If you went to the gym the first week of January, it’s likely you had to wait a turn or two for the bench press or elliptical machine. Forget about mat space for stretching and abs. A new year means a “new you” for many people either starting or returning to a fitness lifestyle. But does that momentum last?
Consider another familiar scenario: It’s the end of January and the crowds have thinned and there’s no more waiting in line. Yes, the motivation to exercise and work toward a healthier lifestyle is there as we gear up for a new year, but maintaining it for weeks and months can prove difficult.
So we asked two local fitness experts for a little advice. Here are their recommendations for keeping that momentum alive and well throughout the year. And hey — don’t give up!
Do what you like
Simple advice from Rob Conatser, Owner/Director of Sierra Strength & Speed: Find the type of exercise you enjoy doing and you’ll be more motivated. Fun is a great road to staying fit.
Get out your calendar
Mena Spodobalski, Owner and Advanced Fitness Trainer, MRI Fitness Training Complex in Reno , suggests you schedule workouts and treat them like every other important event or meeting. If you miss it, make it up later that day or the next one. “Never allow yourself to go more than two days without a workout,” she says. “Even a walk around the neighborhood with the family is effective.”
Keep your goals simple
Conaster believes that an easy-to-reach goal every two weeks or so is a way to keep motivation alive. “Do something obtainable and realistic, something like three or four pounds in three or four weeks,” he continues. “And, if you are doing better than that goal at that point, that’s great. “
Enlist a buddy
Someone urging you on may just be the thing to keep you running, lifting or walking to better fitness. “Have a friend that’s close to you gives you somebody to go with and a lot of the time that’s enough to keep you motivated,” Conaster says.
“You will stay hydrated and keep your body working the way it should,” Spodobalski explains, making those workouts more effective. If you are tired of plain water, she suggests green tea (hot or cold, with lemon/limes added). That’s also a metabolism booster.
Try for easy food prep
Exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand in success. Spodobalski believes you should plan menus for a week, shop on a Saturday, cook it up on a Sunday, and store the food for easy grabs for lunch or snacks during the week, or even a suddenly late dinner option. “You’ll be ready to hit the day without caving in to what is in the vending machine,” she adds.
“What people need to understand is that you didn’t put on that extra weight in a couple of weeks, so the results you’ll see won’t be as fast,” Conaster relates. So, don’t expect big leaps and bounds in that time frame: any progress is good progress, and just give it time.
Finally, don’t forget this important step at the end of the day. Try for seven hours of sleep at the least. “It’s just as important to rest your body and your mind,” Spodobalski says. “You will awake ready to tackle your day and won’t want to start off on the wrong foot.”