Want to make 2012 the year you do it? It could be the year you actually get in shape, lose weight, and get fit. Take some tips from these Madison-based experts. They know their stuff. Their tips are similar, though their approaches may be different.
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Set a realistic goal: Your goal can range from big, such as running your first 5K, to small, such as climbing to the top of the stairs at home or work without feeling winded. Small changes over time can lead to better overall fitness; park the car further away, take the stairs whenever possible, if you have a sedentary job, set an alarm on your phone at timed intervals to get up and do some exercises and stretch.
Be consistent. One of the biggest pitfalls I see as a trainer is people starting on their new fitness regimen with good intentions, but then missing a day here and there, and then eventually completely falling off the wagon. Pick a time of day that will work best for you and stick with it but keep in mind that more than 90 percent of those who exercise consistently have a morning fitness routine.
Pay attention to what you put in your mouth. Be conscious of everything you eat, and never eat standing up, sit and fully enjoy your food. Portion control is huge. Slow down so you can feel fuller faster. Eat in moderation and include more vegetables and fruit into your diet. Many overweight people have confessed to me that they do a lot of their eating at night so set a rule for yourself – wake up hungry!
Make it fun. Keep the workout varied – dance, swim, hike, yoga, and long walks and try doing high intensity interval training to give your cardiovascular workout a boost; walking briskly for a few minutes then a 30-second sprint or fast walk followed by a slower pace for a few minutes. This approach breaks up the monotony of steady state training and research has shown a significant increase in fat-burning calories and cardiovascular fitness.
Be accountable to someone. Either hire a personal trainer to get you started, or meet with a friend to work out with.
Petra Axlund Stegman, studio owner at Inner Strength Yoga in Madison shares this advice:
Set up goals. To get to where you want you need to know where you are going. Set up specific, measurable and realistic goals, like running a 5K under 30 minutes or getting into your favorite jeans by Memorial Day. Have small goals along the way and every time you reach a goal you get a reward (not food!)
Switch it up. To get results you HAVE to step out of your comfort zone. If you do the same exercise routine over and over your body will adjust and you will never reach your goals. Try a completely new workout class at least once a month, lift heavier weights in the gym, try interval training to get more out of your cardio. Change your routine every 6-8 weeks.
Have fun & get motivated. Remember that this “fitness thing” isn´t a quick fix. It´s a lifestyle change and something you want to keep up for the rest of your life. So try to find a workout that you actually like. But motivation isn´t something you can sit around and wait for – it is something you get when you start to see the results from all your hard work. So just do it!
Count your calories. This might sound boring but it is necessary. Almost everybody who claims that they are working out and “doing everything right” but still don´t lose any weight have no clue about their caloric intake. Calculate your basic metabolic rate (Google BMR Calculator) and then calculate how much you are burning during your workout. It is simple math: calories in, calories out.
Get strong from the inside. Just like you have to work to get a strong body you have to work to get mentally strong. For this yoga and meditation is great. You´ll learn how to become present, less stressed, more relaxed, and it will decrease muscle tension and enhance your immune system. You´ll become happier and healthier.
Be Consistent. You don’t have to work out for hours in the gym, but you do need to be consistent. You can’t expect to get into shape in a couple of weeks and then stop; you need a long-range plan. Even if you begin with only a 10-minute walk, you must be consistent. Make a schedule and keep a log that way you will know if you are performing your activities regularly. Remember the ancient Chinese saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Choose Exercise Activities You Enjoy. Since consistency is so important, you will need to make it easier on yourself so choose exercise activities that you enjoy. A complete exercise program includes cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, biking, swimming) some resistance training (weights, exercise bands), and some flexibility work (stretching). To paraphrase Voltaire, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” And remember, ‘something is always better than nothing.’
Use Proper Technique. Getting some professional instruction to improve your technique will save you a lot of time and misplaced effort. Using proper technique will help prevent injuries, and will help you reach your goals faster and you might be surprised to learn that, even in activities as simple as walking and running, there are many technique corrections that can help make those activities safer and yield better results.
Use Proper Progression. You need to start on an exercise program plan that is suited to your likes and dislikes, your present fitness level (and any medical restrictions or recommendations), and your exercise experience. Then you need to build on this foundation, by increasing the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of your program systematically, so your body keeps responding and doesn’t plateau and periodically change exercises and activities to add variety, which will keep your body responding.