It's that time of the year ... Gyms will start filling up and all of those people with a fitness resolution will have their expectations soaring. Those who aren't already members of gyms will be out searching for the best of the best to join with all of their friends in hopes that they will all workout together.
Little do they know that more than half of them will drop out within the first 90 days. It's no secret that the number one resolution for most people is to make fitness a priority and get in shape.
With high hopes and open wallets they jump on the latest trends they see on TV or around town. January 1st hits and with all of their new workout clothes they hit the gym— but with what purpose?
Ah yes, something they weren't thinking about—they need a plan of attack! Without a plan of attack, it is like going into battle without any ammo, it will only get you so far.
For those who are already exercising and are members of a gym, the holidays are a busy time where for majority of the people, exercise isn't on their holiday gift list. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, making cookies, decorating, being with family, extra time to take for yourself isn't as easy as some may wish.
This article will hopefully give you some great ideas on how to stay on track this holiday season, and for those who are just starting off, hopefully this article will get you off on the right foot toward lifelong success and a healthier you.
How Bad Do You Want It?
When it all comes down to it, the real question is—how bad do you want it? If you want it bad enough you will easily succeed. If you are motivated to start exercising and take control of your life then you are one step ahead of everyone else.
The hardest part is actually starting an exercise program. Once you start exercising and start seeing and feeling the benefits, you will easily be hooked for life. Find something that motivates you and leave yourself reminders of why you need to keep on track.
They can be something as simple as a word or a picture. Whatever you choose put it somewhere that you will constantly be reminded of it. Some people who have issues with their diet put their motivation on their fridge, that way when they are hungry and go to get a snack, they see their motivation and rather than grabbing for that ice cream they grab for something healthy like veggies.
Half the battle is getting it implanted in your head that exercise has many benefits and that by exercising you are improving your health and taking control of your body. If you want to lose weight, only you can get yourself there, no one else can do it for you.
It's not going to be easy, but you can achieve anything. If it were easy then everyone would be doing it. Exercise isn't a once and done thing, it is a lifestyle change. The term "lifestyle change" might scare some people, but by making small changes over time, switching from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle won't seem so harsh.
|THE FIT SHOW|
Again, it's all in your head. If you can overcome the urges to cheat on your diet or skip a workout, then the sky is the limit to your success.
1. Create A Plan Before The New Year:
Whether you are planning to start exercising for the New Year or are already on the path, it is wise to sit down and create a written plan for yourself. You want to write down some short- and long-term goals. Make sure the goals are things that you can measure—this makes it much easier for you to track your progress.
If you hold off making a plan until after the New Year, you will be less likely to get started as people tend to keep pushing things off until eventually they are forgotten about. If you truly want to live a longer, healthier life, then creating a plan early is your best bet to getting started and reaching your goals.
2. Eat Throughout The Day Of A Party:
No matter what the occasion, it is smart to eat throughout the day of a party. This will keep you full throughout the day so when you go to the party you aren't starving and chow down. Also, by eating throughout the day, you will have a constant supply of nutrients to feed your muscles and help them grow and recover.
3. Eat Healthy Foods At The Party:
Your best bet when watching your weight during the holidays is to make sure you don't over—indulge at holiday parties. It is easy to step off the right path when you see all of that good (but unhealthy) food. Your food of choice while at a party should be focused on protein.
Where most people get in trouble is with all the foods that are loaded with carbs and fats. The holidays bring families together but it also brings along pies and cakes. Load your plate with some proteins and dig in. The great thing about protein is that it fills you up fairly quickly and it also keeps you full longer.
If you find yourself hungry either before or after a holiday meal and you don't want to fall off track with your fitness goals, your best bet is to grab some nuts. Anything from peanuts to almonds will do just fine.
Another alternative if there aren't any nuts available would be vegetables. It's not uncommon to see carrots, celery, broccoli, and such as snacks laying around at gatherings. However, where you see veggies, you will also see dips.
The smart move would be to stay away from the dips; most of them are full of fats. If you must, put a little dip on your plate to eat with your veggies to give them some extra flavoring, but don't overdo it.
