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It’s that time of year again… time to focus on your New Year’s resolutions. Many people begin an exercise program, but abandon it before Easter. However, you can increase your chances for long-term success if you follow these simple tips to achieve your fitness goals.
Determine How Ready You Are
You need to make sure you’re both physically and mentally ready to start an exercise program. Tell your doctor you want to begin a fitness regimen and that you want to make sure you’re healthy enough to start. Once you’ve been physically cleared to proceed to consider your mental readiness. You must ask yourself, how likely are you to stick with an exercise program once you begin? While there are many factors to consider, these three are the most significant.
You are more likely to succeed if you:
- Have confidence in your exercise ability.
- Receive encouragement and support from those closest to you.
- Participate in an enjoyable form of exercise.
Creating The Plan For The New Year
Before you can start your exercise program, answer these three questions:
When will you exercise?
Identify three days and times that are convenient for you and stick with those days, so you are working out at the same time each week.
What type of exercise will you do?
The best type of exercise is one you enjoy. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing; pick an exercise that works for you. Choose from activities such as cycling, running, walking, swimming, skating, weightlifting, dancing, handball, golf, tennis, and basketball.
How much time will you spend exercising?
Start with as little as a minute workout session and slowly build up to at least 30 minutes per workout.
Bring A Friend
You may know someone who resolved to start exercising in the New Year. Begin your fitness journey together. It will help increase your chances for success and you’ll have more fun. For this to work, you must find an exercise that both of you enjoy. This might be a challenge, but it’s worth it since an exercise partner provides you with a support system, a positive social experience and inspiration. There will be times when you don’t feel like working out and a partner can be just the motivation you need to get going.
Seriously, one of the biggest problems with New Year’s resolutions is they can be extremely impractical. Setting goals is a great idea, but make sure they are realistic and feasible. For example, a goal to LOSE 12 lbs. by Easter is both reasonable and achievable. So is a goal to complete a 5K run by Tax Day. Conversely, a goal to complete a marathon by that date is unrealistic and potentially unsafe for newbie runners. Think of it as if you were building a house. Start slow, develop a solid foundation of fitness and then build upon that foundation as your fitness improves.
Be Easy On Yourself
Think of your resolution as a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle. You are much more likely to be successful if you take it easy at the beginning. For instance, you may see people exercising at a very high intensity, but you should start with low-to-moderate intensity workouts. You may know people who train six days a week, but it’s fine to start with three. You may see people engage in a diverse array of physical activities, but a 15-minute walk three days a week is a great place to begin.
Eating a well-balanced diet can help you get the calories and nutrients you need to fuel your daily activities, including regular exercise. When it comes to eating foods that fuel your exercise performance, it’s not as simple as choosing vegetables over doughnuts. You need to get the right types of food at the right times of the day.
Tracking Your Progress
Regardless of what type of workout journal or app you decide to use, make sure to take notes and track metrics that will help you reach your fitness goals.
Here are some useful metrics you should note down in your workout log entries:
- Date and time of workout
- Planned workout routine. This should include sets, reps, rest in-between sets and the actual weights you plan to use.
- Current bodyweight (this will help you track if you lost fat or gained muscles)
Most importantly, make sure you’re clear on your preferred strength, aesthetic or weight loss goals. How much weight do you want to lose or how much strength gains do you want to make? Write this down somewhere in your workout journal or app and then work backwards to create systems that can help you reach those goals.
The Bottom Line
Don’t just say it, do it. You’ll need to make sure you’re both physically and mentally ready to start an exercise program. If you need some help with more information on how to live a healthy lifestyle then please make sure to check out our blog below.