted your bad eating habits with deep fried appetizers, hearty meals and platters of desserts. Heck, you were on such a roll that you even had two slices of holiday fruitcake that was meant purely for decoration.
Regardless of how out of control the last seven weeks have been, you’re ready to turn over a new leaf (likely in the form of lettuce. Lots and lots of lettuce) and build your best body ever. With this newfound commitment to health, it’s important to set yourself up for success by asking yourself (and answering) these basic questions:
What is my fitness goal?
What workout(s) would suit me best?
How can I stay motivated?
Let's go ahead and target each of these questions below...
WHAT IS MY FITNESS GOAL?
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, increase endurance and flexibility or improve heart health, deciphering what you want to get out of exercising is a big first step. Instead of just putting it in your mind what you want done, write your goals down on paper. This makes your objectives appear more tangible and within reach than just a thought in your head. Next, take a deep breath and get after it in the steps to follow.
WHAT WORKOUT(S) WOULD SUIT ME BEST?
Depending on your answer above, you’ll want to cater your workout to target your specific goal. For example, if it’s important for you to put on 10 pounds of muscle, climbing the StairMaster isn’t going to build up your arms and pectorals in time for the summer cabin.
According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, resistance training is the key to getting buff. Kettlebell exercises and training programs such as CrossFit will help you achieve this look more quickly and efficiently than, say, Zumba, spin class or kickboxing. Although the latter won’t get you ripped, it will help you lose weight, lean out and increase your endurance.
To help move the needle on your flexibility, balance and core strength, barre is another great go-to. Barre classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates, focusing on isometric strength training combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements. Oh, and there’s more: barre can also improve posture, reduce stress and is perfect for pregnant women due to its low impact workout.
HOW CAN I STAY MOTIVATED?
This is a big one. In fact, it very well could define your success or failure. Throughout the tenure of your resolution, take into account these five ways to stay committed to regular exercise:
1. Shift your thinking
Adjust your perspective from being a couch potato to an athlete. Remember, any form of exercise is better than none, whether it’s a 15-minute power walk or a 15-mile bike ride.
2. Schedule a regular workout time
Stay consistent when you exercise. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, make it a habit to work out at the same time every day for the first few weeks. Soon enough, you’ll feel bad if life gets in the way and you do miss your daily dose of cardio.
3. Keep it fun with variety
Humans by nature despise redundancy over and over and over (OK, I’ll stop). Focus on body toning one week and cardio the next. Not only is it a nice change of pace, but you get to target more trouble areas than just your hips.
4. Get an accounta-buddy
You’re more likely to succeed if you have someone to exercise with. Having another person by your side to motivate, encourage and vent to can be therapeutic, especially if you begin to hit the wall seeing results.
According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, 92 percent of people do not achieve the resolutions they set out for themselves, whether it’s fitness related or otherwise. This year, be a part of the other eight percent and crush your fitness goals by educating yourself, believing in yourself and never giving up. Godspeed ahead!