17 Tips for Keeping Your 2017 Fitness Resolutions from 17 Tips for Keeping Your 2017 Fitness Resolutions
17 Tips for Keeping Your 2017 Fitness Resolutions
17 Tips for Keeping Your 2017 Fitness Resolutions
You may not be part of the nearly 50 percent of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions that include losing weight, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set new goals anyway. Chances are that the start of 2017 is making you think of new accomplishments you want to reach in the next 12 months. “Generally speaking, gym-goers should have an easier time sticking to their resolutions,” Exercise Physiologist and Nautilus Fitness Advisor Tom Holland, says. “One reason is that they have experience with what it takes to achieve certain fitness goals, thus they will set ones that are challenging yet achievable while giving themselves adequate time to do so.”
Crowded gyms can be an advantage
January is the busiest time of the year for gyms. “[It] can indeed be frustrating,” Holland says. “You can use this to your advantage [because] it can force you to mix up your routine.” Use different equipment, add in a few workouts at home and/or outside or even take a new class. “And remember, the packed gym period only lasts for a short time. The crowds will thin out week by week, and, come February 1, most gyms will be back to normal.”
Change routines often
“One reason gym-goers stop seeing results is that they keep doing the same workouts day in, day out and their bodies have become acclimated to them,” Holland says. It’s hard to get bored with your workouts when you keep them fresh and interesting. This goes for both your cardio as well as your strength sessions. “Treadmill, elliptical, bikes, free-weights, machines, bodyweight exercises – use them all!” “This will not only keep your workouts interesting, it will also keep your body challenged and changing,” Holland adds.
There is no way around it – sticking to any resolution has a lot to do with discipline. “Consistency, consistency, consistency,” is what Holland says has been the most effective method in achieving a seemingly impossible fitness goal. Work out even when you feel a little tired. Some physical activity is always better than none.
Do one resolution at a time
This is how you make a fitness resolution manageable, Holland says. “Too many people try to change too much all at once, especially when it comes to diet and exercise.” That is next to impossible for even the most motivated person to achieve, he adds. “Small changes over time lead to big, sustainable results. “They also lead to increased self-efficacy, the confidence to take on additional and even larger goals.”
Follow a “periodized” plan
“Follow an intelligently-designed, periodized plan,” Holland says. This is the best way to break up a goal. “Periodization means building up slowly over time, varying the volume and intensity of your workouts, along with set periods of recovery,” he adds. Many people do too much too soon, which can lead to injury, burn-out or both.
External rewards can be extremely motivating, according to Holland. “Incentivize your goals by buying a new outfit, a new piece of exercise equipment (that Bowflex Max Trainer you always wanted), taking a short trip – these are rewards that you have set ahead of time for yourself,” he says. Just steer clear of rewarding yourself with things like food or taking extended periods of time off from fitness, he adds.
Know when to ask for help
You will inevitably go off track; it’s human nature. “The path you thought you were going to take to achieve your goals can and will change. That’s part of the process,” Holland says. Take action the moment you realize you are digressing. Asking for help can make all the difference – there is incredible power in numbers. “Enlist the help of a trainer, a nutritionist, a friend, an online support group.”
Holland says that apps and technology can “absolutely” help. “We are living in such an incredible time when it comes to advances in fitness technology. GPS watches, diet-tracking apps, streaming live fitness classes, coached-cardio workouts like the Bowflex workouts on MotionTraxx, for example.” Use whatever motivates you and keeps you on track. There is also an incredible amount of free fitness content available including video workouts and fitness tips on sites such as www.bowflex.com.
Follow a schedule
Following a schedule or plan is extremely important to achieving your resolutions, but it must come with some built-in flexibility, Holland says. Work, family and life in general, can (and will) prevent the most dedicated from sticking to a so-called “strict” schedule, he adds. “When I design programs for clients the primary goal is to get in the workouts by week’s end, not necessarily on the exact day they were assigned. Being flexible doesn’t mean you aren’t consistent.”
Buy expensive gear
If you can afford it, this can “absolutely” keep you motivated to keep going to the gym. No one wants to waste money. “But it depends on the gear. Everyone has different likes and dislikes when it comes to exercise, Holland says. Find what works for you. “The best investment we can make is in our health. A piece of exercise equipment is only expensive if you don’t use it.”
Reevaluate your resolutions
Reexamine your goals whenever you start to struggle with them, Holland says. “Be as honest with yourself as possible.” Are you struggling because of poor goal setting strategies such as not giving yourself enough time? Trying to do too-much too-soon? Or following an ill-conceived fad diet plan? “Make the necessary adjustments, realize that no one is perfect, and get right back on track.”
Do your research - Plan
This is the first phase of putting bad habits in the P.A.S.T. – Plan. “Clarify what you want and the specific steps to get there through a daily plan,” Dr. Stephen Graef, sports psychologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says. “Knowing exactly which exercise class to take and when or how many minutes you’ll walk today eliminates excessive thinking. Instead you wake up, see the task and take it on.”
Arrange your environment
“Cut down on decisions by setting up an environment that sets you up for success,” Dr. Graef says. “Want to wake up earlier? Put the alarm on the other side of the room. Trouble working out? Sleep in your gym clothes. Small alterations can lead to big outcomes.”
Stick to one thing
Too easy to fail
“Understand the difference between aspirations and ability,” Dr. Graef says. Don’t expect to run five miles on the first day of working out, if the farthest you’ve ever run is one, he adds. Get up and walk for five minutes instead. “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a six pack. Be patient. Start slow and easy.”
Join a 5-week class
The can length can very. But by joining a program that lasts a while you are making a commitment to yourself and other people in the group. Accountability has always been one of the most important aspects in reaching goals. Classes are also very efficient because you will never have to waste time wondering what to do and there is an instructor to help you, which is very convenient.
Wear the right clothes
First and foremost, you should be comfortable. Don’t be afraid to look like everyone or no one else at all. It’s important to wear sport clothing that doesn’t hamper your full range of motion. If you care about fashion, then spend a little more for gym wear. Stay away from 100 percent cotton clothes. They don’t dry fast, making your sweat literally stick on you.