How to Spring into Fitness
It’s that time of year again—the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and you’re already thinking about hitting your health + fitness goals before the summer solstice. The spring is a time of renewal, which is the perfect time to recommit to your wellness goals. But sometimes, goals can seem daunting, especially if reaching them seems really far in the future. As humans, we work really well when we come up with a specific and manageable plan for how we’re going to reach a long-term goal.
Below are some specific, easy to implement, tips to get you from the starting line to the finish line feeling like a champ the whole time.
1. Set Realistic Short-term Goals. It’s not likely (or realistic/healthy) that you’re going to “lose 40 pounds” between now and the summer solstice, but it is feasible to lose 2 pounds per week, which will have you on track to lose about half that before the start of summer. When we set short-term goals like 2 pounds per week, we see results frequently which keeps us going on the quest towards that long-term goal.
2. Create a Reward System. It’s no secret that humans work really well with a reward system. It helps to keep us motivated. So, after you’ve created those realistic short-term goals, determine how you’re going to reward yourself each week when you meet those goals. Pro Tip: don’t ever use food as a reward. It sends the wrong message that those foods are prizes that you want to hold in high regard. Instead, choose rewards that make you just as happy, but won’t affect how you feel about certain foods.
3. Get a Workout Buddy. Nothing says accountability like your friend waiting outside in the car for you at 6am. If you have a hard time keeping yourself accountable, a workout buddy may do the trick. Not to mention it’s much more fun when you’ve got someone you know working out by our side. Research shows that people who workout with a partner are 6 times more likely to stick with their workout plan than those who don’t.
4. Have a Plan. Nothing sabotages your fitness goals like setting goals without a plan for how you’ll achieve them. This may mean making an appointment with a personal trainer or attending group fitness classes. But, be sure to create a specific plan for yourself before you get started.
5. Don’t Discount the Importance of Nutrition. Research shows that reaching your fitness goals is about 25% exercise and 75% your eating habits. Be sure to get real with yourself about what and how much you’re putting on your plate and make a plan for how you can improve. Sometimes this may mean meeting with a dietician or nutritionist to get you set up for success.
6. Pick Up Some Weights. When we’re interested in changing our bodies, we’ve been conditioned to head straight to the cardio machines. If you really want to change your body composition and boost your metabolism, don’t shy away from the weight rack. Strength training has been proven to increase muscle mass. As body composition changes to a higher muscle density, you begin to burn calories at a higher pace at rest.
7. Make Fitness Fun. Don’t let your workout be just another thing you have to cross off your to-do list. It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Find something physical that you actually enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a structured fitness program and it doesn’t have to be in a gym. Get creative, get outside, try different things until you find something that keeps you interested.