Who doesn’t want to look tighter, leaner and stronger? We certainly do, and if you’re anything like our friends, our clients, or most people we know, you probably do too!
That’s why it’s no surprise that the majority of us start out the New Year with the resolution to step up our exercise routines so that we can look better and be healthier.
Unfortunately by February, many of us have given up on our resolutions and have forgotten about the fitness goals we set. As registered dietitians and personal trainers, we want to prevent this from happening, so we’ve come up with some simple steps to help you keep your fitness dreams from falling by the wayside.
Here are our best tips:
Make an exercise appointment and stick to it.
Plan out your exercise sessions and write them on your calendar. Schedule it in, blocking off the time when you will be exercising. Treat it like an important meeting. You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment, so why would you miss your exercise session? For us, our routine is to do it in the morning, right after breakfast so that afternoon work and family obligations don’t derail our exercise plans.
Keep it interesting!
Don’t let monotony be your excuse for throwing in the towel. If you’re someone who gets bored easily, keep changing up your exercise routine to keep yourself engaged. For many, this means doing interval training several days a week where you alternate lower and higher levels of intensity. You can also keep it interesting by taking a Zumba class one day, jogging another, walking or using the cross trainer and lifting weights a different day, etc. For us, we keep it interesting by doing interval training one day and also switching between different machines on cold winter days when we can’t go outside to exercise.
Double up on the veggies.
Exercise tends to make many of us hungrier. No one wants to undo all of their hard work at the gym by eating more calories than we burn off (and let’s face it, sadly it’s easy to do! A few bites of a high-calorie indulgence and you can kiss goodbye to the exercise calories burned). So we always have our clients load up on their vegetable servings. Veggies are a dieter’s dream come true – low in calories but packed with satiating fiber. So by filling up on low-calorie vegetables (be sure not to use butter, oil or heavy dressings or suddenly your low-calorie veggies may not be so low-calorie), you’ll be more full and crowd out the more calorie-dense foods.
To perform at your best and burn the most calories, it’s really important to be properly hydrated. Water is always great and it’s calorie-free. If you want something with a little more flavor, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t have a lot of calories (so you don’t drink back the calories you just burned!). All natural coconut water is a great choice because it’s nutrient rich, yet calorie poor and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. To put that into perspective, the drink has more potassium than a banana but fewer calories (515mg/ 45 calories vs. 450 mg/ 110 calories.) Plus, you’ll get key nutrients like magnesium and calcium. And if you’re a high endurance athlete (some of us are!), it can be part of your fluid regimen as well.
Work out to your favorite music!
We’re all inspired by certain music. Take a little bit of time to download your favorite songs to your iPod so that it will keep you motivated. It definitely works for us and it makes the time go faster as well! A few of our faves: Journey, The Black Eyed Peas, Guns ‘N Roses, Taio Cruz, Rihanna, and The Police.
But not with food! Again, it will wind up backfiring and you’ll eat more calories than you burn off. Our clients love to reward themselves with cute workout gear so when they reach a fitness goal they get to wear their new clothes. A couple of our clients reach their fitness and weight loss goals and then invest in a cute pair of short shorts!