Fitness Resolution During the Pandemic
When you just need trusted advice on where to start
January is always the busiest time of the year for gyms, yet this year may be very different for everyone due to the pandemic. Fitness resolutions are so popular during this time of year because of how we all feel after weeks of festive drinking eating and slowing down the activity we do year long. Yet most fitness goals set up in January are doomed by mid February, and you don’t need superpowers to achieve the health and physique you say you are going to get every New Year’s Eve. Here are my tips on how to get started and keep the momentum rolling.
1.Write it, be specific and Measure it- Just saying you want to lose weight is not enough, however “I want to lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks” is more of a specific goal, then take the action needed to achieve that goal. Breaking down the goal’s components (with numeric benchmarks), and keeping a regular checklist will help solidify the task and keep you on track. Make your resolutions follow the SMART model: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.
- Make Resolutions Manageable-Never make a goal a fantasy or unrealistic, this is where you will fail. For most people, upending a lifetime of habits can’t happen overnight—even if that night is December 31. The brain just likes comfortable old habits over new, different ones and this is what makes it so hard to stay on track. Yet it’s your consistency that will bring on new habits to replace the old. No matter how many times you slip, get back on and redo it.
- Baby steps are easier than monster steps-Losing over 50 pounds sounds intimidating and painful, yet if you break up your goal into losing 10 pounds in 8 weeks, this sounds less painful and more motivating. A goal that’s either far in the future or far out of your comfort zone can be tough to start, so break the resolution down into achievable steps. Better yet, give yourself several small resolutions throughout the year.
- Celebrate Benchmarks-When you achieve your weekly or monthly goals, choose a reward that won’t undo your hard work: a weekend cabin getaway, a hiking day, a mani-pedi, a massage, some new fitness gear, or a home movie date. Regular treats divided by goal (or really, divided by anything) can help you reach those milestones faster than you previously thought possible.
- Question Your Why– steady gym habit can result in six-pack abs, but superficial goals may lose their appeal after endless weeks of diet and exercise. Instead, try framing fitness as a direct path to health and happiness. Regular exercise has unexpected benefits including lowering cholesterol, boosting overall energy, and even increasing happiness. Bringing some deeper intentions to your workout can make all the difference in sticking to your goals. Before hitting the gym, ask yourself some introspective questions: Why did you make this resolution? What do you want to achieve? Developing answers that elicit a powerful emotional response can help motivate your goals.
- Ask for Help-Not knowing how to do a certain exercise is no excuse to write it off completely. If you’re curious about new techniques or find some exercises that are too intimidating (looking at you, deadlifts!) book a session with an online personal trainer to clear up confusion, help prevent injury, and learn to love new moves. Trainers and instructors are there to help, so don’t be self-conscious about asking for advice.
- Keep a Schedule-Time management is important for accomplishing any goal and fitness is no exception. Early morning exercise is a great way to fit a workout into a busy day, and it may encourage healthier eating and more movement throughout the day. But if waking up early is your idea of cruel and unusual torture, then sweating at 6 a.m. is probably not a sustainable system. Make your fitness routine work for you: Pick a time of day when you have energy, schedule a workout, rinse, and repeat.
- Keep It Interesting-If your resolution is to exercise consistently three or four times per week, it’s time to think beyond the treadmill and the weight rack. Even for experienced gym rats, sticking to one or two types of exercise can get a little mind-numbing. Experiment with yoga, rock climbing, martial arts, team sports, kettlebells, and everything between. The more variety in your exercise program, the more fun it will be to follow, and the more likely you’ll find something you absolutely love. The best way to test-drive a new form of exercise is to take on online group class or book a session with a personal trainer—think of the extra cost as an investment in your health.
- Hold Yourself Accountable-Stay on track by putting your money where your mouth is: Pay in advance for an exercise program that demands attendance. If working out with a trainer or group class isn’t your style, pencil in regular gym dates with friends or your partner to stay accountable and do it online. Knowing that someone’s waiting for you online can prevent skipping workouts (or sleeping through them), and it’s a lot more fun than going it alone. Initiation and maintenance of exercise behavior in older women: predictors from the social learning model.
- Think Outside the Box-Exercise doesn’t have to be a formal activity. If your New Year’s resolution is to simply be more active and burn more calories every day, there are plenty of creative (and free) ways to achieve that goal. You can fit extra movement into the day by walking during phone conversations or even volunteering for household chores. Even something as simple as drinking water throughout the day will ensure regular trips to the faucet and the bathroom. Pick up a pedometer, grab an activity tracker, or download an app to keep track of how many steps you take, then try to beat your own record. Every minute you’re not sitting or lying down is a step toward better overall fitness.