January is the month that many of us want to get healthier, lose weight, be stronger, more regimented.
As an Exercise Physiologist with 30 years in the fitness industry, I want to share ten easy-to-follow fitness tips that will help you with your goals:
- Schedule workouts on your calendar. Our smartphones make this easy plus you can add alerts just in case you forget. Keep these commitments like you would a doctor’s appointment. Make exercise a priority, not an after-thought.
- Download a calorie and fitness tracking app. Let technology assist you. Tracking calories and exercise will make you aware of sneaky calories and/or how many calories you’re burning with exercise.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking exercise is an effective weight-loss program. In fact, studies show people often think they burn more calories with exercise than they do. While regular exercise can speed up resting metabolism, caloric intake is often the culprit of weight gain.
- Don’t lose too much weight, too quickly. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends not to lose more than 2 pounds per week in order to maintain lean mass. A 2-pound weekly weight loss is a daily 1,000 caloric deficit. However, it is also recommended not to eat less than 1200 calories a day. This is where a Registered Dietician can guide you to healthy eating and preventing chronic disease.
- Move throughout the day. The key to losing weight is fewer calories in and more caloric output. Sandwich walking into your daily routine. Park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs, walk your dog more, do squats during commercial breaks or walk the field when the kids are at sports practice.
- Cut or reduce liquid calories. Even diet drinks can contribute to weight gain. Plus, the chemicals in them are not healthy. Drink water. If you want flavor, add a piece of fruit.
- Start slow. If you’re brand new to fitness, start with exercising 3 days a week for 15-20 minutes (of cardio) in duration. After 3-4 weeks, add in another day or add an extra 5 minutes. Have rest days.
- Incorporate 2 days of strength training, working at least 8 muscle groups with at least 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions with a weight that challenges you yet allows you to have full range of movement. This is where a Personal Trainer can teach you about effective weight training and how it increases muscle and bone mass.
- Don’t compare where you are in your journey. While the gym may look filled with fit bodies, many of those have their own stories of struggle and success. Becoming fit takes time. There is no short-cut, there is no magic pill.
- Get a gym buddy. Having someone keep you accountable makes it harder to skip a workout. Plus, when you surround yourself with people who are working on their health, you have a chance to establish habits that are good for you.
While January may be a great time to get fit, we at American Family Fitness want to see you year-round. To help you be successful, stop at our Welcome Desk and ask for your free orientation. Let our professional team inspire you to a healthy 2020!
Maria Beall is an American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Physiologist and has been in the fitness industry for 30 years. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, cum laude. She and her husband Michael have 3 grown sons and live in Manchester, where they enjoy hikes on the river. Maria’s hobbies include real estate investing, traveling and snuggling with her Morkie, Chloe-Belle.