Chances are good that at least once a year – in January, perhaps? – you pledge to commit to an exercise program. If you've had some trouble with the follow-through, you're certainly in good company. Often the first step is the most difficult because there is so much information out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and struggle to find a starting point. Developing a healthy lifestyle is not an “all or nothing” adventure…it’s a journey. Let’s get started on a journey where you’ll take the next 14 weeks to bring on a new healthy habit each week – own that change – and then let it be your new normal.
Each week we will expand on these healthy tips and highlight an exercise of the week. This will allow you to stay motivated and expand your library of fitness to ensure you are doing the exercises correctly and keep your muscles improving with strength, endurance and flexibility.
Recruit a Friend
Exercise doesn’t have to be a solo activity. There’s more fun, and accountability, in numbers. So grab your best buddy and head to a group fitness class. Friends can serve as motivation when you’re starting a new exercise regime and a reminder to keep going back.
Schedule Your Workouts
Scheduling your workouts is not only a great way to keep you organized, but dedicated. For the first 4 weeks, look at your weekly schedule and set at least 2 workout sessions, either in the gym, at home or outside. You’re building a habit, so the key is consistency.
Try sneaking in a few moments of getting your heart rate up, even when you weren't planning on doing anything. It could be parking further away in the parking lot, taking the stairs rather than the elevator or walking the dog an extra block.
Log What You Eat
Log your food intake for 3 days. Planning your meals for the week will help you establish a nutrition habit. There are tons of free apps to help you track of your meals and teach you healthy eating habits.
Around the 6th week of your fitness routine, you have found your groove and it’s time to increase your number of workout sessions each week. You may want to consult with a personal trainer who can gradually progress the intensity of your current fitness program.
Try New Things
Boredom is a serious motivation killer, which is why I suggest trying something new for your next workout. If you want to make progress and still keep it fun, variety is crucial. Participate in a 5k walk, tri-sport event, Zumbathon or interval training.
Slow It Down
It’s not just about working out your body, but also your mind. Slow down your current routine and try a Yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi class. These classes are great at reducing stress.
Get Enough Sleep
If you're trying to gain strength, sleep becomes even more important because it helps with recovery. If your body doesn't get to fully recuperate from a hard workout, there's no way it will be ready for the next one.
After about 8 weeks, reassess your current plan. Do you feel more energized or enjoy working out? Now that you have established a fitness habit, it’s time to add variety and get out of your comfort zone again. Your muscles are craving a new challenge so intensifying your fitness goals will keep you motivated.
Reaching a fitness goal or milestone is a great excuse to treat yourself to something new. Reward yourself with a relaxing massage or a new workout gadget that re-inspires you during your fitness routine.
You are on your way to discovering the new you! Check out our facebook page for the exercise of the week…and challenge on!