9 Tips for Successful Fitness Goals in the New Year
The start of the New Year always seems to be accompanied by new gym memberships, increased sales in fitness attire and resolutions that center around health and wellness. While I think that’s great, sometimes March rolls around and we’ve completely lost touch with those goals we set on Jan 1 (I’m guilty too!). But this year, I want more for myself, and I want more for you. I want to give you tips to set you up for long term success that sustains you through the year so that the start of 2021 doesn’t look exactly the same as the start of 2020.
Whether you are kick-starting a fitness journey or trying to re-establish one that once was, these guidelines will help you establish sustainable healthy habits. You may already have an established routine but find that certain seasons of life bring less consistency than others. The truth is, it can be so easy to fall out of a consistent routine but equally as hard to get back into one.
Whether it’s your first workout or your 100th, let these tips help you meet your health and wellness goals this year. This is your year!
1. Start slow
There’s nothing worse than getting back into the gym and not being able to walk for two days after. This approach somewhat defeats the entire purpose of establishing a consistent routine and will leave your muscles swollen and broken down.
Applicable tip: limit your workout to 25-30 minutes and then gradually increase your reps/weights/time over the course of 2-3 week intervals. If you don’t love going to the gym, snag this at home weight set and yoga mat I use for my at-home workouts! If you do experience soreness, use a foam roller after workouts and soak in an epsom salt bath!
2. Give a little grace
Don’t beat yourself up after your first workout because you can’t believe how much your fitness game has fallen “off track”. Simply accept where you are starting from, applaud yourself for getting back with it and praise your progress.
Applicable tip: write down your starting stats and track your tangible progress. It’s always rewarding to see your hard work paying off. These are my two favorite fitness journals.
3. Set realistic goals
Let me just tell you from personal experience, if you set unrealistic goals your chances of carrying out a fitness routine for any extended period of time is pretty unlikely. Like very unlikely. Instead, you can make attainable goals that once accomplished, will encourage you to achieve more.
Applicable tip: start by making a goal of exercising two times a week and preparing one meal out of each day from whole food ingredients.
Recipe for disaster: setting a goal to workout every weekday and only eat whole foods for every meal limiting carbs. For those of you on the go, use these sustainable stasher bags for packing snacks or Tupperware for packing meals
4. Stop the comparison game
News flash: what works for Sally, probably doesn’t work for you. (Sorry Sally) It’s no secret that each of us is comprised of different genes, family history, metabolisms, body compositions and interests. So it only makes sense that each of us probably responds differently to certain exercises, sleep patterns, and eating habits. That’s why it’s so important to find what works for YOU.
Applicable tip: try different workouts and see how your body responds. Invest in some type of sleep tracker or use the one on your phone to get an accurate picture of what your sleep looks like and how you feel on a daily basis. (Like who even was the person that said 7-9 was ideal? I want to know!) ++ Intuitively eat! Don’t know what that means? It entails listening to your body, eating when you are hungry and only what you want without any external factors affecting those decisions. Woof. It can be so much harder than it sounds, but I’ve found this book to be super helpful. P.S. be on the lookout for a post coming on intuitively eating soon!
5. Focus on a feeling, not a number. Read that again.
This goes for literally everything; your weight, your days of working out in a week, your miles ran, your reps completed, your calories, your likes on Instagram…etc.! In order to best respect your body and establish sustainable habits ya gotta stop counting and actually feel your feelings girlfriend. It means asking questions like “Why do I feel like I need to do another rep? Do I feel energized enough to do that? Am I ignoring hunger cues? What’s my motive for wanting to do this?”
Applicable tip: journal how you feel; body, mind, and spirit. This has helped me identify certain patterns that contribute to healthy and unhealthy habits. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be, but it will only benefit your health journey.
6. Rest + hydrate + refuel
These three things are ESSENTIAL if you’re going to maintain any type of health journey.
Rest: Your body needs restorative sleep in order to repair broken down muscle tissue, cement movements to muscle memory in your central nervous system and repair your cells on a deeper, cellular & nutrient level.
Hydrate: You can’t drink enough water. Even when you think you’re drinking enough, drink more. Your skin, internal organs, detoxification system and muscles will thank you. It’s vitally important to make sure that you’re hydrating at the appropriate times and not playing catch up after sweating in workouts.
