Set Real Resolutions for Real Results
One of the biggest obstacles for staying on track and achieving your resolutions is setting realistic goals that focus on long-term health and fitness results. Short-term goals of losing a certain amount of weight in only a few days is not only potentially dangerous, but can set you into a vicious start/stop workout cycle. Instead, break out your long-term fitness goals into short-range achievements that you can realistically accomplish. This approach will leave you feeling motivated and focused as you progress toward your ultimate fitness goals.
"People set unrealistic goals. So when they don’t achieve losing 100 pounds in six months, they feel like a failure," said Pam Carthew, personal trainer at Fitness Together East Greenwich. "Try to be realistic, taking into account the time you have available, work and family commitments and how committed you are to sticking to the nutrition side of the program."
Good nutrition means sticking with real, unprocessed whole foods. You shouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand food labels. If you don’t know what the ingredients are on a food label, Carthew suggests that you put it back on the shelf and move on to healthier options. Keep it simple and keep it real to stick with your health and fitness resolutions.
Carve Out Time for Fun Fitness Activities On the Road and At Home
Summer is a great time to take a break with a relaxing vacation. But that doesn’t mean you should vacate from a consistent exercise program. Carthew advises her clients to do at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. The 30-minute sessions should include aerobic exercise to work the heart and lungs as well as resistance exercises on alternate days to strengthen your core, tighten your stability and improve balance. If you’re unable to commit to a full 30 minutes, break it up into 10-minute sessions throughout your busy day. Carthew regularly squeezes in exercises during her work day and while on family vacations to maintain an active lifestyle.
“As personal trainers, we don’t get a lot of spare time in between clients," Carthew said. "In a short 10 minutes, we can do some pushups, squats and some walking lunges. No matter where we are on vacation, we have a resistance band in our suitcase and we either walk or run. On alternate days, we do bodyweight exercises for 30 minutes. Not much time taken out of your day."
When you’re at home, the dog days of summer may make you feel lazy. But it actually is the perfect time to be active outdoors with your friends and family. Whether you prefer a solo early morning walk, run, bicycle ride or swim before temperatures heat up or an evening bike ride and sunset walk with your family, it’s easier to find time to work out if you schedule it before or after the busy part of your day. As summer turns to fall, you may need to adjust your workout schedule to align with your family’s back-to-school commitments. Just make sure that working out and staying fit is a top priority for you and your family.
Find Something You Love and Someone You Love to be Around
If you are struggling with taking the first step to an active lifestyle, start out simple by finding an active outlet that you enjoy doing. If you can grab a partner in fitness to share the experience, that’s even better. By reaching out to others who may be struggling with committing to a healthier lifestyle, you can not only support each other, but enjoy working out together so the task is less daunting and a lot more enjoyable.
“Working out can be a chore unless you find something you enjoy doing," Carthew said. "If you love dancing, try Zumba. If you like walking, try progressing it to jogging. If you loved swimming when you were younger, why not try it again now? There are no rules. Just do something you love and you’ll find that the time will fly by."
Stay Committed for the Long Term by Continuing to Move Forward
Even if you indulge in burgers and brews at this weekend’s barbeque, keep moving toward your fitness resolutions by getting back on track the next day with a clean, nutrient-rich diet and consistent exercise program. There aren’t any quick fixes to a healthy and fit lifestyle. It’s important to not stop and continue moving your body in the gym and throughout your daily activities.
“If you start moving and trying to eat the right foods, you will start to feel the difference. But be patient," Carthew said. "Slow and steady is going to pay off for life, whereas a quick fad diet and rapid weight loss is not only dangerous, but will be back to haunt you in a matter of months. Don’t ever feel like a failure for straying off the path briefly. Just make sure you get back on the right path again quickly."