The start of a new year brings with it a chance to set goals for the 365 days ahead and improve on attempts from previous years. For example, how many times did you punch the snooze button when you had planned on waking up early to work out? Whatever happened to all those healthy lunches you were going to cook for yourself on weekends? Maybe it’s time to reassess your approach. We asked top trainers and fitness pros to tell us about the New Year’s resolutions they wish their clients would make. Keep reading for their expert opinions on how you can start the year off right.
1) "THIS IS THE YEAR OF (FILL IN THE BLANK)"
Skip the laundry list of resolutions and choose a single word for your year’s mantra, recommends Shay Kostabi, ACE-certified physical therapy and movement specialist. “Choosing just one word that describes how you want to feel instead of what you want to look like or what you think you should do is incredibly powerful.” Say it aloud, write it down and connect with it all year long. Your theme will guide you in aligning your actions, behaviors and goals, says Kostabi, who’s used words like “ascension,” “glamour” and “clarity” in the past.
2) "I'M GOING TO SPEND MORE TIME IN THE KITCHEN"
This advice may sound counterintuitive, but many people put too much emphasis on their workouts and too little on nutrition, says Petrina Hamm, ACE- certified trainer and founder of PetrinaHammFitness.com. “You can’t out-exercise a bad habit.” Skip the convenience store snacks and fast food and cook up simple foods like lightly seasoned chicken, rice noodles and other quick and healthy meals. “You don’t need the skills of Julia Childs,” says Hamm. Keep healthy staples on hand like eggs, whole wheat pasta, beans, frozen veggies, yogurt, fruit and chicken breast.
3) "I WILL TAKE MORE TIME FOR MYSELF"
Finding ways to de-stress helps you mentally and physically. Chronic stress is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden emotional stress may even trigger a heart attack. Give yourself permission to take five and do something nice for yourself, says Jamie Walker, CEO and co-founder of the online fitness marketplace SweatGuru. Go for a walk, practice deep breathing, turn off your cell phone, watch a funny video or practice yoga to unwind.
4) "I PROMISE TO BE GOOD... MOST OF THE TIME"
Keep your eyes on the prize 90 percent of the time and give yourself 10-percent leeway, says Astrid Swan McGuire, Los Angeles-based personal trainer, fitness model and athlete. “It’s not about the jumpstart diet or the quick fix. It’s about dedication. Be 90-percent ready at all times! ” When you’re dedicated 90 percent of the time, it gives you 10 percent to enjoy a cocktail or celebrate a birthday, knowing your commitment will keep you on track.
5) "I'M CUTTING DOWN ON ALCOHOL"
Everyone wants a flat stomach, but few people are willing to give up the alcohol to do it, says Bryan Ortiz, certified personal trainer of Brooklyn Bad Ass Fitness. Red wine may be heart healthy, but those excess calories add up quickly if you’re trying to lose weight. A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involving over 7,700 men over the course of five years found that middle-aged men who switched from moderate drinking to abstinence or occasional drinking showed the highest frequency of weight loss. Want flat abs? Ditch the booze.
6) "I WILL PUSH MYSELF HARDER DURING SOLO WORKOUTS"
It’s easy to find motivation with a trainer shouting in your face, but working out by yourself shouldn't give you an excuse to go easy, says certified trainer Bryan Ortiz. “Clients get lazy when they work out alone and slack. I want them to visualize me yelling at them to get them out of their comfort zone and get a bad-ass body even when I’m not there training them.” Work out with a fit friend, listen to motivating music or find other ways to inspire yourself to push outside your comfort zone.
7) "I'M SIGNING UP FOR AN EVENT/RACE"
Signing up for a race -- be it a Tough Mudder, a 5K fun run or a charity race -- motivates you to reach for a goal, says certified trainer Bryan Ortiz. “It gives you something to strive for outside of looking great for beach season.” As a bonus, you also get a sense of pride and achievement when you cross the finish line (not to mention a medal or cool race T-shirt to remind you of your accomplishment). Good ones to try include Goruck Challenges, the Ragnar Relay and the RunDisney series.
8) "I PLAN TO PROGRESS SLOWLY BUT SURELY"
It may sound virtuous to go from the couch to a full marathon in three months, but if you jump in all at once, you’ll likely end up injured. Instead, work your way up gradually, says Amie Hoff, a NYC-based personal trainer and founder of Hoff Fitness LLC. “Set mini goals. If you want to run in a marathon, first find a walking event. Then move up to a 5K, then a 10K. Work up to a half marathon and finally, a marathon.” You’ll not only feel comfortable running with other people in a large group, but you’ll understand the logistics of the race setup as well.
9) "I'M GOING TO REWARD MYSELF"
Giving yourself a small financial reward for each workout acts as motivation and can go toward new fitness gear or workout clothing. “I recommend my clients put away $5 for every time they complete a workout or follow-through on an appointment with me,” says Yana Hempler, an online personal trainer from Victoria, British Columbia. “This way, you’re not only getting healthier but saving toward buying something you want to buy for yourself.” Spend the extra dough on a pedometer, pair of lifting gloves, resistance bands or a new pair of workout shoes.
10) "I WILL TRACK MY FOOD AND EXERCISE"
While tracking your dietary intake helps you manage your overall weight, it’s also a good idea to keep tabs on your exercise and emotions, says Angelique Millis, fitness professional and creator of the Fit in 30 Workout, Perfect 10 Workout and Dream Body Online Training. “Set goals for yourself and take five minutes each day to update your journal, including tracking your feelings about your fitness journey.” Hold yourself accountable but also have patience with yourself as you take time to understand your personal habits and behaviors, says Millis. “Plus, it’s rewarding to look back and see progress.”source