New Year, New You: Make Fit a Lifestyle
The beginning of the year is symbolic of a new start for many. The previous year is over and it is time to move forward and set new goals. For you, one of your goals my involve getting serious about your health. This is a great goal, but for many, they will approach this goal with great zeal only to find themselves burned out, lacking motivation, consistency and guidance.
Has this ever happened to you?
You removed all unhealthy food from you refrigerator and cabinets, only to find yourself up in the middle of the night seeking something sweet to eat. You purchased top of the line exercise equipment and vowed to run or walk one mile a day only to find the treadmill was a great place to store your clothes. You joined the local gym and have only attended once. What happened?
More than likely you set unrealistic goals, pushed too hard to soon and got burned out. It is commendable to take responsibility for your health, but at the same time, success is based on progression and getting healthy or fit is a journey that has many destinations. In order to get in shape and maintain your level of fitness, it is vital to take one step at a time and set a realistic “Plan of Attack”. This “Plan of Attack” will be to create a strategic plan to get you to your fitness destinations. It is important to understand that getting fit isn’t about going on another fad diet that leaves you deprived; it’s about learning necessary tools that will help you remain healthy throughout the year and the remainder of life. So here’s the million dollar question, how can you get in shape, maintain it and not get burned out in the process of doing it? Read the tips below to discover how this is possible.
1.) Set challenging yet realistic short term and long term fitness goals. Short term goals are accomplished within 3-6 months, whereas long term goals are accomplished within a year or longer. If you don’t reach your goal, re-evaluate your plan of attack and commitment level and do not beat yourself up if you do not reach your goals .
2.) Remove one unhealthy food item out of your diet every two weeks. Trying to get rid of all your guilty pleasures at once may leave you resentful towards healthy eating. Give your palate time to adjust to new healthy food.
3.) Find a support system. It is important to surround yourself with people who will support you on your fitness journey. This person can be a spouse, friend or co-worker. Tell them your goals and allow them to help you stay on track. Investing in a personal trainer may be advantageous to teach you exercise technique and provide a good accountability partner.
4.) Only purchase exercise equipment you will enjoy using. If you don’t enjoy walking on the treadmill, don’t waste your money on purchasing one. If you like to ride your bike, purchase a stationary bike instead. At the beginning of your fitness program plan at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three days a week. Once you have committed to those three days consistently add another day. Continue this pattern until you can begin to increase your time to over 30 minutes. Normally, after four weeks your body will adapt and your cardiovascular( heart and lungs) system will be able to handle more cardiovascular activity.
5.) Find fun physical activities. If you like to dance, try attending a Zumba class. If you like to ride your bike, try an indoor spin class. Whatever you do make it fun.
6.) Stay consistent. If you stick to the same days and times of the week to exercise, you are more than likely to stick to your fitness program. Give yourself at least 48 hours before you train the same muscle group. Your body needs time to rest. During rest is when your body repairs itself.
7.) Let the past be the past. If you have fallen off of your fitness program in the past, shake the dirt off and move forward. It isn’t productive to focus on what you didn’t do. Invest that energy towards what you need to do in order to move forward with your fitness program.
8.) Be patient with the process. You didn’t get out of shape over night; therefore you aren’t going to get in shape over night. Allow yourself time to reach your goals, doing too much too soon can cause acute ( short and severe) injuries which can turn into chronic ( long term) injuries.
9.) Celebrate the small accomplishments. You don’t have to wait until you reach all your fitness goals before you celebrate. If you have added more water into your eating plan, or you walked 3 days instead of 1, give yourself credit for your accomplishment. Reward yourself with non-food items and share with people who support you.
10.) Make it a family affair. Involve your family into your new lifestyle. You are the best example of what it means to be healthy. If you are living a healthy life, your children will live a healthier life. Grocery shop together and allow your children to help pick healthy foods.
11). Take time to stretch after every workout. Stretching is an essential part of every workout. It helps remove by products of waste from your body, increases range of motion and helps decrease your chance of soreness and injuries. Stretch each large muscle group and hold each stretch for at least 15-30 seconds with no bouncing. One rule of thumb, never stretch a cold muscle.
It’s a New Year and you are on your way to creating a healthier version of yourself. As you travel down the roads of your fitness journey don’t forget to pack the following tips in your purse or gym bag. Believe you have the ability to change your health and while you travel to your destination, stop by and grab a girlfriend. Don’t forget, you are your sister’s keeper.