Once you’ve got your resolution and the specifics of your fitness goals for the year set in stone, you can incorporate the following health and fitness tips into your plan.
Experts Nicole DeBoom, founder and CEO of SkirtSports and pro triathlete, Jennifer Moore, certified holistic health coach and creator of HealthCoachandCook.com and Ashley Pitt, NESTA certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and creator of A Lady Goes West all weighed in to share their top tips for getting fit in the new year.
Here are a few tips they say you can use to help make 2015 you’re fittest year yet.
DeBoom says that the first step toward reaching any goal is to first understand what your goal is. When it comes to exercise, not only should you set an intention by writing down your goal, but also an exercise plan for the week. “Every Sunday, write down your workout intentions for the week,” says DeBoom. Setting it in ink and having a clear-cut plan will increase your sense of accountability and you’ll be less likely to skip out or make up an illegitimate excuse.
This tip from DeBoom is simple. Basically, don’t do the same thing every day, and even switch your routine up from week to week, too. “The fast track to burnout and injury is to do the same workout every day,” she said.
“Sleep is your foundation,” says DeBoom. “In today’s overstimulated world, sleep is often our basic core need that is most neglected. When we function with a sleep deficit for an extended period of time, our immune systems take a hit and we’re more likely to get sick.” Not to mention the long list of additional health issues associated with a lack of sleep, like weight gain and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
When it comes to eating healthier, DeBoom advises against the “all or nothing” approach. “It’s usually too extreme and not realistic for people,” she said. “I suggest identifying one thing that you know you can improve and committing to it for one week. Then choose something else for a week. Within a few months, you’ll have a new diet that you may actually stick with.”
“We tend to make big promises in the excitement of the New Year,” says Moore. “Sadly, this motivation doesn't last us much farther than February.” Rather than trying to commit to 60 or 90 minutes in the gym, which may not be sustainable when beginning a new exercise routine, Moore suggests first aiming for 20 minutes of activity each day. “20 minutes is doable, so you are much more likely to stick with it through the rest of the year,” she adds. “Consistency is key here. You may also find that once you set out to exercise for 20 minutes, you’ll end up carrying on for longer.”
Moore suggests aiming to improve your digestive health by supplementing with a daily probiotic or incorporating more naturally probiotic-rich foods, like sauerkraut or miso to your diet. “Good intestinal health is the foundation for excellent overall health. If you don't have a healthy gut, it's difficult to ever be truly healthy,” she said.
Moore recommends revamping your diet with more healthy fats, like the kinds found in avocados, olive oil and nuts. “Ditch the low fat products,” she said. “They are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners. Next time you have a sweet craving, try eating a healthy fat like avocado, nut butter or coconut butter.” She says you’ll feel more satisfied and satiated.
“Chewing is essential for weight loss, and good digestion,” says Moore. “Try to chew each bite at least 20 times. You won't be able to eat fast, which will force you to slow down and breath while you eat, as well as enjoy your food more. You will notice yourself getting full and will be less likely to overeat.”
Moore says that staying hydrated on a regular basis is an important factor for fitness, weight loss and also maintaining healthy skin. “We often mistake thirst for hunger and snack unnecessarily, when we are actually just thirsty,” she said. “Staying hydrated can eliminate unnecessary eating, cure cravings and reduce wrinkles.”
A growing body of research associates eating breakfast with a number of different health benefits, including weight control and lower cholesterol levels. Pitt suggests a morning meal that includes protein (to keep you feeling full and satiated) and lots of water.
Pitt shares this tip suggesting that it will set the tone for the rest of your week. Starting out on the right foot will make you more likely to continue the trend through the rest of the week and over the long-term, too.
To make your New Year more active, Pitt suggests choosing activities, whether it be for a date, a professional meeting or just getting together with a friend, that involve movement instead of typical sedentary behaviors like going to the movies or meeting in a conference room. “Plan a walk in the park instead of meeting at a restaurant,” she said.
...or even a new gym. Pitt suggests shaking things up to make exercise more exciting and inviting. “Give it at least three weeks to see if you like it,” she says. “Don't quit too early.”
This tip is similar to DeBoom’s, which suggested aiming to change just one aspect of your diet at at a time. Pitt also advises against making extreme changes or taking on difficult elimination diets. “Just think about healthier eating as a whole,” she said.
Above all else, no matter where you are in terms of health and fitness and no matter what your goals are, start your year off by acknowledging that whatever changes you’re aiming to make will take time. “Make changes that you can maintain for a balanced existence throughout the year,” says Pitt.