How did you do on your 2015 New Year’s resolution to get fit? Crushed it, right? You stuck to your early morning workout routine, ran a 5K every Saturday, saw a 200% improvement in your deadlift and now have the six-pack abs to prove it? Well then you can stop reading right now and go back to doing whatever you were doing, because that’s awesome. For everyone else, read on as we introduce you to a few easy-to-remember concepts that will help make this year’s fitness goals a bit more attainable.
Choose Fun and Feasible Exercise
The best kind of workout is the one that you actually do. No amount of unattended kickboxing classes, imagined Olympic powerlifting sessions, or planned but unexecuted couch to 5K programs will ever get you fit. Keep it simple, keep it fun and don’t over-extend.
Anything that requires considerable preparation or planning could make keeping a routine impossible, so stick to something that you can just get up and do yourself when it’s best for your schedule. Team sports or more complex leisure sports like skiing are fun and healthy, but they’re hard to build a routine around. Instead, pick an activity that you can do year round, at home or at the gym. Obviously we’re pretty big fans of cycling here at CycleCast, but other options include some of the basics like running, weight lifting, and calisthenics.
You do need to think about the fun factor too. It’s normal for a little boredom to creep into a regular routine, but choosing something like a guided cardio class that varies week to week can go a long way in keeping you engaged. Music can also make a big difference and sometimes ensuring that your workout stays fresh is as simple as finding a way to introduce new playlists of music you love on a regular basis.
You know your body best and should choose an activity that it can handle doing regularly. A little pain, or at least discomfort, is to be expected. After all, you know what they say about pain and gain. But if it hurts enough to keep you from doing it again the next time, you should reduce the intensity or try something different. If you’re someone who has struggled to meet fitness goals in the past, chances are high that you’ve had difficulty maintaining a routine that involves running or other high-impact activities. Low-impact activities, like cycling, are your friend when it comes to staying away from injury and keeping your fitness plan going.
Create a Realistic Exercise Routine and Stick to it
Getting and staying fit is not about building the most intense or impressive workout plan. It’s about building exercise into your everyday life. Your workout routine should be realistic and repeatable.
Having chosen a simple but fun activity that you can do yourself, you should be able to fit it into your schedule wherever you need to. If you can only carve out 20 minutes twice a week, start there. Literally any regular exercise is better than no exercise, so don’t be afraid to start small. Choose some times that you know work well for your life and pencil them in. Pretend that your workouts are important meetings and schedule around them. Believe it or not, exercise can be habit forming, so keeping your schedule could become easier over time.
Set Fitness Goals and Track Your Results
Setting attainable goals and keeping tabs on your progress is essential to staying motivated. Choose a weight, waistline, and/or body fat percentage that you think should be easy to hit. Don’t set it too high, the idea is that you’ll pretty much have to hit it if you keep up your routine. Once you’ve hit your mark it’s easy enough to set a new one. By setting and meeting successive small targets, you can create a positive feedback loop that will help sustain your routine.
It is essential that your goals and progress towards those goals are written down. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you’re setting out to achieve, you’ll never have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve achieved it!
Before starting your fitness plan, take some baseline measurements of your weight and waistline. If you want, you can also get some inexpensive body calipers to measure your body fat. Set some body measurement goals and take further measurements at regular intervals to see how you’re coming along. Also set some weekly workout targets, like a number of miles you’d like to run or bike, calories you’d like to burn, or average heartrate you’d like to maintain during your workouts. These goals will help you to set the pace of your routine.
The tools to help you in tracking and measuring your fitness results have never been better. Between Google Fit and Apple Health, every smartphone now comes with the ability to collect and track your fitness data. Logging your body measurements in your phone alongside your workout results can give you a full picture of your fitness journey all in one place. A bevy of fitness apps can automatically pull and push workout data to these central trackers too, allowing you to clearly see whether you’re meeting your workout targets. CycleCast, for example, can pull your heart rate data and baseline body measurements from Apple Health to provide more accurate workout results and can then push those workout results including miles biked and calories burned back to Apple Health for tracking.
If all of this tracking and measuring sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! In the end, it is just important that you set an achievable goal in writing and measure yourself against that goal. It can be as simple as taking your weight every week.
Need a bit of help getting started? At CycleCast, we believe that indoor cycling has a lot going for it when it comes to helping you maintain a repeatable workout routine. It’s fun and engaging, with upbeat music and motivational instructors to keep you moving and it’s low-impact and easy for beginners to get into. If you’re fortunate enough to have a schedule that lines up with a group indoor cycling class at a local gym or studio, you should check one out. If not, check out CycleCast, which offers 20, 45, and 60 minutes classes to fit your schedule. Classes are updated frequently to keep you engaged and are packed with current hit music. Don’t have a bike at home? Chances are your gym has a few stationary bikes lying around. You could also skip the gym membership and pick up an inexpensive one online for a couple hundred bucks; you might find that having a way to get a good workout at home makes all the difference in being able to fit it in.
This year, don’t let yourself start strong and fade away when it comes to your fitness resolutions. This time you have a plan: choose a simple activity that you can do regularly, create a routine that works for your schedule, set measurable goals, and get moving!