You Gotta Have a Plan

New Year’s time brings the annual resolution process for so many people.  One of the top resolutions has been about fitness.  Many times people give up before they reach their fitness goals because they don’t see progress.  With so much contradicting information out there, who can blame them?  Here are some simple healthy solutions to ensure everyone succeeds in reaching their fitness goals:

  1. Decide on a fitness goal: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever know when you get there?  It’s like leaving your house and not having a destination.
  2. Plan your route: Once you know your goal, it’s important to figure out a path.  Will you find a fitness professional to write out a plan or do you want to go at it alone?  You need to decide on what activities you want to do and how often you want to do them.  All of this will make things easier in the long run.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to get you started and you can adjust it as you go.
  3. Start small and ease into it: Thinking shorter term will keep you more focused on the immediate steps needed for long-term fitness.  Try challenging yourself to weekly or monthly goals so you don’t waiver.  The important thing is to take it at your own pace, keeping in mind that it’s a process.  You won’t change your body overnight so don’t try to abuse yourself out of the gates to the point you’re sore for a week. 
  4. Find a partner.  There is no shortage of people looking to get into shape.  Find someone who you can work out with or at the very least, someone who can hold you accountable.  It can be easy to give up on yourself, but much harder to give up on someone else, too.  Tell someone about your goals and have them hold you to your plan.
  5. Don’t give up.  Stay focused and committed to this journey.  It may not always be easy, but it will pay off.  Make this the year you stay true to yourself and your goals.

Simple Fitness Solutions

Fitness can be complicated.  Looking at all those publications out there that contradict each other and trying to sift through the valuable information can be a daunting task.  Here are some simplified solutions to help you finally reach that illusive fitness goal.

  1. Drink more water: Water is obviously vitally important to our survival.  Beyond that, water has a myriad of other benefits.  For example, studies have shown that if you drink about 20 ounces of water immediately upon waking up in the morning can actually boost your metabolism up to 30% for an hour and a half.  Talk about a great way to start the day – plus, it’s simple.  Water is essential to keep the metabolism active all day.
  2. Get more sleep.  This factor is often an over-looked element in the realm of fitness.  More quality sleep will allow your body to function correctly, process nutrients, repair muscle, and wake up more refreshed for the next day. 
  3. Clean up your nutrition.  How you fuel your body is critical, no matter what your fitness goal may be.  Start by replacing your carb-loaded processed snacks with fresh whole foods.  Next, try spreading out your meals evenly in the day, consuming healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates. 
  4. Move more.  You don’t need to over-think this step.  Bottom line is that your body will only burn calories when you exert energy.  Ease into it by just finding opportunities in your day to move around, whether it’s walking, climbing, or even as easy as standing up and sitting down over and over again. If you want to make even more strides toward a new body, try stepping into a fitness facility.  Here are a few more simple guidelines for your transformation:
    1. When it comes to exercise, it’s important to get the most out of your effort and time.  If you want the most effective workout, stick to resistance training and supplement with cardio (weight training before cardio training).  This will ensure you burn more calories while reaping the true benefits of resistance training.
    2. Stick to the compound exercises.  Compound exercises are movements that require more than one muscle group to engage.  When you use more muscles, you burn more calories.  These are the most beneficial exercises in the gym because they are both efficient and effective.  Here are some of the best compound exercises you can perform (remember, proper form is vitally important when performing these movements) 
      Squats, Dead-lifts, Lunges, Push-ups, Pull-ups, Bent Over Rows, Dips, and Shoulder Presses. 
      Often times, the more challenging the exercise, the better it is for you.  Give these a shot when you’re in the gym next.  Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.