New Year Fitness Challenge: Change your mindset
Happy New Year! Starting a new year regime can be a daunting task. Many of us expect perfection, but success is not a clear, linear process. If we tell ourselves that it will be a smooth journey, we become discouraged & give up entirely by the end of January. It doesn’t have to be that way! You can become healthier than ever before by building small habits overtime. My new year fitness challenge for you: Be patient and consistent. Start by implementing these tips below.
New Year Fitness Challenge: 4 Tips for Success
Tip #1: Measure your workout success by quality (intensity and proper form), NOT quantity (how long you were in the gym).
Too often, we base our fitness self worth on how long we exercised. It’s not your fault. The fitness industry has brainwashed us to believe that more is better. This is not always true. You could choose long (60 minutes or more), steady-state cardio, or you could a choose short (20-45 minutes), high intensity interval training (HIIT) or strength training. All have positive benefits, but ramping up your intensity & decreasing workout duration is more efficient because you can get the same results you’d get from a long workout in less time. If your goal is to burn fat and build muscle, here are a few ways to increase intensity:
- Weight training: Try a heavier weight & less reps (5-12 reps).
- HIIT: Sprint giving it all you got for a short burst of time instead of going for a long jog at 40% of your maximum effort. If you’re looking for a program that really takes you to your max, I recommend Insanity. It kicked my butt.
- Circuit Training: Incorporate supersets instead of taking long breaks between each exercise. A superset consists of doing 2 different exercises (using opposing muscle groups) without resting in between. For example, doing a chest press followed by a lat pull down.
Tip #2: Get real with yourself.
If you want to make fitness a part of your lifestyle for good, you need to reflect on what has kept you from doing that in the past. For example, I know that I have much better workouts & fitness results when I go to group classes compared to when I workout at home. In my at-home gym, I get distracted & bored… The house phone rings, my cat climbs on me, a family member comes in to ask me a question, etc. Realizing this allowed me to address it. Instead of hoping for motivation and never-ending willpower, think about what has held you back in the past & develop a realistc plan. Comment below if you need help on this one… Let’s talk!
Tip #3: Incorporate more movement into your daily life.
Annals of Internal Medicine reports that the benefits of exercise are weakened if you sit for most of the day. Try Pedram Shojai’s method mentioned in his book The Urban Monk. Every hour, get up and do 10 reps of any of the following exercises: push ups, tricep dips, squats, a walk around the block, or jumping jacks. Another way to avoid the negative metabolic effects of sitting is to get a standing desk & try these 6 tips.
Tip #4: Choose a workout regime that includes a strength training component.
Cardio burns calories and assists in weight loss, but strength training is more effective in changing your metabolic rate long-term, causing you to burn more calories at rest. The more muscle you gain, the more calories you burn at rest, making it easier to maintain your weight. One of my favorite programs that incorporates strength training is Hammer & Chisel. If you dread weights, comment below… It just means you haven’t found your soulmate workout yet!