We all know that January means resolution time. The majority of Americans make a resolution to get healthy, fit or lose weight only to fall off the wagon in February. However, what if you are in the minority group of people who consistently workout throughout the year?
For those of us that are already have a fitness routine, this resolution can be modified to incorporate health and wellness, but in an intensified way. Maybe you’ve been going to the gym all year but aren’t happy with your results or you feel like you’ve hit a plateau and aren’t sure how to beat the workout funk. To get ready for the New Year, here are 13 ways to amp up your routine for 2013.
1. Go outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Over time, our bodies adjust to our physical activity. Find something that you have never done or an old favorite that you haven’t done in a while. These become new challenges for your mind and body. Some examples to try out are Piloxing, CrossFit, Hot Yoga, Boot Camp classes or Spinning.
2. Find a cause that has a race or fitness challenge and start training. Fitness is fun when you can associate it with a cause. For example, every charity event it seems there is a corresponding 5k run to raise money for the cause. Pick one that means something to you and then work towards being able to complete the race. Want to take this up a notch? Try setting a time goal to beat during the race or even try to win your age group during the run.
3. Make achievable but challenging personal fitness goals. From timed races to pounds lost, there are numerous ways you can make your workouts more challenging every day.
4. Push yourself harder during every workout. Try to complete 5 more reps of every exercise or add 5 more pounds to the weight you usually use. By just adding a little bit each time, you will gain strength and endurance consistently while seeing results a little faster.
5. Buy a heart rate monitor. Tracking devices are great for several reasons. First, we generally perceive our workouts to be harder than they really are so you can monitor the difficulty with your heart rate. Second, they not only track your heart rate but your calorie burn also which just might keep you at the gym a few minutes longer to hit those caloric burn goals. The fancier monitors can even hold you accountable by emailing you results or sending reminders when you aren’t hitting your goals.
6. It’s been said that changing your body is 80% diet, 10% physical exercise and 10% psychological. Focus on your nutrition. Too many of us go to the gym frequently but never see physical results with our bodies. This is primarily due to poor nutrition. Stop eating processed junk foods and start eating more vegetables and meat.
7. Get certified. There is nothing more motivating than standing in front of a class with 20 people waiting for you to give them an awesome workout.
8. Start a blog. Journaling is a great way to keep you motivated and accountable for your fitness program. Start writing about all the new things you tried from #1 on this list and grow a community of people who share similar goals.
9. Hire a trainer. Find a trainer with a great reputation and train with them once a week for a while to supercharge your workout.
10. Stop drinking alcohol. This one goes along with #6 on this list but is very important. Alcohol negatively affects how your body responds to fitness if you are constantly fatigued due to excessive alcohol consumption. If you must drink, keep it to one per week.
11. Give yourself a break. Often we tend to work harder if we aren’t seeing results instead of taking a break, which doesn’t help our body get stronger. In order to take your workout to the next level, your body should be rested. Exercising more often can actually do more harm than good.
12. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Not only do we need to monitor how often we workout, but how much sleep we get each night. In order for our bodies to respond positively to the added stress of pushing it to the max, we need adequate sleep. Track not only how much sleep you get each night but the quality of the sleep. Cool rooms and white noise are easy tips to improve sleep quality.
13. Track your progress. Start writing down what you do each workout, how you feel before and after the workout along with results. This is something to incorporate with the blogging and/or the heart rate monitor listed above. Nutrition should be tracked as well to find patterns on what works for you.
There is no perfect fitness program out there that will appeal to everyone. The important factor is to find programs that are right for you and what you want to get out of your workout. We all hit a plateau occasionally and the new year is always the perfect time to start fresh and new.