New Year’s resolutions can be the most challenging to keep up with when it comes to committing to a fitness program. After a holiday season full of family get-togethers, work parties, and traveling, and a Valentine’s Day full of chocolates, candy and champagne, a consistent routine can be difficult to maintain. These are some simple tips and techniques to help you stick with your plan, or create a new and effective one.
Make fitness a group effort.
Invite others to join you for a run or schedule fun winter sports such as sledding or ice skating, both of which are way more fun with two or more. These activities will get the heart rate up, work major muscle groups, and facilitate bonding with loved ones.
Carbohydrates are your friend.
Carbs are used for fuel to keep our bodies functioning at a high level. For those who are active, this is especially important because it helps with recovery and maintaining muscle growth. The best time to consume carbs is after a workout, but remember to only take in what you burn off.
H2O to go.
Water consumption is particularly important post-holidays due to the increase in sweets and alcohol consumption. Water fights cravings, especially for sugar. Research has shown that often when you think you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. Invest in a large water bottle—the daily recommended water consumption is 11 cups for females—and get on a schedule to ensure you reach your daily goal.
Make it a quickie.
Cardio workouts are best kept short, and interval training workouts provide the most effective way to shed pounds. You may have seen the HIIT acronym floating around—it stands for high-intensity interval training, and is the format of short bursts of cardio (such as burpees or jump squats) followed by a short period of rest (a matter of seconds). Intensity equals calories burned, so go hard.
The key to obtaining your goal is to start. Set measurable goals and make changes gradually. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, start walking a few miles now and increase over the next few weeks. Every day spent waiting is an opportunity missed toward being a better you.
Simone Mardner is a New York City-based trainer with 16 years experience. She specializes in functional training and injury prevention. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is not a consultation with a medical professional or a licensed trainer and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with questions or concerns should seek the advice of a certified professional.