As I glanced at the Sunday morning newspaper on this fine 4th day of January, the sale ads are enticing us to buy the newest and best exercise equipment and gear, along with the trendiest in exercise fashion.
Many people--maybe you, and yes, even me--have resolved to some new healthy habits. in fact, according this blog at Details, 46% of Americans make a resolution, 66% of whom make fitness resolutions, and 1 in 3 give up by the end of January.
Okay, I agree that statistics aren't always accurate, but if working in gyms for the past 15 years have told me anything, it's that most people with the best of intentions fizzle out by March. How do YOU keep from being a statistic?
The General Surgeon recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each week, which is like 30 minutes 5 days a week. Also, it is recommended to add in strength training 2x's a week.
1. Be committed. Everyone is busy. Fitting in time to workout is a struggle, and it's an easy thing to dismiss if you are feeling a time crunch. Make a reasonable goal and stick with it! Going to the gym 7 days a week is NOT a good goal if you have been averaging 0 days a week.
2. Be accountable. Tell someone or a group of someones your goal. Best case: get a workout partner. Even if you don't do the same exercises, knowing someone is counting on you to show up at the same time will help. Also, if you do get a workout partner, unless you are meeting to walk/run together, make a deal not to tell the other if you aren't going to be there. If one of you needs to skip, the other will most likely ditch the workout too. But if sticking to your goal is what is most important to you, get to that workout independently, which will help you in the long run anyway!
3. Be open. Do you know what you like? Try classes, swimming, walking/running, cycling, hiking, aqua fitness, different cardio or weight machines. Find something that you ENJOY. Or something you can imagine enjoying. :) Exercise is HARD work. It's not always fun. I recently went to a class that I hated. It was so hard, but at the same time, I knew it was exactly what I needed to meet my fitness goals. It won't be the class I choose to keep going to every time, but I'm glad I experienced it.
4. Buy a new outfit. Okay, I know, I know. Sounds totally vain, and maybe it is. The truth is, sometimes, it's hard to go to a gym when you're not feeling good about yourself. Having workout clothes that are comfortable and that you feel good in is a confidence booster. Make a goal, and when you reach it, maybe buy a new piece?
5. Running is popular, but it isn't for everyone. I WANT to be a runner. But I hate it. I go through very short phases of running, but it's hard for me to stick with. If you really want to run, go for it! But if you don't like it, don't quit exercising. Find something you want to do!
6. Decide the right medium for you. Do you need a gym? Are you disciplined enough to do and enjoy home workouts? Do you like to run, walk, hike, bike outdoors? Don't feel like you HAVE to join a gym to get what you need. Personally, I like it, but I know lots of people who enjoy getting their exercise other ways.
7. Personal Training. If you are serious about meeting your goals, consider hiring a trainer. Do training with a friend, which makes it more affordable. This can at least give you a jump start.
8. Download helpful apps. There are a ton of good apps. I like http://www.myfitnesspal.com, but there are a variety of good apps that can help you track your fitness and diet.
I know this may not be rocket science or anything new, but hopefully it's a great place to start. Tomorrow I'm going to blog about how to find the right gym for you.