If you're like me, that first day of January is always bursting with optimism—excitement, even—at the prospect of how fit you'll be and how healthy you'll be eating this year. Your "my body will be #goals" mantra replays in your head as you proudly resist the urge to indulge in your guilty pleasure (for me, that's Taco Bell, farewell fair Crunch Wrap!) Being fit assumes a different shape depending on who you ask, so whether fitness for you means weight loss, or adding more leafy greens or fiber to your diet, here's a fitness manifesto to live by to help you stay on track with your body goals for 2016!
It's often said, "innovation is birthed out of necessity." Fitness works in somewhat of the same manner. Whether you are making healthier lifestyle choices because of doctor's orders or because you simply want to lead a healthier lifestyle to look good naked (Go ahead, girl!), your first step towards transformation begins with the positive mindset that you can do it, and then follow up with action.
Upping your fitness is just like any other goal you've set for yourself; it requires planning. Dreaming up your ideal body or fitness goals is only beneficial if you put some muscle behind it. If you're interested in building muscle, consider a gym. Many locations will offer a buddy pass for those who are interested in potentially becoming members. Try out every gym that peaks your interest using their free one-day pass until your find the one that fits you best. It also helps to determine when kind of gym-goer you are. Do you like classes or machines, or are you more of a luxury gyms kind of gal who prefers a gym with a sauna and spa/massage services? Maybe you prefer to workout with women only? Some gyms have a "girl's only" rule so your won't have to worry about feeling self-conscious. And of course, at-home workouts are a great option, too. Whatever you choose, just get in where you fit in!
If weight loss is a part of your fitness goals, then altering your eating habits is likely to be a necessity. However, exercising out like a mad woman and participating in fad diets (low-fat, no carbs, no sodium) may yield results in the beginning, but down the line your "diet" may actually cause you to gain weight. Look at your fitness as a positive lifestyle change, not just a temporary fix. In his book, The Stark Naked 21-Day Metabolic Reset, fitness expert, Brad Davidson, advises against fad dieting stating: "Fad diets are not the answer for people looking for a lifestyle that will sustain both feeling great and looking great. They are not long-term solutions, but simply stressful ways to manipulate your body to quickly force weight off."
Choose a lifestyle plan that suits you. Be honest about where you are. If fitness hasn't been a constant element in your life, then that level five Vinyasa Yoga class may not be for you right now, that doesn't mean that it isn't something that you can work towards. We recently interviewed fitness expert Hannah Bronfman, who advises that newbies to the world of fitness begin with a Pilates class to gauge where they are fit-wise and learn basic movement of spine.
A poor diet isn't the only thing that can hold you back; poor lifestyle choices make an impact, too! You've heard what goes in your body shows on the outside, but that statement isn't just limited to food. Stress also greatly impacts your fitness and overall health. Metabolism is a word with a bit of a murky definition. Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, author of The Scwarzbein Principle defines it as "the combined effects fo all the varied biochemical processes that continually occur in your body on a cellular level." Anything and everything can affect your metabolism, from poor exercise to stress. According to Davidson, recent studies have shown that metabolism is also affected by the emotional connection between the mind and the body. Further, Davidson stresses that you could be eating the "perfect" diet, but once metabolic process is imbalanced, it affects the entire system. So, if you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a breather. Plan a quick weekend getaway or simply schedule some time away from your desk on a daily basis to decompress and re-center.
Find a buddy! Making a lifestyle change is hard. If you already dread going to the gym, your bi-weekly sweatfest can be made even worse if you're doing it alone. For motivation and accountability, recycle that schoolgirl habit and use the buddy system! So, on days when you're not feeling up to Zumba, your girlfriend's friendly side-eye glare will encourage you to go.
Sadly, fitness and wellness are not things that you can wish into existence. While occasionally you'll want to indulge in a burger with fries and maybe even follow it with an ice cream, you'll also have to learn when to say "no." Think of making lifestyle a change like saving money in the bank. If you have a financial goal, you may turn down that fabulous sale or dinner at that new restaurant. Fitness and wellness are the same way. You have to be disciplined enough to tell yourself "no."
Workouts are not a one-size-fits-all kind of a deal. What works for Beyoncé may not work for you. You'll have a harder time committing to a lifestyle change if you choose to follow a one-dimensional workout that doesn't cater to you. If you're not a gym girl, try incorporating exercise into some of your favorite activities. Why not incorporate a few squats or lunges in between planting those flowers, while gardening? Or, start your day off on a high note by dancing for the duration of your favorite song first thing in the morning; you'll get a boost of energy and you'll feel super sexy. Who wouldn't want to feel that way early in the morning?