16 Tips to Make 2016 Your Fittest Year Ever

16 Tips to Make 2016 Your Fittest Year Ever

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1. Jog once or twice a week

“A lot of changes at once is overwhelming,” Racicot says. In the spirit of taking it slow: You won’t get fir unless you work out. Start with adding a couple of slots in your weekly schedule for running, or brisk walking at the very least. Half an hour will do the trick of maintaining a regular weight.

2. Try a fitness app

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“Using a health and fitness app is very individual,” she adds. “It’s all about how you find accountability towards achieving your goal.” Apps can be a good source of keeping track of what you eat, how many calories you consumed and burned, how much you’ve progressed. They can also be very useful in coordinating workouts with friends. Some of them also have the roll of a personal trainer (but one that you don’t pay).

3. One good habit at a time

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Don’t change your diet in a “cold turkey” style. “Say to yourself ‘This week I’m going to eat more greens. Don’t say “I’m never going to touch a fry,’” Racicot says. Set small goals in a positive way and add on once you’ve achieved them. Avoid words like no, never, no more. After you’ve survived the first week with eating more salads, try to replace meat with more fish the second. Keep in increasing until it doesn’t feel like trying anymore. Do it at your own pace. “It all comes back to building a habit. Start slow and have a plane for incremental increase.”

4. Detox

Detoxing is a controversial method of starting with a clean slate. Experts are divided because detoxing often involves 3-7 day juice fast, which mean drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices and water. Your body needs more than that. It’s up to you. You can still get rid of toxins in your body by not starving but adding lemons, which are packed full of antioxidants such as vitamin C, and ginger, which improves digestion, to your diet.

5. Plan your fitness program

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Spread out different workouts throughout the month. Write everything down. Organize yourself so it’s easy for you to follow your own program. That way you won’t waste time at the gym wondering what to do. Having a clear understanding of what muscles groups should be worked on at a time prevents any illusions that you have done enough after walking 10 minutes on a treadmill and doing two sets of five squats.

6. Always remember the progress you’ve made

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“I try to remind people how far they’ve come from when they started,” Racicot says. “They may not remember that they couldn’t even think about doing pushups and are now doing jumping pushups.” People like compliments but they can’t always count on others to make them. “Recognize how much better you’re feeling whether it’s you have more energy and how your clothes fit.” Keep that in mind next time you’re on the verge of giving up. Write it down, if you don’t believe yourself. Make a diary of your measurements. This will also help you see if you’ve regressed (which is totally normal).

7. Swim more

Swimming is a fantastic sport for weight loss and a good choice for people who are just starting to get fitter. Don’t hesitate to hit the pool if you don’t like gyms or if it’s too cold for working out in the park. Swimming works out every muscle in your body at the same time. It’s easy on the joints and is great for the lungs and heart. If you are looking for a short but complete workout because you’re super-duper busy, swimming is your match.

8. Hire a personal trainer

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The most important factor about choosing a personal trainer is “the click.” Find one “you really click with,” Racicot says. The process is almost like a job interview but this time you’re the recruiter. Trainers specialize in different areas. “So it won’t make sense to work with someone who trains Olympic weight lifters if your goal is to simply get in shape,” she adds. The way the instructor usually work has to make sense to you. Only then will your professional relationship be successful.

9. Find a workout you enjoy

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If you don’t like running for 30 minutes on a treadmill, why not switch to another cardio machine that requires less time to achieve the same effects such the Stairmaster. Have you considered that you dread going to the gym because you haven’t found the right kind of training for you? Experiment until you do. Everything else will fall in its place after that. Make a list of the exercises you like and base your workout sessions on them.

10. Recruit a workout buddy

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Isn’t everything more fun when you share it with friends? Or less painful when they go through the same pain? Find yourself a fitness partner who has the same goals as you or, preferably, someone whose fitness level is more advanced. You’ll feel motivated to catch up. It’s also very likely that he or she will hold you accountable for every time you even think of skipping an exercise. You don’t want to disappoint, do you?

11. Challenge yourself

A monotonous routine will get very boring very fast. When whatever you’re doing starts to feel easy and you’re not sweating much, it’s time to challenge yourself, Racicot says. The body is smart and is always adapting because it naturally want to not be working hard. If you ran more miles in the same amount of time, it’s time to speed up or run at an incline. Pick up weightlifting as a change or do more resistance exercises. Try dance workouts. Who knows, maybe you’ll finally learn the pasodoble.

12. Don’t miss a healthy breakfast

Nothing starts a day better than a healthy breakfast. That means eating proteins and carbs. They will provide you with enough energy to stay active during the day, so you don’t grab every piece of junk food within arm’s reach.

13. Take a few minutes to yourself before bed

This is very important. “Take a few minutes away from being engaged in a screen,” Racicot says. Turn all electronic devices off, have a cup of tea (decaff, of course) and some a few pages from an interesting book. “Stop thinking of your to-do list and breathe.”  

14. Set a bedtime

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The world may be changing and becoming more fast-paced than ever but your body doesn’t cate. It wants what it wants and that is a good night sleep. So stop thinking of excusing why you have work to do. Be firm and set a time to go to bed. About half an hour before this “deadline” put your phone away and relax. (Refer to Tip No. 13). Consistent and quality sleep will protect your body and brain from stress and diminished cognitive function.  

15. Control meal portions

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Getting fit has a lot to do with what and how much you eat. You don’t have to give up everything you like but you do need to at least not overindulge. Controlling your weight starts with controlling your meal portions. Put the fork down after every bit or eat from smaller plates and bowls. Trick your mind and give your brain time to realize your body doesn’t need any more calories.

16. Add strength training to your workouts

You are not going to get fit unless you build muscles and you are not going to do that if you don’t do any resistance training. A bonus: Just a few exercises of weightlifting or bodyweights can boost your metabolism and give you more energy. Strength exercises also help build bone density, which is tremendously important because we lose bone mass as we get older.