Sometime it just takes the correct approach to achieve your fitness goals. Here are six steps to help you make your workout plan more effective.
The New Year is a great time to evaluate your goals, set new ones or recommit to old ones. If you’re reading this and know that your old habits are hard to break, then it’s time to take a new approach and spruce up your workout routine. A fitness makeover could be just the thing you need to get motivated and excited about getting fit. Some changes may be simple and subtle, but when it comes to getting fitter and healthier, even the small changes can make a big difference. Make this New Year when you establish new, healthy habits that will lead to positive results.
Ask yourself what three specific goals you want to achieve this coming year and write them down. Make sure that you have a way to monitor your progress, such as weighing yourself or taking measurements.
The more specific your goal is, the better. If you’re new to activity, start small. Be practical and realistic about your activity goals. Whatever your goals are, write them down. So many people have told me that they’ve been able to reach their fitness goals when they have specific goals and track their journeys. Write down what your goal means to you. Does it mean feeling energized, looking better or reaching a certain number of activity minutes? The more opportunities you create to measure and log your success throughout the year, the better the chances of you making a lasting lifestyle change.
It’s time to let go of any failed diet and fitness plans of the past and get your mind engaged with the present. Now that you’ve written down your goals, move forward with them. It’s time to focus solely on today and let the past be in the past. Once you can make a commitment to being present in today’s choices, you’ll step toward success more smoothly. When you wake up each morning, think that today is the only day that counts (even if you severely derailed your diet the night before). No more promises of tomorrow. Accomplish what matters to you most TODAY.
If you always workout in the morning, try to add in at least one afternoon workout session per week, or vice-versa. If you never do a morning workout, try to add one into your schedule. Sometimes your body needs to be pushed out of its usual routine. You may even find that a particular time works better for you than what you originally thought. We are each individuals and our bodies perform better at different times of the day. Experiment and try to find the time of day that you feel most awake and energized, and make that your go-to workout time. You may find that you push yourself more, burn more calories and get more benefit out of your exercise routine.
Who says you need to spend hours in the gym to reach your fitness goals? Keep your workouts short and sweet––or more accurately, short and sweaty! On at least two days of the week, perform an interval style workout that pushes you to get out of breath. When your intensity level is high, your sessions can be kept as short as 15-30 minutes in length. This is perfect for those with a busy schedule who always come up with the same excuse of not having enough time to exercise.
Short, effective workouts should be your new approach to fitness, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle. Building lean muscle mass should be an essential part of any weight loss or weight gain program. If you currently use weights in your fitness routines, try to increase them. If you’re just getting started, be sure you are using a comfortable weight that allows you to maintain good form. Don’t be afraid of bulking up from lifting heavy weights. In my opinion, lifting very light weights that don’t feel challenging for many reps is a waste of time.
Creating good habits and setting a solid routine is essential, especially when you are first starting out with a new exercise plan, but it doesn’t have to be predictable and boring. When you get stuck in the same old routine, you often mentally tune out and become less productive with the task at hand. This year, try to keep your body guessing by trying new activities, changing your workout style, having fun with a new exercise partner or by adding in a weekly fun fitness challenge. The more fun and exciting you make your exercise time, the more you’ll look forward to it and stick with it. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring to be effective.
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).