We are a week into 2016 and I think it’s a safe bet that the gym is one of the most crowded places around. “Losing weight” or “getting more fit” are two very popular and valid resolutions at this time of the year. Often times, even the healthiest of people fall victim to the holidays and all the indulgences they have to offer (I’m looking at you, peanut butter cup cookies!)
So, what better way to start the new year than to vow to be healthier? I think that’s a very beneficial and noble goal. However, it can be a very fleeting one. The same gym that has a 30 minute wait for the next available treadmill and no free weights in sight mid-January may be virtually empty in March. I was thinking about ways I’m going to do my very best to stick to my resolution of going to the gym 3x/week and I thought I’d share some ideas that may help you to keep your fitness resolution as well!
Be realistic– I think one of the most important things right out of the gate is to set ourselves up for success by working toward achievable goals. If you’ve never worked out before, then going to the gym everyday may be a bit too much to ask of yourself. On the flip side however, you do want to challenge yourself. It’s a balancing act! Also, keep in mind that you can have other goals within your work out routines as well. For example, bench so much weight or run so many miles. Push yourself enough that you’re not getting complacent and bored, but don’t expect so much that you’re left feeling defeated when you aren’t able to follow through.
Work together– Having a buddy along in your fitness journey can be a major plus! Whether it’s your significant other, a friend, or a sibling, working with someone that has a similar goal is helpful on several levels. For one, you can motivate and keep each other on track. Work out partners can also foster healthy competition which pushes you to not only meet your goals, but exceed them. Just keep in mind that the two of you may be in different places in your fitness journeys. Therefore, you may not be able to compete directly with each other, however you can certainly compete to reach your own individual goals.
Think outside the gym– When we hear the words “work out” or “exercise” our immediate after thought is typically “gym”, but there are so many other places and ways to work out! I think this is an important point to drive home because I don’t want someone convinced that they can’t live a healthier lifestyle or continue their fitness journey just because they can’t make it to a gym every day. Your own home is a great place to work out! Youtube is a fantastic resource for work out routines that can be done right in your living room with minimal or no equipment. Also, don’t limit your perception of working out strictly to running and weight lifting. Anything that gets you moving is going to be beneficial to your body and your health. Yoga, dancing, swimming, walking around the neighborhood…all of these things are a great work out and can be fun, too!
Make a killer playlist– Regardless of where or how you decide to work out, a good play list is a MUST! Ask anyone who has ever left their headphones at home, and they will tell you that that work out was way harder and more grueling than usual. Music is scientifically proven to release endorphins which interact with certain receptors in your brain to actually block feelings of pain, and produce feelings of happiness and pleasure similar to that of morphine (#biologynerd) In other words, music is an easy way to get yourself hyped while working out!
Track your progress– I think tracking your progress is a huge factor to sticking to your fitness and or health resolution. Whether it be a food journal, a Fitbit, or weekly photos of yourself, I think it’s important to know where you started, where you are now, and where you’re headed. Tracking your progress can help you to hold yourself accountable and recognize times when you maybe didn’t do as well as you would have liked. Moving forward, you can try to understand what factors contributed to your shortcomings and subsequently try and avoid those in the future. After all, we can’t fix what we don’t understand. Tracking isn’t always punitive, however. Quite the opposite! I think it’s actually more important to track your progress so you can recognize just how much your hard work is paying off! Health and fitness don’t happen over night, but if you stick to your personal plan, the gains can be unbelievable.
Look good, feel good– I’m a huge believer in clothes empowering us to feel a certain way (You never would have guessed, huh?!) For example, if I rolled out of bed and went to the gym in sweats and a baggy t-shirt, I wouldn’t feel motivated. Some people would, and that’s totally fine! You go Glen CoCo! But, there’s something about a coordinated work out outfit (especially if it’s all black) that just makes me feel like I can conquer the world and squat like, 350 pounds (which I totally can’t, but that’s the power of a good pair of leggings!) Bottom line, wear what makes you feel good! It will make a difference. If you’re working out your arms, wear a muscle shirt! Show them off! Plus, the gym is a magical place where you’re not judged for wearing leggings as pants-ladies, take advantage!
Accessorize– This sort of goes along with looking good and feeling good, but it is also about functionality. Make sure you have the basics- a pair of headphones, a good water bottle, shoes, and, for the ladies, a sports bra to name a few. I think having certain things makes you feel the part, you know? If the gym is a foreign intimidating place, slap on some Nikes, grab a Blender Bottle, and put on your game face and no one will know you from the regulars!
Be Forgiving– Lastly, allow yourself to be human. If when you’re tracking your progress you realize you didn’t go to gym for 3 whole weeks, or your food journal is nothing but entries of carbs and processed sugar- IT’S OKAY! That doesn’t mean you’ve failed! Failure, in my eyes, is a conscious effort to stop trying. So, refuse to fail. Pick yourself up, and start taking baby steps back toward your goal.
What are your fitness goals? Do you have any tips for staying on track?