After the ball drops and the fanfare dies down, studies say, those New Year resolutions to get back in shape or hit the gym more often will falter and fail within the first month or so. And according to fitness industry analysts, 80 percent of new club members quit within the first five months of the year. All is not lost, however. If you’ve set new fitness goals or joined a gym, a few simple strategies can help you form good fitness habits and keep resolutions within reach.
Keep a realistic routine
Resolving to work out every single day isn’t sustainable. Even with the best will in the world, you may last a week. The body (and that enthusiastic spirit) need a break for your muscles to repair and for you to get the rest and sleep a more intensive workout schedule requires for the long term. Try a scaled approach to scheduling. The first couple of weeks work out twice a week, then add a third and a fourth workout as you get in the groove of getting to the gym after work or everything else you have going on.
Experts say for optimal benefits you should get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise five times a week. Book classes in your club app, but also make sure they’re added to your mobile and computer calendars with alerts set ahead of time to mentally prepare you.
Create a convenient workout model
The start of the year can bring dark, cold nights and busy work and family commitments. Neither are the friend of realistic fitness goals. So adopt a more inclusive vision of what fitness means. If you can’t make it to the gym five times a week, count a three-mile brisk walk with the dog as a workout, or build on-demand and streaming workouts into the mix.
The best club fitness libraries should offer a wide-range of instructor-led classes that look and feel a lot like your favorite group session. Familiarize yourself with the cardio classes and content your club makes available and add a selection to favorites, so when you’re stretched for time and trying to fit in a workout, you don’t waste time or lose enthusiasm searching for something suitable. Most clubs will offer cardio, core-strength and specialty instructor led classes you can try with a treadmill, elliptical or bike in your basement or a hotel gym if you’re on the go. The key is convenience and cutting yourself a little slack. Fitness is fitness. Gym, phone, tablet, family room TV and the great outdoors all count.
Make things varied
We can all be creatures of habit. But habit becomes routine, and routine turns into rut. Pretty soon the fun new class you joined feels a little like a chore. So, it’s important to keep your workout plans varied, engaging and stimulating – especially in the early months of the year when you’re establishing routine and commitment.
Fitness guidelines recommend a mix of aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility and conditioning and endurance conditioning. And don’t forget a rest day, every couple of days. Build up, ideally, to two to four cardio sessions, two to four resistance and weight sessions and ensure you stretch and cool down every time you work out. Beyond type of workout, keeping things interesting is essential. A cardio, instructor-led fitness class twice a week to get the blood pumping, the heart rate up and to feel the encouraging benefits of group workouts.
Try FitnessOnDemand’s Circuits360 if your club offers it. Each day a different circuit helps you add short, fresh and engaging stand-alone exercises to your workout routine so there’s always something new when you get to the club. Target too, those workout activities that can becoming repetitive and dull after a while.
Bring a tablet or your phone and try an instructor-led stationary bike session or treadmill workout that can make these functional workouts much more fun. Diversity, variety and freshness will be essential to keeping resolutions within reach on the road ahead in 2023.