One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to begin a regular workout routine and/or to eat better, but unfortunately, many people do not get beyond making that first assertion.
At the beginning of each year, gyms experience an expected rush when hordes of newcomers fill the weight rooms and cardio decks in an attempt to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. Keeping a regular gym schedule and trying to get in better shape is a difficult task for anyone to accomplish. It is especially difficult for the average “New Year’s resolutioner,” who likely showed up to the gym without a real plan except to “get in shape.” As a result, many of these people become discouraged and lose interest in bettering their health; maybe they’ll try again next year.
If you are among those who need help sticking to their fitness resolutions, here are some tips that may just help you become a regular gym goer and a healthier eater.
Schedule gym time on your phone—one of the most difficult things about working out is simply getting to the gym. Once you’re there, you might as well workout, right? But rolling out of bed first thing in the morning, getting in your car and letting out a sigh of relief after a long day of work or classes, all you think you want to do is relax. Going to the gym to run or lift weights in the morning or after a day of work often feels like a huge chore, but the reward is always worth it. You have probably experienced it yourself; when you get there and start working out, you feel good!
To help ensure you actually get to the gym instead of “doing it tomorrow,” schedule gym time in your phone’s calendar, a planner, or set reminders. Plan ahead of time when you go so that you do not rely on whether or not you are in the mood to workout, because more often than not you won’t be (until you get there). Always remember, the first few weeks are the hardest!
Make a routine, hire a trainer, or recruit a friend. Okay, you’ve gotten yourself to the gym—now what? You want to workout, but you are not so sure what to do. Of course, your workout will depend on your fitness goals, but for general fitness most people will do a mixture of cardio and weightlifting. Find a reliable website online (you can look here or here), and find some of the recommendations for beginners that seem to best suit your goals. Check in with a friend who goes to the gym regularly and get their opinion on a website or plan; they will be happy to help out! Lastly, if you have a little money you are willing to put down, hire a trainer for professional help for a couple weeks to help get you started.
Make a grocery list before shopping and stick to that list—food is controlled by very basic human impulses, and those impulses almost always lead us to food we know that (in the long run) is not so good for us if eaten regularly. So make yourself a weekly grocery list with healthy meats, vegetables, fruits and grains, and limit the treats you let yourself buy. When you go shopping, try to stick to only the items you listed earlier.
Prep meals ahead of time—when in a rush, we tend to go for easy microwave meals or fast food that tends not to be so healthy. If you know you do not have time to cook or sit down and eat a good meal you made for yourself, prepare it ahead of time. Some foods, like chicken, rice and broccoli, are easy to make in bulk quantities even days before you plan on eating them. Add a few slices of avocado and some salt and pepper, and you have yourself a quick and easy microwavable meal!
There are always excuses and reasons to keep pushing off the gym. Don’t be one of the many who try the gym for the first month of each year; strive to stick with it. If you are someone who wants to better your physical appearance and health, make a plan and begin.
Nicholas Remillard can be reached at [email protected]