4. Schedule Workouts:
During the holidays in order to make sure you get a workout in, you need to schedule some time in your day. Pick the days you want to workout and write in exactly what time you want to exercise and make sure those plans don't change.
Without scheduling your workouts, it is easy (especially during the holidays) to find yourself doing something else rather than exercising. With so much to do, people tend to use the excuse that they don't have time to fit in workouts during the holidays.
Having no time is one of the oldest excuses in the book. Waking up a little early in the morning to get in a workout really isn't that hard to do once you get a routine down. A lot of people also workout on lunch breaks from work in order to get their workout in.
Some people just do cardio on lunch breaks while others try and get in a quick weight workout. If people are lucky enough to get an hour lunch break, it gives most people enough time to do a weight workout along with some cardio. The main point to take from this is simple, it doesn't matter how you do it or when you do it, just make sure you schedule a time to exercise.
5. Workout In The Mornings:
The best time of the day to get a workout in would definitely be in the morning. By doing a workout in the morning, you are opening the rest of the day to whatever you need to get done. Also, by working out in the morning, you're less likely to miss your workout because you got caught up in the middle of something else and had to change your plans.
By starting the day off on the right foot with a workout, your metabolism is already jump started and you will be burning more calories throughout the day.
6. Exercise At Home:
We all know holidays are super busy and that most gyms aren't open on certain holidays. So what do you do when this happens? You workout at home! Sure you aren't going to have access to heavy dumbbells, a wide variety of machines, and rows and rows of cardio machines—but you don't have to have all that fancy stuff!
Heck no, you can get a decent workout right in your own home. Now I'm not saying this is a type of workout that you should do all the time (not unless you cannot afford a gym membership or some home equipment). But when you are rushed for time and you need to get a workout in, you can literally hit every body part one way or another right in the comfort of your own home.
You can easily find things around your house to use to get in a workout. You could do things such as pushups, crunches, sit-ups, close-grip pushups, bicep curls (with weighted objects around the house), shoulder presses (with weighted objects around the house), bodyweight squats, and bent over rows (with weighted objects around the house) in order to get in a workout. For cardio you can simply go for a walk or jog and if you have access to a bike you could even go for a nice bike ride.
For those of you who already have a gym membership, it still wouldn't be a bad idea to get yourself some inexpensive pieces of equipment for at home in case you need to fit in a quick workout and driving to the gym and back would not make sense.
Some people financially cannot afford to workout in a gym—not a problem. Equipment can be purchased for use at home. Another great thing about having equipment that you can use at home would be that you have no excuse that you didn't have time to go to the gym since the gym is already in your home.
View Complete Home Gyms Sorted By Top Sellers Here.
You don't have to spend time on the road driving to and from the gym and you don't have to wait till someone is done using a machine. By having a gym at your house you can find a time during the day that is convenient for you and get a quick workout in.
7. Exercise With The Family:
A great way source of motivation is right where you need it the most—at home with your family. If you are the only person (or one of the few people) in your family that works out, a great way to get them started slowly would be to include them in your exercise program.
During the holidays after most people stuff their faces, a great way to burn off those extra calories is to take a walk—and take your family with you. A nice walk in the park or around the block will suffice. You don't want to go for a marathon which more than likely will deter your family away from exercising in the future.
Click Image To Enlarge.
2006 Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Finals Here.
The plan here isn't to scare them away, but to show them how much fun it can be to exercise. If they enjoy the walk together, ask them to go through a weight workout with you—explain to them the benefits of exercise. Who knows, you might be just the person to get your family kick started into exercising and you could be the motivation that helps them reach their goals and live a healthier life.
8. Keep An Exercise Journal:
The best way to track your progress is to write each of your workouts down in an exercise journal. Chart every exercise, set, rep, type and duration of cardio, and the date. Your exercise journal can be anything from a notepad, to a piece of computer paper, to a chart you made on the computer.
|BODYSPACE: ONLINE JOURNAL|
The key here is to be consistent with writing down your workouts and making sure you aren't taking steps backwards. By keeping a journal you have something can go back in time and see exactly how you have been progressing over the past couple weeks, months, and even years.