Refuel: severely cutting calories will not get you long lasting results. It will make you cranky, tired, and set you up for an inevitable rebound. I can’t emphasize this enough. The best thing you can do when focusing on getting back into your health game is to fuel your body with whole foods and eat intuitively- meaning eat when you are hungry and eat what you are in the mood for. Like I said before, I know it’s not that simple, but it’s truly how your body will increase its metabolism, build lean muscle, and sustain your health journey.
Applicable tip: Rest: establish a great bedtime routine that helps you unwind and prepare you for restorative sleep. ( I use the calm app to fall asleep) Hydrate: Invest in a liter-sized water bottle and take it with you everywhere, everyday. This will help you reach your hydration goals. Refuel: pick a day to grocery shop and food prep so that you may have healthy, whole foods readily available throughout the week.
7. Find something that works for you!
A good motto to live by when it comes to working out is “don’t dis it until you try it. At least twice.” Different types of workout classes can vary by instructor and by institution. For this reason, I think it’s smart to try something once more if you weren’t initially impressed to make sure it wasn’t just that instructor or that specific company you didn’t care for. You may think “How do I try a wide variety of classes if I’ve never done so before” I’ll tell you a couple ways I have done it myself.
Applicable tip(s): If your city offers it, join something like SweatNet or ClassPass. These offer you a wide variety of classes (4-8 free for SweatNet members!) at a fraction of the price for a monthly fee ranging from $9 (Sweatnet)-$69/$79/$99(Class Pass membership options). If your city doesn’t offer these memberships, I’ve still got you girl! Yoga: youtube YogawithAdriene. Dance cardio: Obe fitness. HIIT (High intensity interval workouts) you can do at home: MadFit on Youtube. Barre(my personal fav): Barre3 online. Cycling: Peloton. Cardio: Couch to 5k app.
*I also have quite a few cardio workouts and HIIT workouts in the highlight reels of my Instagram linked here. Per your request, I will also be sharing weekly workouts on my instagram feed.
8. Accountability partners, you need em!
There will inevitably come a day or a couple days where you just don’t feel like making strides toward your goals. Even after checking in with your body and ensuring you’re physically ready, your motivation may not always be there. And thats where your accountability partner comes in. Whether its your BFF, mom, partner, or trainer find the person that will hold you accountable and cares for the goals you made just as much as you do. Remember, you may need to lift this exact person up on days when he/she does not feel motivated either!
Applicable tip: Find an accountability partner that you will talk to or see on a daily or almost daily basis. I’m not necessarily encouraging you to workout on a daily basis but this daily reminder of your partners’ presence is enough to trigger you to think about those goals you set and the steps necessary to reach them. I would also highly recommend you review your goals on a monthly basis. This allows you to realize which goals may need to be changed and in which way(s).
9. Incorporate stretching + Meditation
I like to think of stretching for the body equivalent to meditating for the mind. Both exercises help to calm the central nervous system and require a type of sustained attention through what may be uncomfortable feelings, both physically and emotionally. They also both elicit a type of biofeedback from the body/mind that allows you to tune in to what you are feeling both physically and mentally. For that reason, both of these exercises are essential when undergoing a health and wellness transformation or journey.
Applicable tip: After every workout and even on days you take off, dedicate at least 10 minutes to stretching and 10 minutes to meditating. Whether its right when you wake up or before you go to bed it will help you stay loose and keep calm throughout your days. I tend to do both before I go to bed in order to set a relaxed tone for a good night of rest and ease any tightness in my muscles that faced some tension throughout the day. I use my yoga mat, straps and a series of stretches for my stretching segment and the daily calm app for my meditation.
For me personally, I like to make monthly goals that pertain to my overarching health and wellness goals. I look at my nutrition, hydration, movement, mental state, sleep and a few other aspects depending on how i’m feeling. I’m adequately able to reflect on the month’s progress and how I felt mentally, physically and emotionally through a healthy habits tracker in combination with a journal I’ve used over the years.
You simply write your goals at the top and mark off the days you were able to achieve or make progress towards those specific goals. I’ve made one for myself and I’d like to share it with you here by subscribing to my site.
No matter where you are in your health and wellness journey, I hope these tips and exercises help you reach the fitness goals you’ve set out for yourself this year.
And always remember that the goals themselves are not nearly as important as the why behind them. You are enough. You are well. You are worthy.