New Year – Fit Year
New Year - Fit Year
The holidays are almost over, and for many, this is a great time to start fresh and being to adopt healthier habits to change their lives. Starting a new fitness journey in January is popular because it allows everyone to start breaking down calories that were gained from the carb-heavy holidays where most of us indulge in big meals after stressful moments of shopping and preparing for family visits.
New Year’s resolutions are also created for mindful goal setting, pairing up with workout friends to get healthy with, and preparing the mind for the journey ahead. Most of the people starting New Year’s resolutions are aware that they need and want to make a change.
However, getting started and knowing what to do requires a little bit more knowledge in order to be efficient and see results. Here are several ways you can make the most of your resolution to change your life and get fit this coming year!
How to Dress Properly for Your New Fitness Journey
To most people, finding something to wear before starting a workout is not much of a priority, however, the clothes that you wear can, in fact, impact your workout. Not only can they alter the way you feel physically as you work out, but it can get so bad that you begin dreading the workouts.
You’ll need to do a head to toe evaluation of your gear to see what needs updating. If you haven’t ever given it any thought, a great place to start with workout attire is the setting in which you plan on performing your exercise regimen.
For the most part, if you plan on working out indoors at either a house or gym setting, you can get away with almost anything from sweats to tank tops because the air conditioning will allow for optimal temperatures.
The only aspect you really need to consider when indoor training is to know if you’re planning for an intense, high cardiac output workout like HIIT training or something slower paced.
HIIT workouts, or High Intensity Interval Training, can be very taxing on the human body, raising your blood pressure, heart-rate, and body temperature, which can be overbearing to some.
Dressing too warm for these workouts can cause someone new to pass out or feel very light headed, so be sure to bring a layer of clothing that you can remove if you begin to feel too hot at any point.
A similar method of wearing layers can be beneficial to anyone who likes to train outdoors at parks, participate in boot camps or go on long runs. Depending on the exercises, the same situation of increasing body temperature can happen outdoors, which makes wearing layers more beneficial when it comes to keeping body temperature lower.
Shoes are also important - even as important as the bed you sleep on, which means making sure you have the right ones for your body are essential for your joint health. Wearing the wrong type of shoes for long periods of time can cause damage to your ankle complex, which can also affect the rest of the joints in your body through its kinetic chain, affecting posture.
There are specialty shoe stores that can run foot assessments in which they assess how you walk and refer you to the best possible shoe and insole that can help correct your footstep to better improve your walking, posture, and the way you feel.
In addition to shoes and layering, you also have to consider things such as sports bras, sweat bands, hats to protect yourself from the sun if you’re working out outdoors, and more.
There are many technological gadgets you can get for your attire, too. From heart rate monitors that you wear to simple step counters that assist you in setting and achieving cardio goals, there’s something for everyone.
Home vs Gym Memberships
In order to start the New Year’s resolution journey into fitness off right, you will need an appropriate setting to perform exercises that are geared towards your specific goals. The first step in making the decision to get a gym membership vs working out at the house is to consider your budget for your health.
If your wallet is running slim after the holidays, it’s perfectly fine to start doing workouts at your home if there is space available to do so, or at a local park. Although your home is limited compared to the exercise equipment offered in a gym environment, there are still a lot of exercises that you can do with no equipment at all.
Thanks to sources like the Internet and YouTube in particular, there are tons of workout plans with structured regimens for the house or outdoors. If having a little extra cash to invest in a gym membership is within your budget, you will find that having more equipment, like-minded people, and fitness professionals around are definitely perks of this option.
A few other decisions to think about when deciding if you’d like to work out at home vs the gym is your discipline to keep yourself accountable to show up at the gym, or even remember to work out at the house.
Some people may be more introverted and may not wish to see others as they’re working out, while others may find it more encouraging to be around people with similar goals and build a network of people who can hold them more accountable.
A great way to go about making a decision is to work out at your house first for a month in order to build consistency, habits and foundational strength, and then join a gym trial during February after the gym is less crowded in order to see if a gym setting is more appropriate for your goals.
Regardless of the setting you choose to work out in, the most important piece to the puzzle is to find your preference in which you can stay more committed and build a strong consistency with exercise and fitness.
Cardio vs Strength
A common question when it comes to starting a new workout plan is whether or not to incorporate more cardio or strength workouts throughout the week. One of the biggest misconceptions is that strength training will lead to bulky muscles and even weight gain, which usually acts a deterrent to those unsure about which route to take.
