This month is all about fresh starts, clean slates, and setting intentions. If exercise is on your radar but you’re not sure where to begin, these tips will take you to the starting line and have you ready to score the win this year. Whether you’ve started and stopped before, or you truly are starting from never having had a regular fitness regimen, these tips will serve you well, now and later.

Start with the end in mind

Stephen Covey applied this to everything, and you should too. One of the biggest mistakes we make with exercise programs is choosing something based on the number of calories it will burn or the promise of fast weight loss. If you don’t love the exercise activity itself, or some component of it, you will not stick to it. Your results are not going to come from the next four weeks and have lasting results unless you’re still doing it a year from now. What do you love to do that you can imagine doing several times a week all year? If the answer isn’t boot camp, don’t sign up for boot camp.

Prioritize your fitness goals

You may want to lose weight, enhance your bone density, improve your balance, and tone your tummy. Phew! You can have it all. You’ll get the best results, however, if you focus on one main priority and allow the rest to be a bonus. Let’s say, for example, each of those actually is a goal you’d like to achieve. If I helped you order those goals so that one key goal helped you reach all of them, I would recommend focusing on weight loss. The actions you need to do for weight loss will actually help improve your bone density, and tone your tummy. While you’re getting stronger and more toned, your balance will improve.

Plan the fitness actions

This you’ve heard before. You want the 2 lb. weight loss a week, and 8 lbs. by the end of the month. But you have no control over that. You do have control over the actions you need to take to reach your goals. Set the exercise time into your schedule. Set the meal plan and preparation so you make it easy to eat the right foods. Book an appointment with an expert to get answers to your questions about what you really need to do. Sit down and take the time to plan before you go into action.

Plug your fitness into real time

A pie-in-the sky program is fun to imagine, yet you probably don’t have all day to exercise, a personal chef to cook your meals, or an afternoon to nap or get a massage. What is a realistic amount of time to spend on your fitness regimen? Your ideal exercise program will expand and shrink like an accordion to fit your real life. If you have 10 minutes or you have 45 minutes on any given day, as long as you know what to do, you’ll make that time count! The value of consistent quality over quantity is underrated! You may find your fitness level and energy is better with less exercise time, as long as it has a specific purpose.

First things first

Get the basics before you go on to the extras. When you’re short on time, strength, cardio, and flexibility will always be your highest priorities. A few basic strength exercises done in minutes can do far more for you than an hour-long fluffy “fusion” class. Ten or 20 minutes of interval training will balance those hormones and make you better, not tired. Where you might have skipped a warm up or cool down in your past, they become the keys to burning more fat and moving pain-free now. Simple, safe, sane exercise that is consistent is your best friend now, and all year.

If you are interested in some alternative dietary options that will have you looking at food differently, try The Metabolism Whisperer.

 

By Debra Atkinson for Prime Women magazine

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