Well, its the new year and, I don’t know about you, but it seems every TV commercial and pop-up add I see, and every Groupon/Living Social deal that has appeared in my inbox are all related to the New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss/Fitness Phenomenon. From cries of, “This year I’m gonna loose weight,” to “This year I’m gonna get in shape,” it seems everyone is on the bandwagon. But ask any gym owner, or visit any gym now and then again in February, to see how long these resolutions hold on.
We are an instant gratification society with the belief that if I work harder then the results I desire will come faster. Unfortunately, when it comes to achieving the results we desire via exercise, that belief is doing us more harm than good. Case in point, the New Year’s Resolution exercisers.
Full of good intentions they enter the gym to do some cardio, maybe hit a few weights and get in some crunches. Over those first few weeks the “quick trips” to the gym take longer than expected. Time gets tighter and meeting the normal obligations of the day become more difficult. The to-do list gets longer and longer as the days pass. Then there is the soreness. When you first go back its hard to know how much is too much and more often than not we over do it. It is this combination of time requirements and soreness that ultimately derails even the best intentioned individuals.
So, if your resolutions for the New Year include getting fit or getting healthy, how can you turn them into a reality in 2013?
Step 1 – Build SMART Goals
Getting fit and getting healthy are great goals to have, but what do they mean? Can you define them? How will you know if you’ve gotten fit? How will you know if you’ve gotten healthy?
How can you define health? Learn here.
Avoid not knowing when you’ve gotten there by building SMART goals. SMART goals are:
Let’s face it…nothing is a better motivator to keep you on track than a looming deadline. Take the time to construct the specifics of your goals. When you know exactly where you are going and how you are going to get there it makes it easier to stay the course.
Step 2 – Less is More
Spending 2 hours at the gym isn’t doing you any good. And contrary to popular belief/conventional wisdom less is more when it comes to gym time. In a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen, researchers found that 30 minutes of exercise was as effective in reducing body weight and body mass as 60 minutes of exercise.
“The participants in our study trained every day for three months. All training sessions were planned to produce a light sweat, but participants were expected to increase the intensity and give it gas three times a week,” explains Mads Rosenkilde, PhD student at the University of Copenhagen in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and author of the study. Over the course of 13 weeks the participants who exercised only 30 minutes per day lost 2lbs more than those who exercised for 60 minutes per day.
But wait, the news gets better. In addition to weight loss, participants who exercised for only 30 minutes reported having more energy and eating less throughout the day. Plus, when it came time to exercise, they had the desire to do so, and they simply felt better all day long.
Over exercising – a classic mistake of the New Year’s crowd – leaves us starving and exhausted, eating more and moving less as the days pass. Not seeing the results you are striving for makes motivation hard to maintain, and before you know it you are back where you started. So, get in, get a good sweat going, and keep it to 30 minutes.
Step 3 – Great abs are made in the kitchen
No matter how many days you train, no matter how much weight you lift, no matter how many miles you log, you will never get the body you desire if you don’t feed it right.
Not sure how to feed your body right? Follow these simple guidelines to build healthy plates meal after meal. You’ll find that you sleep better, your energy is more consistent throughout the day, and you’ll recover faster from workouts that previously would have sent you over the edge.
- Get white sugar and white flour out of your diet.
- Fill your plate with fresh vegetables, lean meats, and fresh fruits at every meal. Yes, this means vegetables for breakfast.
- Drink lots of water. Whenever you think of it, take a sip. Carry a water bottle so this is possible at all times.
- Incorporate healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, butter from grass fed cows (Try Kerrygold), cage free/free range egg yolks and coconut milk/coconut oil into your daily meals. Read why coconut oil is more than just a healthy fat here and here.
Since the start of the fitness craze in the 70s and 80s a hot debate has raged. What is a better workout? Is it the lycra-clad aerobics Jane Fonda made so popular, or is it lifting weights like Arnold on Muscle Beach? The answer…it depends.
This intrigues me…there are now websites designed to help you keep track of your exercise habits and reward you (in some cases monetarily) for doing what you set out to do.
When we first seek to get (back) in shape starting is the hardest thing. We can’t believe how out of shape we are and how everything seems so difficult. How many times have you thrown in the towel and gone back to your same habits?