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A Great New Year Starts Now

If you’re reading this, it means you survived the holidays. After another holiday season of sedentary behavior, and the consumption of calorie-rich foods I think we’re all ready to get back on track.

Year after year, getting in shape is one of the most popular resolutions you can make. This year, choose a fitness-focused New Year’s resolution that’s worth making. Instead of focusing on how many calories you burn in a single gym session, or how much you can lift, try focusing on a very specific goal, like running a 5k or surviving an hour of spin.

If you feel like starting and staying committed to an exercise program is an uphill battle you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle this time of year. A great New Year starts now! Below are a few tips to help you get started and help you build a healthy new you in the New Year.

Set a Goal

Don’t set a weight-loss goal without a plan as to how you will get there. A detailed plan will prevent you from falling back into old habits. Set a goal that is specific, measurable, realistic and trackable. Focus on making changes that you will be able to sustain for the long-haul.

Find a Gym

Finding a gym you really like is a great start, but simply signing up won’t help you lose weight. You have to get there and do the work. Stay on a schedule like you would with a job and make sure you don’t get distracted along the way. Designate an hour, three to four days a week for your workout. If you miss a day make sure you get to the gym on another day that week.

Take it One Pound at a Time

Dropping twenty pounds is a great long-term goal, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. Dieters tend to fall off the wagon when they have such a lofty resolution. Instead, focus on losing one to two pounds a week by setting small diet and exercise goals. Reward yourself in a non-food way for every small goal you reach.


Aim for “A Little Better” Instead of “Perfect”

It’s not about being perfect. It’s about gradual and continuous improvement. If you have a day that you ate unhealthy foods or you have a week where you missed a few workouts don’t get discouraged. Look ahead and focus on doing better tomorrow and even next week. Make some basic alterations to your lifestyle. Changes in what you eat, when you eat, and even where you eat it are a good place to start. Remember, small changes will result in BIG results over time.

Exercise Whenever, Wherever, and However Possible.

Don’t choose the closest parking spot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. While you’re at work get up and walk around whenever possible. Anything you can do to get in a little movement is a good idea.

It’s Okay to Cheat

Banning your favorite cheat foods, whether it’s ice cream, chocolate, soda, or french fries, is bound to backfire at some point. You will eventually buckle, binge, feel bad about it and evert back to your old eating patterns. You don’t need to have temptations lying around your kitchen, but allowing yourself to indulge once or twice a week won’t kill you.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Research shows that foregoing a morning meal will put you on the fast track to weight gain, not loss. People who skip breakfast are generally hungrier and more likely to overindulge later in the day. Instead, eat a protein-packed breakfast every morning. Pair lean proteins with high fiber, complex carbs such as a veggie omelet with a slice of Ezekiel bread or a serving of Greek yogurt, with a piece of fruit and a handful of almonds.

The Clock Doesn’t Tell Time

Are you one of those people who thinks you can’t eat after 6 pm? There is no rule of thumb as to what time you need to stop eating. It’s very much “what” you eat not “when” you eat that really matters. The body stores any calories that aren’t used for energy regardless of the time those calories are eaten. As long as you’re eating real, whole foods it’s okay!

Be Accountable

It’s good to be reminded that this is your life and your choices can be life-affirming in every moment. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap your mind around it, but you can do it all – eat better, lose weight, and start exercising. If you aren’t a self-motivated individual, team up with a weight-loss companion (a friend, relative, or personal trainer) who will make sure you stick it out. It is much easier to show up at the gym at 6 am if someone is waiting for you.

Eat at the Table

Don’t eat your dinner in a rush. Make a conscious effort to sit down and enjoy your meals. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually remember tasting it?

Take Time to Reflect

Even if there’s a lot you still want to change, take the time to acknowledge all the little things you did well this year. Give yourself a pat on the back for any and all signs of progress, no matter how small. Celebrate the lifelong health benefits you have created.

Fit woman holding gym bag in a fitness centre. Beautiful blonde woman ready to start her training. Portrait of energetic woman looking at camera ready for new inscription at the gym.

In Conclusion

What does a renewed commitment to health and fitness look for YOU – in the context of YOUR own unique, interesting and challenging life?

Stay committed to doing the best you can, find things that keep you inspired, and don’t forget about your “reason why.” There definitely isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet and exercise plan. Just remember: you matter and your health should too. Good luck to you.

Jennifer Nastasi Guzelak
I have been a personal trainer for over seventeen years and I absolutely love what I do. I honestly feel that I have one of the best jobs out there! The most rewarding part of my profession is helping one of my clients succeed at reaching their personal fitness goals. Making a difference in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association.