By Martin Ebner
After weeks of overindulgence in mulled wine and turkey stuffing, it likely that you’re ready for a fresh and healthy start to the new year. If you’ve already set yourself the new year’s resolution to get fit in 2018, here are some helpful tips to ensure you’re exercising long after the rest have thrown in the towel.
Mentally prepare yourself for the road ahead
It’s important that you mentally prepare yourself for the road ahead. If you think that you’ll be able to counteract weeks, months and even years of little exercise and poor eating habits in a matter of weeks, you’re off to a bad start. Getting fit is a lifestyle change and requires hard work, commitment and consistency. If you can physiologically prepare yourself for the long term, you stand a far greater chance of making your new year’s fitness resolution stick in 2018.
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As tempted as you are to throw yourself head over heels into a new fitness routine in an attempt to get speedy results, it’s best to be patient. Start slowly and gradually ease into your new workout routine as your fitness level and confidence improves. This will prevent feeling overwhelmed and possibly even a burn out from overexercising. Remember getting fit a marathon, not a sprint!
Consistency is one of the keys when it comes to getting in shape. An active week followed by 2 inactive weeks, followed by 5 workouts in a row followed by another inactive week etc will unlikely get you the results you’re hoping for. Instead, be realistic about how hard and how often you can exercise taking into account your current work and lifestyle commitments. If you can only manage 2 workouts a week consistently, that’s absolutely fine and far better than infrequent trips to the gym. It’s likely that once you start, you will gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts as exercise becomes more of a priority in your life.
Related: Consistency: the key to training success
Set some goals
It’s a great idea to set some realistic goals. While “getting fit” is a great place to start, it’s hard to know how to plan your workouts without precise goals to aim for. Once you have a better idea of what you would like to achieve in the weeks, months and years ahead, you can decide which form of exercise is best suited to your fitness goals and can begin to create a detailed map of how to get there.
Find something you enjoy doing
If you truly hate the gym, don’t even try to convince yourself otherwise. Despite what you may have heard, exercise is supposed to be fun, not a drag. If you find that the gym is a bad fit for you, find an alternative. Believe me, you can get superhero fit without having to step foot in the gym. Yoga, Zumba, hiking, biking and kayaking are just some of the thousands of ways to get fit and there really is something for everyone!
Monitoring your progress along the way is a great way to stay motivated. Take body measurements, weight, body fat percentages and/or a selfie or 2 along the way. Next time you feel like giving up, have a look at how far you’ve come. Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement to help us stay focused and consistent.
Get professional guidance
One of the hardest parts of starting a new fitness routine is simply knowing where to start. If you’re a true beginner you might want to consider doing some research online or asking the local personal trainer at your gym for some guidance. Doubt, at times can be detrimental to fitness results and if you can erradiate any apprehension from the get-go, you’re already one step ahead of the rest.
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Forget about the old you
If you’re returning to exercise after a lengthy period of inactivity it can be quite easy to compare yourself to how fit you were when you were regularly exercising. While you may be tempted to do this for motivational purposes, it can actually have the opposite effect. Instead, consider this a fresh start. Focus on where you are now, your goals and visualise where you’re going.
Getting fit and sticking to a healthier lifestyle isn’t easy and you should reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting in. Knowing that you get a little reward every time you hit a new goal is a great way to motivate yourself to push a little harder.
Prepare yourself for the road ahead, be patient, consistent and set goals. Find something you enjoy, monitor your progress, forget about the old you and reward yourself every time you hit a new goal. If you can follow at least a few of the steps above, you’ll stand a far greater chance of fitness success this year. Remember, getting fit is a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck and here’s to a fitter and healthier you in 2018!