WITH the holiday season over, it’s time to get back in fighting shape. Even if you’re not a professional athlete, being in great shape will enhance your quality of life and give you boundless energy at home and at the workplace for enhanced productivity and fulfillment.
Resolving to get in shape, and actually doing it, are two different things. While many people make a New Year’s resolution to be fit each and every year, few actually fulfill this lofty goal.
Here are Toby's 15 helpful tips to energize you this 2015!
1. Aim High (but not too high). Instead of having a common fitness goal that’s too easy to take for granted, aim high for yourself. If your goal is just to “lose a few pounds," go big with a vow to do something ambitious like finish a marathon, enter the CrossFit games, or finish an English century bike ride (that’s 100 MILES, not kilometers). Don’t sell yourself short.
2. Weigh yourself everyday. You may not like what the scale tells you first thing in the morning, but it will keep you honest and conscious of the daily need to exercise. If you exercise and follow a sound diet and sleep plan, the numbers will go down over several weeks.
3. Sign up for the races! With so many running events to choose from, these are great venues to test your fitness in the company of thousands of other like-minded folks. And of course, you’ll have to train for them first, which then puts you on the road to fitness.
4. An hour a day burns the fat everyday. Exercising from thirty minutes to a full hour every day will amp up your metabolism for the rest of the day. When you feel good, raise the intensity to burn more fat.
5. Exercise at home. If the gym takes too long to get to from home, invest in a set of home gym equipment. A cardio machine such as a treadmill or exercise bike, a set of dumbbells, a yoga mat, and an exercise ball are all you need to work the upper and lower body as well as your core.
6. Have a balanced exercise program. Whether you want to become a runner, a cyclist, or just generally fit, think of fitness as “Upper Body," “Lower Body," “Core," and “Cardio." Set aside specific days of the week to work each section, but each day should always have a bit of cardio even if the main set involves strength training.
7. Enjoy the journey. Genuine fitness gains take months to achieve. Enjoy the process of getting there: the daily workouts, the healthy diet options, and the new friends you’ll meet along the way. Don’t get so fixated on a hard target like a specific weight or race that you begin to hate the journey.
8. Eat Healthy! You’ve been told this many times, but this becomes even more important if you really want to be fit. Exercising a lot doesn’t give anyone the right to eat unhealthy food. In fact, it emphasizes the need for proper nutrition as the body will be starved of nutrients after a grueling workout. Minimize the processed or fried food, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and you’ll get more energy throughout the day.
9. Sleep when you can. Sleep is golden for the committed fitness buff as it’s the only time when the body “shuts down” to repair itself and get even stronger. Aside from 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, try to catnap during your lunch break.
10.Push your limits. If you really want to get crazy-fit, you have to go beyond physical and mental limits. You just might surprise yourself with what you can do.
11. Listen to your body. Be smart about this. Even when you’re training hard, err on the side of sensible rather than stupid. If you’ve only been running 10k several times a week, then you’re asking for trouble signing up for a 42k that’s happening in just a few weeks. If you lift weights, your body will tell you exactly how much you can lift, and how many times. The moment you lose form or technique becomes sloppy, STOP. You’re just one mistake away from injury.
12. Set weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. Like numbers? Quantify your training with various goals throughout the year, such as weekly and monthly running mileage, a specific number of pushups for the week, a percentage increase in weights you can lift within several months.
13. Hire a Coach or Trainer. A trainer is someone who will guide you through specific workouts and is invaluable when a particular technique is paramount. A coach, on the other hand, helps you to see the Big Picture of your fitness. His job is to create the roadmap for you based on your experience and available time, to mentor and cajole you throughout the season, and to provide professional advice on specific equipment and workouts. They take out the guesswork from your training so you can just concentrate on doing the workouts.
14. Plan out everything. Events such as marathons, bike races, CrossFit games and the like are scheduled well in advance. Choose your goal event and work backwards from these; between 12 to 16 weeks for event-specific training, and another 8 to 10 weeks for preparatory base (“foundation”) fitness development.
15. Be Flexible! No plan ever survives first contact with the realities of life. Schedules are thrown askew and your fitness can improve faster or slower than anticipated. Take a proactive approach and adjust your development accordingly. As long as you stay faithful to your season Goals, your fitness is guaranteed to reach an all-time high!