January 1st. Time to dust off those sneakers and say peace out to lingering holiday pounds. Whether you’re following a routine for the first time or just refocusing your efforts in the New Year, these simple strategies will help get you moving in the right direction.
1. Start Small – Make one change at a time and set measurable goals. You don’t have to go full speed on the first day. Just do what you can and know that it’s okay to start with a few minutes of exercise. You can work your way up from there. Be patient with your progress and celebrate the little wins.
2. Find a Partner – Accountability is the yellow brick road from commitment to results. It is the single most effective way to crush some serious goals and have fun while you do it. Find a friend to walk with in the mornings, join a virtual challenge group or establish weekly check-ins with a partner at the gym. You’ll not only keep one another accountable, but you’ll forge a new friendship as well.
3. Set a Clear Intention – Knowing exactly what you are trying achieve will help you have laser-like focus. If your goal involves developing certain muscle groups, you can add targeted exercises to your fitness routine. If your goal is to work out every morning before your commute, then a clear plan of action would be to go to bed an hour earlier, and set your alarm an hour earlier. When it’s time to choose between success and hitting the snooze button, you’ll have focus on your side.
4. Hydrate – More than 75% of the human body is made up of water, so it only makes sense that chugging back some H2O is imperative to your daily performance. Drinking water regulates body temperature and keeps the heart pumping efficiently, which means more energy to fuel muscle growth and fat loss. Make it a goal to drink at least half your body weight in water each day.
5. Fuel Your Body –Fitness starts with food and results come from fueling your body with clean nutrition. I encourage my clients to eat for the body they want, not the body they have. Empty your kitchen of foods and drinks you know you shouldn’t be consuming. Don’t forget the secret stash of chocolates. If the packaged foods are unopened, donate them. They are doing the opposite of helping you reach your health and fitness goals.
6. Go Rouge – Make fitness an adventure. If you don’t like lifting weights, don’t do it. If you don’t like running, don’t do it! Instead, go climb on stuff. Try yoga in the park. Do a handstand competition with your kids. Ride your bike to work. Do that thing couples do….yes, that. Opt for a standing desk. Geocache. Swim. Dance around your living room. Find what you enjoy and stick with it.
7. Meditate – Try and take a few minutes out of your day to relax and reflect on your thoughts. This can do wonders for your mind, body, and stress levels. If you’ve never tried it before, you might have some preconceived notions about wind chimes and drums. But in reality, meditation can be done in a variety of ways, and can be customized to fit your personal needs. Try an app like Headspace or Buddhify to help get started. Reward yourself with stillness.
8. Practice Relentless Commitment – When you first start working out and eating right, those initial wins are easy to see: You lose some weight. You can see a bit of muscle. You get a little swagger in your step. After a while, though, that steady stream of improvements may slow down. You might see that your weight has plateaued or that you’ve actually gained a few pounds. But before you throw your hands up, step away from the scale and take a breath. That number is only a small part of your body’s story. Body fat percentage is the true measurement of result.
Have fun with your fitness and don’t give too much attention to bumps in the road. Keep focused on the desired outcome and you will be there before you know it.