What are your fitness resolutions for the upcoming year? If you’re feeling a little intimidated by the prospect of becoming a new person, the smart upgrades suggested by prominent fitness professionals will get you started in the right direction. It’s important, they say, that your mind and body are prepared for the task and that your fitness goals are both inspirational and gratifying. ‘You can achieve big things this year,’ says Dr. Josephine Perry, a sport psychologist at Performance in Mind and author of Performing Under Pressure (Routledge, £17.99). Nothing can stop you now that you’ve read our ideas and recommendations.
Every month, try something new
‘A diverse exercise routine will burn off body fat stores far more effectively,’ says Julia Buckley, a UK-based fitness expert who creates fat-burning workout videos and posts on Instagram as @juliabfit. ‘Mixing up our routines and trying something new once a month can help you burn calories, build lean muscle (which means we burn more fat even when we’re not working out), and become in shape.’ She suggests working out with a mix of strength, cardio, HIIT, and power yoga.
Make up your own phrase
If you encounter a fitness wall or plateau, researchers have discovered that utilizing positive ‘head talk’ to remind ourselves of our goals can be revolutionary. ‘It can feel like our inner voice is trying to trip us up or make us feel like a failure, but think of it as a coach, personal trainer, or buddy,’ Dr. Perry recommends. ‘Imagine how supportive and enthusiastic those people would be, and use that energy to craft a sentence you can repeat to yourself to help you remain on track.’ “Do less, better” is a mantra Dr. Perry employs at the present.
Aim for a new personal best in running
Laura Fountain, a running coach and author of the Lazy Girl Jogging blog, says, ‘When you first start running, your time will improve very quickly.’ ‘However, your times will eventually plateau.’ That doesn’t mean you can’t improve, but it will take some planning and structured training, so set aside 8-16 weeks to train for your goal, depending on the distance you’re tackling. ‘Your training should be designed such that you spend time increasing your distance, practicing your goal pace, and adding speed before tapering for your PB attempt,’ Fountain advises.
Take into account the time it takes to recuperate
One of the most common fitness blunders is neglecting recovery, which leads to you becoming too mentally and physically weary to exercise. According to Dalton Wong, CEO of Twenty Two Training and fitness counselor to celebrities such as Olivia Colman and Jennifer Lawrence, 2020 should be the year you kick this habit. Wong claims that rest is just as vital as hard labor.’ ‘It’s critical that you look after your body both physically and mentally. I recommend to my customers that they invest in themselves once a week in some type of recuperation, whether it’s physical (such as a sauna, cryotherapy, massage, or beauty treatment) or mental (such as meditation or socializing). Your body will be more resilient if it is well rested.’
Create a challenge for yourself
Monotony and boredom are the worst enemies of fitness, and the best way to combat them is to set oneself a new goal. Take on that long-held ambition of running a 5K or a marathon, completing a triathlon, or walking the Pennine Way. Your challenge can be anything that motivates you and will motivate you to get off the couch in January. ‘Pick a goal that is difficult enough to be challenging. But not so difficult that you set yourself up to fail,’ advises Dr. Perry. ‘Be realistic about your goal – it needs to be challenging enough. That you’ll have to get up and train for it. But it also needs to be defined and have a deadline so you don’t overthink it.’
Begin to raise weights
Many women avoid lifting weights because they believe it would make them overweight. Most women, however, will benefit from some weight training, according to Dalton Wong. ‘Resistance and weight training will increase your metabolism by up to 30%. Because having more lean tissue means you’ll burn more calories even after you’ve finished,’ explains Wong. Lifting weights has been demonstrated in numerous studies to be an effective way to lose weight. Weight training combined with a low-calorie diet was found to preserve much-needed lean muscle mass far more successfully than aerobic workouts in one study. Begin with a weight that is comfortable for you or enrolls in a weight-training class.
Develop your gut flora
Lower levels of inflammation, a faster metabolism, and, most recently, enhanced exercise performance have all been related to gut bacteria. Dr. Megan Rossi, a nutrition research associate at King’s College London and author of Eat Yourself Healthy adds that exercise. Independent of food, improve the diversity of gut microorganisms, which is a hallmark of good gut health. ‘However, a good diet will enhance gut health, lowering the risk of disease. Which could sabotage your fitness gains.’ Rossi recommends a wide variety of gut-friendly foods. ‘Eat 30 different plant-based foods every week. Including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes. As well as fermented foods like kefir and kimchi.’
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