It is that time of the year when people set resolutions for the new year – and most of them are related to fitness. But when many resolutions lose steam by the second or third week of January, how can the success of this year’s fitness resolutions be guaranteed? The answer lies in keeping it simple.
“One must set the new year’s fitness resolution to be realistic and achievable on a daily basis, taking one step at a time,” says Samruddhi Zemse, a Pune-based nutritionist and fitness coach at Athlarc Fitness Coaching.
Although many have a less-than-ideal track record of sticking to their resolutions, Shifa Varadkar is one of many who happen to be successful every single time; and her secret is to take up activities that she enjoys doing.
“My target for each year is to become healthy and fitter,” says Varadkar, a sports nutritionist at Reliance Foundation Youth Sports, Mumbai. “I am somebody who loves swimming and lifting weights, my target for each year is to lift more weights and swim more miles than I did the year before. For me, it is more about carrying forward the same goals and targets from the previous year to the next [ensuring progress].”
Varadkar works out with a partner who is a source of motivation. Another factor which keeps motivation levels high is the atmosphere of the gym or fitness centre. It should help people build relationships and feel positive.
“The surroundings of a person play a vital role in consistency,” says Jaish George, a fitness coach from Kochi. “When you have people around who give positive vibes and energy that itself encourages them to work out consistently.”
Resolution and time management
Varadkar’s ability to manage time helps her balance work and workout routine without too much hassle.
“I am one of those people who loves planning,” adds Varadkar. “I sit every morning for 10 minutes and plan my entire day. I work with to-do lists including the workout I will be doing on that day. Doing this helps me figure out how much time needs to be dedicated to each task during the day.”
Of course, changes can happen suddenly. There are some weeks when it becomes difficult to follow the routine, maybe because of an increased workload or being under the weather. Taking a break is important too, but without losing momentum.
“I start afresh next week and follow the routine all over again without trying to compensate for the time lost,” says Varadkar.
Goals: Enjoy the process
Failing to reach goals is discouraging and achieving a target pushes you to aspire for more. This is where setting realistic targets matters.
“The target should be based on feeling good and proud about oneself,” says Samruddhi “Once you achieve success daily by being consistent and sticking to the resolution, nothing can beat that feeling.”
George adds, “If a person does not enjoy what they do, they will find it difficult to sustain [the activity]. The focus should be on the person’s interest.”
Varadkar agrees with both experts. “I will not keep hustling to meet my goal if the process of doing so is not making me feel good,” she says. Making the diet plan or the workout schedule enjoyable and satisfying will help maintain consistency.
Diet and lifestyle
“My diet predominantly includes food that I have grown up with or am familiar with,” says Varadkar. “Only the quantities and portion sizes change for me according to the goal I am trying to achieve.”
Eating healthy food and at the right time reduces the tendency to eat in excess. Discipline is key.
“Anyone who starts working out soon realises that following unhealthy practices will put to waste all their hard work, time, investment, and energy,” says George, stressing that regular workouts and healthy habits are complimentary. “Unhealthy practices lead to a visible dip in performance. Once a person starts working out, their lifestyle will change too.”
Tips to plan your fitness resolution
- Start with charting down the entire day’s schedule including work hours and setting estimated time slots for daily tasks. This makes it easier to set a slot for a fitness workout.
- To begin with, block 20-30 minutes a day for fitness.
- Planning to join a gym? Attend the trial classes. They can give you an idea about the trainer, the ambience of the place and suitable timings. Meet a fitness advisor/coach and prepare a fitness chart including the types of exercise and the level of the program (basic, intermediate or rehab).
- If the resolution involves losing weight, experts advise getting a body composition analysis (BCA) done. BCA is a physical test that helps measure the water, protein, fat, and mineral composition of the body. It indicates the amount of fat that needs to be cut to achieve the ideal body weight.
- Most gyms have special offers at the start of the year, making them overcrowded, which could be discouraging.
- It is advisable to choose a fitness centre near your house or the office. It saves time and energy, and you can choose any time in the day to exercise.
- If realistic daily or short-term goals are set, it could prevent the new year’s fitness resolution from failing even after the initial excitement fades.
- Consulting an expert to chart down the fitness plan – the type of exercise, schedule, and intensity – will help you plan the journey well in advance.
- Choosing enjoyable activities will keep motivation and consistency levels high.