top of page

My New Year Resolution is to Get Fit. Now What?

Congratulations! You started this year with a strong and powerful desire to get fit. Or lose weight. Or both. Now what?

Regardless if you have previously tried to move (and sweat) more or this is your first attempt to structure your way to exercise, the 4 tips in this article will help you easier navigate the path to a stronger, healthier, and more beautiful  body. We will look into setting up fitness goals in a SMART way, describe some ways to exercise with maximum effect, leverage the social aspects of exercising and go over some price options. 



 

Tip 1. Set Up the Goals SMARTly

smart goals graphic.png

If you are familiar with project management, you have probably heard the abbreviation SMART as it relates to goal setting. Fitness goals are no different. In fact, there is no reason why getting fit should not be approached as a project, given all the parts and possible setbacks. Let's talk though your goal. 

 

S – Specific. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to be stronger” is not quite specific. On the contrary, “I want to lose 8 pounds” or “I want that pair of jeans to fit me again” is specific enough. You will be able to track it easily and praise yourself upon completion.

 

M – Measurable means that there should be a way to measure and track your progress. If we still use the same goal to lose 8 pounds, weekly weighing will show if you are on the right track.

 

A – Attainable. The goal should be challenging enough, yet attainable. For instance, losing 8 pounds in a week would not be attainable, while spreading this goal over a few months would be.

 

R – Realistic. This is where we apply the concept of attainable to real-life. To go with the previous example, to lose weight requires dietary changes and an exercise routine. For someone working at the desk for 10 hours a day and relying on fast food, losing weight without some schedule and dietary adjustments will not be realistic. Compare the actions against your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments to your goal.

 

T- Timely. There should be a specific timeframe to lose those 8 pounds, be it in 2 months or in half a year. With time in mind, a tracking schedule is established to monitor the progress.

 

Now take a pause and give your fitness goal specific numbers, set it into the calendar, and make sure that you included the required time and effort into your schedule.

Tip 2. Choose With Purpose

You may be exercising for a whole hour at a gym but depending on the type of the activities you may be progressing towards your goals faster, slower, or not at all. That’s why it’s important to make sure the time allocated to exercising is spent in the most efficient and, ideally, pleasurable way. Check some activities below and if you don’t see something that excites you, do a quick search – new and novel fitness practices come all the time. Here are some examples of purposeful training.

  • Muscle Tone and Weight Loss. With weight loss goals, it’s important to keep in mind that weight loss can’t be achieved through exercising alone. A dietary adjustment is needed, yet moderate to high-intensity physical activity is required to burn calories while protecting the muscle mass. Some of the most popular activities include:

    • A combination of resistance and cardiorespiratory training in individual or group settings

    • Bootcamps and HIITs (High Intensity Interval Training)

    • Water fitness (aqua aerobics)

    • Dance fitness (Zumba, etc.)

    • Specialty classes: Barre, core, Pilates, yoga, and hot yoga

  • Muscle Growth. Muscle growth is a complex task that needs a balanced approach. It combines diet adjustments and a carefully designed program ensuring steady progression and focusing on different parts of the body to ensure optimal physical development. Lack of proper programming may lead to injuries and muscle imbalances. The main components of muscle growth-oriented fitness are:  

    • Resistance training in individual or group settings

    • Flexibility and stretching training to support optimal muscle functioning and recovery

    • A cardio training component may be added, especially if weight loss is considered

  • Flexibility and Mobility. Flexibility and mobility is a critical part of any program, regardless of the fitness goal. With that being said, I would caution against focusing solely on flexibility programs without any strength training, as it may negatively impact the joints. The best ways to improve flexibility are:

    • Specialty classes: Yoga, Pilates, Barre, PBL (Progressive Ballet Technique). Those usually have some level of strength component.

    • Stretching classes/ stretching labs with assisted stretching. 

  • General Health. If your goal is general health, you are the luckiest and can pick up from almost anything, as long as you are actively moving. If you are tackling a specific health issue, please contact me for specific recommendations or do your own research. However, the common practices that have an overall positive effect on the body include:

    • Cardio training (biking, elliptical, fast walking, jogging, etc., whole-body aerobic exercises)

    • Resistance training. One of the common misconceptions about resistance training is that it is designed to significantly grow muscle mass. There are many ways to program resistance training at any level of fitness with a very strong positive effect on balance and quality of everyday moves.

    •  Any physical activity classes

    •  Team, dual, and individual sports.

Tip 3. Social Needs

Some people benefit from more interaction during fitness exercises, especially those working from home, while for others, the necessity to exercise in public may be deterring. Let's look at different options based on your social needs:

  • For Extroverts, large commercial or community gym group classes would be the best fit. Even if you choose to train solo, being in a large room with fellow exercisers would boost the energy of someone who likes to be surrounded by many people.

  • For Introverts, on the other side of the spectrum, training one-on-one at home or at a small, private, boutique-style studio would be a great fit. Group classes offered in smaller studios might be appropriate as well, depending on the facility.

  • Someone in Between those two extremes might be a little more adaptable and the social factor may be second to the purpose or the joy of the activity itself. Yet, it’s always a good idea to visit a couple of places and ask about the number of participants that normally attend the classes of interest.

  • Bonding. Oftentimes people find it easier to exercise with a friend or a partner and they may also use it as a special chance to bond. Personal trainers offer training for couples/ small groups both in gyms and at homes. Dual or team sports, like volleyball, soccer, etc. with a buddy or a family member is another great option with the dual benefit of exercising and bonding.

Tip 4. Price

More expensive is not always better. In the fitness industry, price is not always directly related to quality of service or at least, in the ways that you may be using it. An example here is a top-tier large gym with a pool and all sorts of amenities. For someone who may only be going to very selected group classes, or only using fitness machines, paying as much may make no sense.

However,  an area where the price will speak for the quality is the level of individual attention. Usually, the more individual attention you get, the more you will have to pay for that. Now let’s look at some options here:

  •  $$$ The most expensive options include:

    • Elite fitness clubs with a wide range of services, including pools, hot yoga studios, sophisticated training machines, spas, etc.

    • In-person and virtual personal training. Virtual training sessions are usually slightly cheaper than in-person, yet normally they fall into the category of the most expensive services. Overall, personal training services are best for complete beginners who don’t know how to exercise, experienced exercisers with specific fitness goals, or people with health issues or body aches as those sessions allow for the highest level of accommodation.

  •  $$ In the medium price range, you will find:

    • Medium-tier gyms

    • Specialized studios (Yoga, Barre, etc.)

    • Community centers. You may be surprised at the disparity between the price and the quality of amenities with some community centers being exceptionally well equipped. If you are tight on the budget but look for many options, check your local community center.

    • Hybrid personal/ app-based training options. This option offers a hybrid of in-person initial training sessions and individually planned workouts that are available through the apps afterward. The workouts are progressed monthly or biweekly and the variety and the number of in-person sessions greatly depends on the provider and the package.

 

  • $ On the lowest end of the spectrum, although not yet free you will find:

    • Virtual pre-recorded classes

    •  Virtual group classes

    •  App-based fitness with the option to indicate fitness goals and receive machine-generated personalized workouts.

  • 0$ Finally, there are great free resources that provide free amenities or quality material for fitness enthusiasts:

    • Free YouTube and other social media platforms

    • Residential and office gyms which sometimes offer free classes, in addition to the no-extra-cost amenities 

    •  Community libraries often host free classes with a different focus

    • Promotions in commercial gyms

I hope you found some useful tips in this article. Have fun and safe training! And if you have a question, don’t hesitate to contact me.

bottom of page