By Daniel Buckley | Photo Courtesy Lee French
The New Year is a fantastic time to re-evaluate and establish new goals. Whether they be professional or personal, it’s best to have a well thought out strategy in order to ensure your success.
As a fitness professional, I see many people come out of the woodwork and into the gym to strive to better themselves at the beginning of each year. After all, what better time to start then when you have peer motivation from others beginning their fitness journey, no major distractions in the near future (holidays, trips, etc.), and an ample amount of time to get your summer body ready.
How to Get Started
» Get familiar with the gym. If you are completely new to working out, the gym can be an intimidating place. Ask the customer service team at your gym to show you around, so that you can familiarize yourself prior to your first workout.
» Start with machines. If you are a novice, machines provide a great baseline for future free weight (dumbbell and barbell) exercises. Once you are comfortable with the movements, then you can move onto free weights.
» Create actionable goals instead of body stat goals at first. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but actional goals like, ‘exercise 3x a week’, instead of body stat goals like, ‘drop 10lbs in 1 month’ truly can make a difference. If you are consistently putting in the work and eating properly, you will achieve your body stat goals.
» Follow a plan. Whether it be from your own personal trainer or one that you found on the internet, a plan is a sure way to succeed. Without one, results may lag, and you might get frustrated. Winging it works in many aspects of life, but fitness is not one of them.
» Last, but certainly not least, do not neglect your nutrition. Instead of listening to fad diets, focus on shopping on the outside aisles of the grocery store and follow these key habits: eat slowly to 80% full, consume lean protein at each meal, and eat 5 servings of colorful fruits and veggies each day.
How to STAY MOTIVATED
» Calendar Reminders: Schedule reminders to evaluate your actionable goal progress every 3-4 weeks.
» Be Realistic: Avoid the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. Acknowledge obstacles will come along and create a plan to overcome them.
» Bring a Friend: If you can match your schedules up, workout with a friend. If not, find a friend who is also looking to achieve fitness goals and hold each other accountable. Make challenges with them: “Whoever has the most workouts by the end of February gets taken to dinner.”
» Give Yourself A Break: Whether it be a vacation or just a scheduled fitness break, your body needs to reset periodically — let it.
Overall, the best piece of advice I can give is to think long-term. Your goal shouldn’t be to achieve your summer body this summer; instead, it should be to achieve your summer body along with the habits and skills needed to maintain it long-term.
Best of luck with your fitness journey!