With the end of the year slowly coming up, one of the points on most people’s New Year’s resolutions is to get fit and drop a few pounds. The roads get filled with the January joggers which soon thin outcome the close of the year. What happened to them? Bad habits creep in; they get lazy and don’t stick to their resolutions! Well here are a few top tips to Motivate the New Year Shape Up, And help you achieve your goals.
1. Make a plan
This is probably the most fundamental step towards your fitness goals. What is it you really want to do? Get into that old pair of jeans? Lose 24 pounds? Whatever it is, make sure you can formulate your goal, which will then allow you the necessary planning and means of achieving that target in mind. Getting a notebook will help with this as you can do a weekly or daily plan with various notes and goals in place for the full year.
2. Do something you enjoy
This is as crucial as making a plan: decide which sport or activity to undertake. If you love eating, perhaps doing weights might help put those calories to better use for you. If you have bad joints, try something easy on the body like swimming. There is no point in doing an activity you won’t enjoy, as this is as contradictory as not wanting to really get in shape.
3. Make goals reasonable
Working up a base level of fitness takes time, and can also be a long process. You won’t be going from couch potato to running Iron Man events in one year. And you most certainly won’t become tee-total from spending every Friday night at the pub. Many people then stop through injury or because their goal is unreasonable and unachievable. Work up in small, but positive achievements you can look back on and keep progressing to that higher step. Putting up pictures of your goals can help focus you on those rainy days when you’re not feeling particularly motivated.
By diet, I don’t mean live off salads for the rest of your life! You may need to eat more calories if you are actually doing weight training, or may need to swap out those sugary snacks for a more stable meal with carbohydrates. Have a look around and see what people are doing in your sport or chosen activity. Supplements like vitamin C can always hold off a cold before you feel one coming on, however, a balanced diet with whole foods with fruit and veg are always better than processed sources.
5. Join a team or club
Sharing your success or working towards a common goal with others is always more fun than alone. It also creates a binding agreement whereby you can’t let your peers down, whereas it’s always easy to think “I can’t be bothered to go for that jog tonight”. It also means you can train harder, get tips off your pals, and also socialize while getting fit.
6. Listen to your Body
This is crucial to keeping potential injuries at bay any illnesses that may be looming. If you are feeling more aches and pains than you usually notice, maybe take a bit of time off for your body to recover. If you have a sniffle, don’t feel bad about taking a night off, but just make sure it’s constructive and on the road to recovery.
Not only from a recovery perspective but getting enough sleep also helps regulate hormones and also get into a nice “routine”. The body typically has its sleep cycles in periods of 90 minutes, with most taking about 15 minutes to fall to sleep. If possible try to wake up at the end of a sleep cycle which will help you feel bright and ready for the rest of the day.
8. Guilty Pleasures
We are all human, let’s be honest, with busy lives which from time to time we want to indulge in alcohol, fizzy drinks, and takeaways. Whatever it might be, don’t be too hard on yourself when you do take some time out to do exactly the habit you might be trying to tame. Once in awhile is OK, and any change is change from the better. Make sure you incorporate estimates for these kinds of days in your plan at the start so they don’t pull you off track.
If you do undertake a bit of exercise as part of your routine be sure to incorporate stretching into your routine. Generally, dynamic stretching is good after a quick warm-up, with stretches lasting a few seconds. This makes sure you don’t hyperextend anything during the activity or loose elasticity in the muscle. Static stretching can be done after with a cool down, being held from 15 – 30 seconds. This stops you from feeling tight the next day and helps with long term elasticity.
Expanding the mind is just as important as the body. Learn something new, a new technique or stretch; see what the pros get up to. Keep that goal in mind at all times and your focus on what you really want to achieve and what triggered you to want to get there.