It is January 2007. What is your New Year's resolution? If your resolution is to lose weight and to shape up, you have joined an extremely large group of people throughout the country that have made the same resolution.
To be successful in keeping this resolution, realize that the most difficult part will be staying on the fitness bandwagon. More often that not, the following events take place:
The first weeks of January are awesome. You work out six days each week. You are excited about what you are doing and feeling great.
The following weeks are good. You work out six days in a row again each week. You are in your fitness zone and feeling good.
The month of February arrives. You are beginning to lose your enthusiasm.
You work out three days each week and this is an effort. You feel bored and fatigued.
March arrives. You make it to the gym once this month. You are burned out.
Do not let this happen to you. You can be successful in your commitment to improve your health and lose weight.
The following tips will assist you in your success to stay on the fitness bandwagon and make the most of each workout.
Set a realistic goal
Beginning a fitness program too aggressively increases your risk of injury and leads to burnout. Challenge yourself with a goal that is achievable, such as completing a 5K run/walk in April, working out three days a week in January or reaching a weight loss prior to a vacation -- progress gradually toward it. You may find that hiring a personal trainer to assist you in establishing a goal and achieving it helpful.
A personal trainer will provide individual attention and motivation you need to reach your goal. Contact your YMCA at 419-621-9622 to obtain additional information regarding hiring a personal trainer.
Adopt a positive attitude
Keep your focus on how exercise gives you energy, lowers your stress level, and improves your strength, flexibility and endurance instead of how many calories you have burned in a workout session. You will find yourself looking forward to each workout.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends for improved cardiovascular fitness and body composition, participate in physical activity three to five times each week for 20-60 minutes at a time. Activities involving the large muscle groups, such as swimming, walking, running and cycling are great examples.
The "talk test" quickly determines if your intensity is too high. If you are unable to carry on a conversation while exercising, your intensity is too high.
Muscle strength and flexibility training should also be included in your fitness program.
Keep it fun
Find an activity you enjoy or have never tried before. For example, swimming, playing basketball, joining a fitness class or learning how to ballroom dance.
Bring friends, family
You will feel committed not to let them down. It will make you think twice about rescheduling or missing a workout and you will develop a great support system. Your children will love having you join them in a game of kickball, and best of all it won't feel like exercise.
What you eat does matter even when you are committed to exercising. Keeping a food journal will assist in identifying eating pitfalls. Check with a nutritionist at your local hospital or ask you physician to review it with you.
Drink plenty of it. It provides energy and assists your body in disposing of toxins. Exercise and certain dietary choices dehydrate you. Drinking water helps to replace those lost fluids.
Find a way
Ten minutes in the morning. Ten minutes at night. That is all you need. Put together several mini-workouts that you can do in a limited amount of time. Take a short, brisk walk or perform yoga or Pilates. You can park in the farthest parking spot from the store, put music on and dance while you prepare dinner, take the stairs instead of the elevator or stretch while watching television. Every little bit counts.
Variety is essential
Not only does variety prevent boredom, it also helps to prevent injuries and create a healthy, balanced body.
Try yoga or Pilates, join a strength training class or step aerobics class, swim laps, play basketball or try a boot camp class.
All of the above and many more activities are available at your Sandusky Area YMCA.
Don t give up
You can be successful getting into shape and losing weight by making a commitment to yourself, using moderation and aforementioned these guidelines.
Kathleen Schoder is the Health & Fitness Director for the Sandusky Area YMCA and a regular columnist for FIT magazine. She can be reached at 419-625-6206 or <A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</A>