Getting in shape might seem like a daunting task, but it is achievable for anyone. Whether you’re looking to gain strength, improve your performance, or lose weight, the beginning of a new year offers an exciting starting point for your fitness journey. No matter your fitness goal, our easy-to-follow blueprint offers you the steps to success.
Read on for the steps you can take to improve your fitness and see results this new year – or any time!
- Set Achievable, Specific Goals
If your teachers in school ever asked you to write down S.M.A.R.T. goals, they were onto something.
When you have a broad goal like “I want to get fit,” it’s difficult to know when you’ve officially achieved your goal. In turn, it’s also difficult to know if you’re making substantial progress toward your goal. This can lead to a loss of confidence or deter you from continuing on in your fitness journey.
This is why it’s important to set specific, measurable, and attainable goals. When you have a focused goal, you are able to better determine how close you are to achieving your goal and whether or not your current routine is working.
So, what does a good goal look like? Rather than saying “I want to get in shape,” a better goal would say, “I want to lose 5% of my body fat” or “I want to increase my strength.”
- Set a Manageable Workout Schedule
When you want to get in shape, it’s easy to throw yourself into every type of exercise class, buy a plethora of new equipment, and annihilate yourself with exercise for days on end. While this will probably yield some type of result, it isn’t likely to bring you total success. Why? In short, this isn’t sustainable.
Not only could you get overuse injuries, but the potential for burnout is real. Improving your fitness isn’t a one-month project; it’s a long-term lifestyle, which means that your workout schedule needs to be sustainable for the long-term.
If you’re new to working out or you’re short on time, we recommend 2-4 days per week of workouts. If you have an hour each of those days, that’s great! But if not – because, let’s face it, life is busy – 20 to 30 minutes of quality exercise per day is all you need. (And for those of you who find it difficult to set aside a 20 minute chunk in your day, 10 minutes is much better than nothing!)
- Hop on the Resistance Train
If you want to lose weight and increase your fitness, resistance training is your key to success!
We get it. The term “resistance training” may conjure images of giant barbells, grunting, and crowded gyms. While that is a type of resistance training, the term really just means exercising with some sort of weight, whether that’s bodyweight, free weights, or resistance bands.
Resistance training helps to burn body fat by building muscles which need more calories to operate. Muscle growth is also what creates a “toned” appearance, and it improves your metabolism as well (because, again, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body uses up). If that isn’t enough, resistance training can aid with osteoporosis prevention, strengthen joints, improve balance, and overall help you be a more functional human being.
Of course, spin classes, hiking, swimming, or other cardio might be something you enjoy. In that case, we recommend that you do those things but also incorporate resistance training into your routine.
- Fuel With Purpose
Protein builds muscle, and as said before, building muscle is vital in improving your metabolism and increasing the amount of calories, or fat, your body burns. Protein is also incredibly satiating, which helps you stay fuller for longer.
Try incorporating protein into every meal. For example, have eggs at breakfast or add protein powder into your standard bowl of oatmeal. During lunch and dinner, you could have meat, fish, vegan protein like tofu or legumes. Our favorite high-protein snacks include jerky, greek yogurt, cheese, and protein bars.
- Remember that Discipline is Key
Motivation is an awesome thing. It inspires us to complete a task and gives us the energy to keep going. Usually, when we first feel inspired to “get in shape,” we feel incredibly motivated.
However, the tough reality is that motivation can be fleeting. Once it runs out, it’s easy to lose steam and fall off of your training schedule. Because fitness can be a long-term process, it can also be discouraging to not see progress right away.
That’s why discipline is key. Discipline is what keeps you sticking to your goals long after motivation runs out. So, how can we help ourselves have discipline? A few strategies our trainers like to use include keeping an accountability journal, sharing your goal with others for moral support, or even having a friend or family member workout with you. If you’re able to, having a personal trainer (like our NouFlex trainers) can keep you showing up when you’re supposed to!