On this Motivation Monday, I find myself amazed once again about the passing of time. Here we are marching toward the end of April. It feels like just yesterday I was posting tips about setting realistic goals for those New Year’s Resolutions. Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for projects in my production world that I worked on one year ago and catching up with clients I met as many as five years ago.
Then one morning last week, as my jelly-like legs struggled to take me back home after a Physique57® workout, I was zapped with another time check: it was three years ago this month when I started the fitness program that changed my body -and my mental health! – for the better. In April 2013, my longtime gal pal Amy brought me to my very first Physique57 class, and I’ve been hooked every since. After hundreds of classes, I’ve never gotten bored thanks to an amazing group of instructors who never serve up the same workout twice. Despite being comfortable with the class format, my body is still sore as hell after a 57-minute barre workout that combines interval training, isometric exercises and stretches.
While I’d encourage everyone to try a Physique57 workout at a studio or online, the true purpose of sharing this “anniversary” is to offer proof that finding an activity you love is crucial to sticking with a fitness routine. Equally important is realizing your likes, dislikes and needs may change through the different stages of your life. During my Northwestern years and the ones that followed as I entered the working world, I had no problem working out solo and pushing myself to extremes in the weight room. As work and life grew more complicated over the years, I started gravitating toward group exercise classes. While I still do my own thing on certain days, I feed off the energy of a group dynamic. There’s something about being surrounded by the power of my fellow workout warriors pushing through seemingly never-ending planks and squats along with the positive vibes from my instructors and high-energy music.
I hope sharing my Physique57 journey to date encourages you to take stock of your own fitness routine. If you find yourself going through the motions this spring, it’s time to mix things up. If you’ve been ignoring certain muscle groups, now’s the time to get back into total body training. Sign up for a few personal training sessions so a pro can check your form and take your routine to the next level. Or do what I did and find a class that makes you feel like you can take on whatever the world throws at you. Sometimes, taking a moment to realize where you’ve been and how far you’ve come is all the motivation you need to take the next steps in your journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
We made it to the very first Motivation Monday of 2016! It’s a first of many kinds for me as I’ve never sent Happy New Year wishes from the Caribbean before today. Knowing how eager people are to kick their health and fitness resolutions into high gear, I didn’t want to let another day go by without sharing some tips to help your goals take shape.
When I get home, I’ll have to reserve my barre space at Physique57 a little earlier than usual and wait longer for an elliptical or to start a weight set at New York Sports Club. I love seeing so many new faces at the gym at this time of year, but I hate the fact that usually by March, many of those enthusiastic newbies are long gone. So, I kick off 2016 with a these ideas to make those fitness resolutions stick long after Old Man Winter has made room for Spring.
- Leave the past where it belongs: I know we all want to erase the “sins” of the holidays that came in the form of chocolate, cheese and cocktails. Don’t waste your energy regretting the times you overdid it last year. I have my own memories of indulging in that second piece of lasagna and too many chocolates to count. Today is a new day.
- Adjust your attitude: Thinking of exercise as a “chore” is a surefire way to put the brakes on your new routine. Instead, think of exercise as “Me Time.” No matter what’s going on in my life, the time I spend working out is the one time my brain goes into neutral and the only thing filling it is some good music. Use exercise as a break from the ordinary, and before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to sweating out whatever ails you.
- Reality check: Saying you’re going to exercise seven days a week is one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure. The first day you miss, you’ll be discouraged, and could find yourself saying, “Well, there goes the week!” A more realistic approach would be to aim for a minimum of three days each week for the first month. As you start experiencing the endorphin rush and other benefits from exercising, you’ll want to spend more than three days working out. Discouragement aside, everyone should take a minimum of one day off each week to let the body rest.
- Do what works for YOU: You woke up Christmas morning to find Santa left the latest exercise program under your tree. Meanwhile, all your exercise DVDs have been hanging out with the dust bunnies under your bed since VHS went out of style. Why not return the program and put the money toward a new pair of sneakers and moisture-wicking workout wear? Grab a friend and start those power walks or sign up for that Zumba class at your local community center. Have no idea what to try? Splurge and hire a personal trainer to get you started on the right track.
- Avoid severe diet restrictions: If you deny yourself something you truly enjoy for too long, it’s only a matter of time before you break down and go overboard. So, the chocolate bar you could have had last week turns into five chocolate bars, washed down with a chocolate shake and a side of cupcakes two months later.
I leave you with this reality: there will be “off” days. Even as a lifelong fitness enthusiast, there are times I simply don’t want to workout and all I want to eat is cheese and chocolate. As you read this post, there’s a good chance I’m having my first high-calorie frozen cocktail of the day. Stuff happens. Just don’t let one bad day throw you off course. Just wipe away the crumbs, prep your gym bag and remember tomorrow is your next chance to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Congratulations! This second Motivation Monday of 2015 brings you 12 days into the New Year. That means you’ve done your best to stick with your health and fitness resolutions for a whole dozen 24-hour cycles!
If you’ve had one or two “bad” meals or even days since we kicked off the New Year, don’t sweat it. Nothing great is ever achieved without facing a few obstacles along the way. If you’re struggling to stay on track, here’s an idea – activate the buddy system! How?
- Lean on a fitness friend: Pencil in some quality time with your bestie by planning a couple of morning or evening walks; shooting hoops or signing up for the same group exercise class. Sometimes knowing you have a friend waiting for you at the gym is all you need to show up.
- Cold-Weather Hater? Try sweating through a fitness DVD or online workout with your spouse or significant other right in the comfort of your den.
- Tech Support: Set the DVR to record your favorite show(s) and go ice skating with the kids or take the dog for an extra-long walk.
- Friendly Competition: Instead of hitting the bar for happy hour, find a few co-workers interested in de-stressing with a barre workout or other group activity. Here in New York City, there’s a great place called Chelsea Piers which offers everything from hitting golf balls to organized group events for games ranging from dodgeball to sand volleyball.
- Ask a Pro: Have no idea where to start? Treat yourself to a few sessions with a personal trainer to get you on the right track toward injury-free fitness.
In addition to exercise, talk to your family about embracing healthier food choices together. I’m not expecting your kids to start asking for kale and brussel sprouts, but they probably wouldn’t mind building their own colorful and yummy non-fat Greek yogurt parfaits with berries, almonds and honey drizzle. I know a lot of parents keep cookies, chips and other treats in the house and often end up eating more than the kids. Think about this: if you’re making meals at home, you’re the one ultimately shaping your kids’ idea of what a “normal” diet looks like. Packing healthy snacks for lunch and after school activities while saving sweet or salty treats for special occasions can instill healthy habits at an early age. Here are a few portable kid-approved snack options that taste pretty good to grown-ups, too:
- One serving Wheat Thins with one “Laughing Cow” cheese spread wedge
- Baby carrots and celery sticks with peanut butter
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Greek yogurt with honey
- Low-fat string cheese
Remember, embracing healthy habits and maintaining them is a lifelong journey. Aren’t trips more fun when you have company? While it’s great to find support from the huge #FitFam presence here in the blogosphere and on social media, never take for granted the strength you can gain from the people you love most to help you stick with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!