Another great advantage of keeping an exercise journal is if and when you get to a sticking point you can look back in your journal and see what you did the last time to get you out of that plateau.
The people who don't keep a journal never know exactly how they are progressing because they have no way of measuring what they accomplished in the past. By writing everything down you can go back to the week before and make sure you aren't using a weight that is less than the week before or that you didn't cut yourself short on a piece of cardio equipment.
The time spent writing everything in the journal during your workouts (which takes no time at all since most people write things in the journal while resting between sets) is well worth the knowledge and progression you will see down the road.
9. Walk Extra When Shopping:
Need to get some cardio in but you have to go shopping and don't have 30 minutes to an hour to run to the gym to get it in? Not a problem! The answer is quite simple—do your cardio while shopping. No that doesn't mean wear your cut-off T-shirt or sports bra while shopping, nor does it mean for you to run up and down the aisles like an idiot.
All you have to do is walk. That means don't drive around the mall looking for the closest parking space. Instead, you should park far away from the doors and walk. Then while in the mall, take the stairs if you have to change floors rather than using the elevator.
You can even walk the mall at a fast pace to elevate your heart rate more. I suggest a brisk walk for this over a jog (for obvious reasons).
10. Shovel Snow Rather Than Using A Snow Blower:
Snowed in and can't run to the gym for a workout? Don't start up that snow blower, instead grab a shovel. Shoveling involves many muscles groups and depending on how much you have to shovel, you can actually get in a pretty good workout.
Obviously if you have heart conditions or are getting up in age, I recommend for your health and safety that you use the snow blower. But for those looking to get a workout in, shoveling is your best bet.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Shovel Away That Snow For A Great Workout.
The Great Lakes Blizzard of 1977.
If you don't have a lot of snow to shovel (maybe your driveway is small) and you are in a helpful mood, shovel your neighbor's driveway and sidewalk as well or help someone shovel their car out so they can get to work or where they need to go. Shoveling snow not only gets your strength training workout in, but you also burned a decent amount of calories. This is a clear win-win situation for you on a snow day.
11. Avoid Extra Calories On Alcohol:
Alcohol not only adds extra calories to your diet, but it also lowers testosterone which is needed to help build lean muscle mass. Those couple drinks that you have at a party can easily add up to well over 1,000 calories by the time the night is over.
Guess what happens to those added calories? They get stored as FAT! Something you don't want to happen, especially during the holidays.
The worst part is, those people mixing drinks, not only are you getting your extra calories which you don't need from the alcohol, but also from the soda you are using to mix your drink with. And beer, yes, we are all aware that people love to drink beer.
It is of your best interest to lower beer/alcohol consumption especially if you want to see better progress with your fitness goals. Your best bet is to either drink water or tea (your best option would definitely be water) during holiday parties.
12. Drink Plenty Of Water:
Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it is also a zero-calorie beverage. A much better choice when compared to what most people are consuming during the holidays. With eggnog and alcohol flowing during these times, it is hard to say no to the temptation. However, if you are truly set of reaching your fitness goals, you must stick with water.
If you decide to have some drinks, it is best to spread them out over a couple days of parties you will be attending and to "nurse" the drink so you aren't tempted to quickly drink it and get another one.
By drinking plenty of water you will also feel fuller throughout the day so you will be less likely to binge on foods that you shouldn't be eating between meals. This not only cuts down on your calorie intake, but it also makes sure you are properly hydrated to keep you metabolism fired up.
If you utilize the tips you have just read above, you are much more likely to stay on track during the holiday season. If you start to fall off the wagon, regroup and hop back on. There are always bumps in the road, what you need to focus on is minimizing those bumps and if you hit one you need to get back on the right path.
It's the time of the year to be with your family and enjoy the holidays. Make sure you get your workouts in and try and relax a little during the holidays. Enjoy the company of friends and family and make it a holiday to remember.
2007 is a new year for you to take your fitness to a new level and get the results you always wanted. I wish you all a happy holiday and a happy new year! I'll see you in 2007.