Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ten Ways to Keep Your Fitness Resolutions

Alright, time for a check-in. How's it going? Are you keeping up with your fitness resolutions? January is flying by us at lighting speed, and my hope is that you're beginning to see small successes in terms of the goals you've established. If not, take a deep breath. All is not lost. This may be our last week in January, but it doesn't have to be the last week you attempt to uphold your fitness resolutions. Doing so involves a small learning curve. Learning how to perform exercises, learning how to incorporate exercise into your life, and most importantly—learning how to keep yourself challenged and motivated. And yes, I see how all of this can be very unmotivating. Even frustrating. But there are sneaky little tricks of the trade that can help everything, from your muscles to your attitude, fall into place. And today, I'm giving you ten of them.


1) Add five pounds. Doing the exercises but not feeling the burn? You're probably not lifting enough weight. Add five pounds and feel the difference. You want the last 30% of your lifts to really burn. If they don't, then you'll need to add five more. And more until you reach your individual burning point.

2) Add another set. It's not unreasonable to perform three sets of an exercise. So if you're only doing two, try adding another set to really get those muscles to fatigue.

3) Update your playlist. Yes, I know. A random suggestion, but if you're used to working out with ear buds in place, make sure you are constantly updating your music. Who wants to listen to the same song over and over and over again? Sounds boring. Create a party in your pod and get to gettin'.

4) Update your clothes. Not just any clothes, you want the kind made specifically for the gym. You know what it feels like to wear a sassy dress or suit, so do the same for yourself at the gym. Dress the part, play the part...and then you'll feel the part!

5) Try a new class. Even if you aren't a gym member, many will let you join classes for a small fee. Schedule too sporadic? That's just fine! Do your own workouts, and then when you have free time that meshes with a gym's class schedule, pop into one and learn something new. Your muscles will thank you for the change, and your exercise routine might change for the better as well.

6) Train with a trainer. At least once. Like the teachers in a class, a trainer will show you new and exciting exercises. Or ways to modify what you're currently doing so that you get better results more efficiently. And most importantly, a trainer will target YOU and YOUR goals.

7) Train with a buddy. Sometimes we need someone there holding us accountable for our actions. And sometimes we just need someone there to talk to. Whatever your reason for wanting someone at your side, run with it. It'll be more fun and it will make the time fly by! Plus, there are plenty of exercises you can do with a partner. Like the leg toss, which works your core. Lie flat on your back, have your partner stand with one foot on either side of your head. Hold onto their ankles as you lift your legs up toward them. Instruct your partner to push your legs to the ground, and then fight their push, using your abdominal muscles to keep your legs from hitting the ground again. Bring your legs back up, repeat, and then switch roles.

8) Subscribe to a magazine. There are TONS of fitness magazines on supermarket and bookstore shelves. And they're all fairly informative. I especially like Oxygen. (If there are any men out there reading this, let me know if you have any suggestions...I failed to come up with one.) Best part, the subscriptions are fairly cheap and they guarantee you a year's worth of monthly motivation in the form of new ideas, recipes and more.

9) Journal your progress. Whether you do so on a poster with others, or in a tiny little notebook tucked inside your gym bag or purse, keeping track of your progress can be extremely motivating. And it can also help you keep to a schedule. Sit down every week and decide what you're going to do, pencil it into the rest of your life, and then stick to it.

10) Ask questions. Never, ever hesitate to ask questions. The staff at your gym should be more than knowledgeable. And if the members at your gym are anything like those at mine, then they'll be just as ready and willing to talk you through an unfamiliar exercise or piece of equipment. That's the best part about joining a gym—you get an automatic support system of what could very well be hundreds of people! Let them inspire you, let them educate you. Even as a trainer, I can honestly say that I get some of my best exercises just by watching people at the gym!

11) Join a gym. Consider this your bonus advice for the day, because really—what are you waiting for? I know they can be pricey, but they can also be totally worth it. Would you rather work out in your living room, with last night's mess staring you in the face, or would you rather work out in a gym with all those fit people surrounding you. Translation: motivating you.

Now, go. Get back to your resolutions. You're doing fine. And when you feel yourself backing off, or hitting that inevitable plateau, revisit this list and then get goin' again!

Question: So tell me—how's it going? Are you keeping up with your fitness resolutions? 

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my PRO OATS giveaway! You just might be one of four to win a free bag of PRO OATS. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, January 28, 2011).

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