Inevitably the start of a new year has everyone resolving to get fit, improve their health or to lose weight. I love January, because it gives me the opportunity to meet and interact with many wonderful new people, however even with the best intentions, by April many have unfortunately returned to their sedentary or incredibly busy lives. Here are a few recommendations that I give to my clients who want to begin an exercise program and stick with it beyond the typical six to eight week duration.
1) Visit your doctor and get the OK to exercise: One common reason that people fail to stick with an exercise program is the existence of a major, or even minor health issue that they are usually unaware of, but quickly become familiar with in their first exercise class. Those living with existing health issues also want to check in with their doctors to ensure that new symptoms or physiological changes will not interfere with a new exercise program. Everyone can benefit from exercise, but finding the right type of exercise for you and your specific condition is crucial. You’ll also want to inform your instructor or trainer of your health issues, so they can provide modifications if needed.
2) Select your workout days in advance: You have the motivation, now look at your schedule and select the days that you can commit to exercise. Do not leave it up to chance and let nothing stand in the way of you participating in daily or weekly workout.
3) Figure out what you enjoy doing: Walking, running, yoga, dancing, jumping rope, skating, lifting weights, swimming, bike ridding etc.
4) Do your homework to find the right program for you: Ask friends and family, search the web and check out news articles on the latest trends. You never now, you might find a hot new fitness program that incorporates something that you truly enjoy. If you do not LOVE your workout regimen, you are less likely to stick with it.
5) Figure out if you are a gym person or fitness studio person: Come January people often end up in the wrong places. Studio people end up at gyms and gym people end up at studios. Decide before you sign a contract. Try out a few classes, meet a few people and ask for their opinions. Sometime the gym atmosphere can appear to be pretty hardcore, finding yourself surrounded by lots of unfamiliar equipment, with many people who are incredibly dedicated and serious about exercise. This can be a great motivation for some, whereas others might find this somewhat intimidating. Fitness studios are often smaller, consisting of participants who are serious about getting into shape, but who prefer a community like atmosphere where they can also make friends and socialize. In addition, studios tend to specialize in particular programs or a specific fitness genre, as a result you might get more of what you love. Whereas gyms offer many different types of programs in hopes of appealing to a broader group of people. Gyms typically prefer memberships that require at the very minimum a 1-year commitment, whereas fitness studios allow for more flexibility in payments, by offering class cards.
6) Decide how you will hold yourself accountable: People often make the mistake of thinking by locking themselves into a 1-year contract that this will automatically hold them accountable. Yes, this works for a very small group of people, but for the majority they simply end up making monthly donations to their local fitness facility. What will motivate you to workout? One idea is to find a small group of individuals who share your workout interests. Yes, having a single workout partner is great, but what happens if they decide to sleep in or skip a workout day, or several? Having a few individuals that you can count will keep you motivated, setting you up for success.
7) Have reasonable expectations & set reasonable goals: If you’re going from sitting on the sofa and watching TV after work to jumping into a new workout program, you are less likely to workout 5 to 7 days a week. Start out with a reasonable goal of perhaps exercising one day a week for 1 month, then adding an additional day by month two and so on. Weight loss is usually the number one motivating factor for wanting to get into shape, loosing 60 pounds in 60 days is a pretty lofty goal. A more reasonable goal is loosing 1 to 2 pounds per week, a much healthier approach to weight loss, that you are more likely to keep off.
8)Take a good look at your diet: People often make extreme dietary changes this time of year and unfortunately the more extreme the diet, the less likely you are to stick with it. Plus, if you are starving yourself, you will not have the energy to workout. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all eating plan that everyone can follow. You can however make a few small dietary changes that can set you up for success. Rather than eating fewer, larger meals, or adapting to an extreme calorie restricting diet plan. Eat 5 to 6 meals smaller meals daily. Two of those meals can be fruit or a protein drink and make sure each of your meals are balanced with protein and complex carbohydrates.
9) Drink plenty of water before during and after your exercise program. Dehydration is another reason for a lack of success and A failed exercise regimen. If you feel miserable during or after exercise, you are less likely to have the desire to do it again. In one hour of exercise the body can lose approximately a quart or more of water depending on the activity. Be sure to stay hydrated to avoid dizziness, fatigue, nausea and body aches
10) Chart your progress & reward yourself: Take before pictures and make note of your before weight, along with your daily and weekly progress. This will help you to stay motivated, plus you’ll have great moments to refer back to once you’ve achieved your goal. Be sure to also reward yourself weekly, for even the smallest of accomplishments. In addition to having a big reward for yourself when you’ve accomplished the weight loss or workout goals that you’ve set out to achieve.
Here’s to great health and fitness in 2012!
“Brought To You by The Positive Pear & Shake Fitness