The problem with that concept is that it’s simply not true. Muscle takes much longer to gain, which means you won’t turn into the Hulk in a year, and strength workouts have even been proven to speed your metabolism up so that you can burn fat as a fuel source more efficiently.
It takes your body more calories per hour to maintain muscle mass than it does body fat, which means the more muscle your body has will result in more calories per hour to be burned.
Strength workouts can also improve bone density, release endorphins to make you feel better, and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis. Strength training is a great place for anyone to start, but what about the cardio side of workouts?
Cardiovascular training is also an important piece to look over when considering workout because many benefits can come from it that don’t come from strength workouts alone.
Training your body’s cardiovascular system can build your aerobic base to burn fat efficiently, improve lung health, and can make for great recovery days between strength workouts.
If you do any sort of cardiovascular workouts, be sure to invest in a heart-rate monitor and learn about the heart-rate zones that allow your body to burn fat efficiently. There are many online calculators that will give you a guestimate to what heart-rate your body will burn fat vs burning carbs and sugars.
If your heart-rate goes too high, then you are no longer burning fat cells, so without a heart-rate monitor, it is very difficult to determine what it is exactly you are using as your energy source when doing any sort of cardio.
When considering cardio vs strength, don’t leave one completely out. Both types of workouts complement each other and both play an important role when it comes to fat burning.
Feel free to do light to moderate cardio just about any day of the week, but a good place to start with strength training is two full body workouts per week, with adequate rest between each strength training day.
Find a form of cardio that you love. You don’t have to commit to a daily 5-mile run. You can do water aerobics or something else you consider fun. The same goes for strength training.
You’re not relegated to using dumbbells. You can use bodyweight exercises or kettlebells or any number of methods to get strength built over time. Make sure you switch things up so that your body can’t acclimate to your routines.
Workout Efficiency and Weight Loss
Hardly anyone ever enjoys going on a restricted diet or adopting healthier eating habits while starting an exercise regimen at the same time. Making your time more efficient will not only help you see results faster, but could also prevent plateaus and save a lot of time and stress as well.
The first step in your New Year’s resolution plan should be to find a way to assess yourself regularly. This could be done through progress photos, biometric scales, or any method of training body fat progress such as tape measurers or calipers.
If you aren’t assessing your progress you’re guessing, and guessing could waste your time, diminish results, and make you lose track of accountability. After you find a way that you prefer to measure your progress, make a commitment to yourself to check weekly on your progress.
A common term used in gyms among staff is “Weigh-in Wednesday” for example, where every Wednesday at the same time you check your progress. Starting off, you will most likely see changes in your measurements and the way you feel, just based off picking up healthier nutrition habits, which makes nutrition goals a great place to start.
Slowly, you may notice the progress begin to slow down, which means it’s time to change something in your current plan, such as adding in cardio a few times a week so that your body now has to adapt to a new method, resulting in more progress being shown on the scale.
If cardio and nutrition aren’t cutting it for the type of results you’d like to see, try adding two strength workouts into your week to help build more muscle fiber and speed up your metabolism.
Be sure to track how much cardio and strength training you’re doing consistently, then be patient for a couple of weeks to see how your assessments result from your changed program.
Eventually, everyone who eats better, and does a little cardio with strength will begin to notice their progress begins to slow down. This is where you can begin to make minor changes for even more results, forcing the body to adapt in new ways to a healthier lifestyle.
Some changes could be investing in a heart-rate monitor and knowing at what heart-rate your body burns fat the best when doing cardio. Adding in better sleep for recovery and stress or applying a yoga workout once a week can also go a long way in seeing different results on the scale.
Regardless of which habit you’d like to tweak to overcome slow results, it’s important to track your progress continually so that you know when and how you need to change what you’re currently doing to continue seeing progress.
The human body tries its hardest to maintain homeostasis so that your body can regularly maintain its current situation, which is why it’s so important to track when your body is no longer seeing changes from your program, and find that next aspect to change.
The holiday season at the end of the year is the worst season to gain weight. You feel lethargic from a carb heavy time of year, and this a better reason to start fresh in January and get back to being the you that feels and looks your best.
There will be many people stating that this is the year they get fit once and for all. But the reality is, most of them will quit. What makes you any different? The fact that you’re preparing for your journey instantly makes you more credible because you’re taking this seriously.
Continue moving on that path and educating yourself about how to gain momentum, rather than lose it as you work toward your goals. Set yourself up ahead of time for success and plan out any roadblocks that might get in the way so that when the time does come, you won’t be defeated, but instead rise up to continue making the body slowly adapt to a healthier lifestyle.