The best fitness tip I’ve ever received is consistency is the key. I heard this years ago, when I first started lifting weights. Let’s face it, if you have no consistency, the best program in the world is not going to save you.
The worst tip I’ve ever received is no pain, no gain, bro. No one I know really likes (or eats) pain except, of course, for Chuck Norris.
The new year is a time to wipe the slate clean and look onward and upward in relation to your fitness goals. The following tips can be easy applied to any goal you strive for and will help you have your best fitness year yet.
1. Schedule your exercise (in Google Calendar), like you would with any important appointment. You’re less likely to skip your training, and this will help you develop consistency.
2. Start small– When setting goals, a lot of people set big ambitious ones. Instead, break up your challenging goal into smaller manageable chunks to help you stay on track.
For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in three months (12 weeks) this can be broken down to losing 1 ½ pounds per week (20 divided by 12).
Doesn’t that sound more manageable?
3. Change of scenery– Exercise outdoors instead of indoors. Ride a bike rather than running on the dreadmill or play basketball instead of lifting weights. Variety helps prevent boredom and will help keep you motivated.
4. Stand up– Do your whole exercise routine standing up on your two feet rather than lying or sitting down. You’ll burn more calories while standing and train your core without crunches.
For example, you could do an exercise circuit that looks like this.
5. Use a different tool for the same job- The shoulder press exercise can be performed with either a barbell, dumbbell, resistance band, kettlebell or cable machine. Each offers its own benefits which helps keeps things interesting and can help prevent overuse injuries.
You can apply this to many exercises such as rows, squats or chest presses.
6. Change your repetition range– Vary your repetition ranges as muscles are built and calories are burned in all kinds of set/rep ranges. Try performing 3 sets of 8 reps, 4 sets of 5 reps or 2 sets of 15 reps instead of your traditional 3 sets of 10 reps.
However, adjust the weight you use. For example
- More reps=less weight.
- Less reps=more weight.
7. Have a little fun– Exercise for exercise’s sake can get dull in a hurry. It’s important that you have a some fun when you exercise or quitting could be just around the corner.
When exercise becomes more enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it and get better results. Here are a few suggestions.
- Play your favorite sport
- Exercise with your friends, co-workers or family members
- Play with your kids
- Play catch in the park
8. Combine cardio and weights when your time crunched – Combine an upper body exercise for 8-12 reps with a lower body exercise for 8-12 reps followed by 30 second cardio interval. Rest for 60-90 sec and repeat this sequence 4-6 times.
Lat pulldown 8-12 reps
Reverse lunges 8-12 reps on each leg
Ice skaters 30 seconds
Keeping your exercise fun and consistent will set you up for long term success and will help keep you smiling all year long.
Happy New Year!