Each year millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and improving our fitness levels often lands at the top of the list. For better or for worse, this year may not have gone exactly how we planned. Let’s decide together, that 2021 is the year we all set and reach goals that focus on our overall health! In the midst of uncertainty, remember that fitness is definitely something you have control of!
Fitness can mean many different things to everyone. But one thing in common, regardless of your goals, are the various components that complete a comprehensive fitness program. This includes muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and range of motion, as well as nutrition. Below are some tips to help set the foundation for your success!
Set specific goals:
- Be specific about your goals. Perhaps set smaller short-term goals in addition to larger long-term ones. This will help you stay organized, on target and more in control of your progress rather than constantly overwhelmed. Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable.
- Do you want to decrease body fat, increase lean body mass, increase muscular strength, increase cardiovascular endurance, or all of the above? It might help to establish your goals around an event, giving you something to work towards and look forward to.
- One silver lining of the pandemic is the accessibility to virtual exercise instruction along with virtual community around you. For example, having a telehealth training session with an exercise physiologist to learn new exercises, participating in your first virtual 5K, or find a new route for a walk or run in your neighborhood. All of the new technology available can supplement and help motivate you when working toward your goals!
- Work with a certified fitness professional to help you develop a customized training program to ensure you get the best results possible.
Get educated about your body:
- Schedule a fitness assessment to establish baseline of where you are starting. Having as much information as possible will be helpful in selecting appropriate exercises to start with, as well as safe progressions as you work toward your goals.
- Master the basics first! It’s very important to establish deep foundational strength before performing higher level movements.
- Focus on the quality of your movement. Take the time to learn proper exercise technique to ensure safety.
- Make sure you are working with a certified fitness professional and create a virtual fitness community to make it fun!
Don’t forget about nutrition:
- Learning to eat in a new way to support your fitness goals may seem difficult at first, but just like exercise this can be fun.
- It’s amazing how eating well can affect how your body feels as well as help you perform optimally in your exercise endeavors.
- Work with a registered dietician to give you guidance and get you started on the right foot!
Keep yourself accountable:
- Having a friend or family member as your accountability partner can help keep you on track
- Find a fitness class online that you enjoy and make a point of introducing yourself to the instructor, so that you have a community to come back to week after week
- Join a local virtual running or biking club, or start one.
- There are even apps that will donate to a charity when you exercise!
- Surround yourself with people who will support you in your goals, and don’t be afraid to ask for a little extra encouragement when you need it.
- The most important positive reinforcement will come from you.
- Don’t waste your time and energy on criticizing yourself, shift your focus instead towards all the positive steps you’re taking and celebrate the successes along the way, big and small.
Reviewed on December 14, 2020
Ashley Fluger CSCS, CPT is an exercise physiologist at the Tisch Sports Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. Ashley is also TPI Golf Certified. She graduated top in her class from Indiana University and also completed the Sport Essentials Certificate Program from Columbia University. Ashley has an extensive knowledge in exercise science and sports performance.