I cannot pretend that this isn’t a lot like all the self-help websites and magazine articles that infest our body-conscious society today. However, I faithfully promise that you won’t have to buy my fitness videos, click various links “to read further” or sign up for intrusive email updates! The world of fitness is too big to swallow in one gulp, so this is just one course of action (and although probably the most effective and satisfying, it is hardly “new”).
Let’s face it. Many of the resolutions being developed behind closed doors are still being negotiated today, and might not be finalised until the 31st of January! Over half of you reading will have made a promise to yourself to be something better for the coming year. Of these “resolutions” (so called as many people resolutely forget about them after the first enthusiastic week), there will be many intentions to get a bikini body for the summer or lose the spare tyre accumulated through three months of solid, fresher-related drinking. Whatever the reason, January is the most popular time to get on the healthy bandwagon and start the journey to an Adonis-like physique. If you’ve told yourself that fitness is your priority for 2012, bear the following advice in mind!
If you’re serious about it, the gym is not necessarily the answer. Avoid purchasing three or six month memberships that are going at cheaper rates than usual. The old argument that “you will be certain to go if only to get your money’s worth” no longer works. Instead, it’s far too easy just to write off your membership fee as a loss, and promise yourself never to try the gym again. Being a regular user of my local gym, I am now used to seeing a massive rise in numbers just after the dawn of New Year. Hoards of enthusiastic fitness-converts, looking for a quick-pass to losing weight or putting on muscle, flood the facilities for two hours at a time. Remember that the gym only works for some people; don’t think that because you find the gym boring, that’s got to be the end of your healthy aspiration. Rigid training plans, whether within the confines of the gym, or outside in the fresh air, can lead to de-motivation. Try and mix it up, make it interesting for yourself; you need to want to push yourself, not view exercise as a chore.
Whenever considering something fitness or health-oriented, always try and find a training or fitness partner. Whether you are just aiming to do a few hours running a week or fully train for a marathon, the motivation when training with someone who has the same aims and is roughly the same fitness level as you is an immense boost. The chances are that if one of you is not feeling like doing the exercise one day, the other will. This “buddy buddy” partnership is a tried and tested system, and it certainly helps to have someone to talk to during the times when you just aren’t feeling in the mood.
Personally, I don’t approve of resolutions, especially to do with fitness. Unless specific objectives are sorted and deadlines by which they are to be completed are finalised, you are unlikely to continue past a month – and with the inevitable cold January weather, it’s too easy to put if off until it gets warmer. However, there is one almost sure-fire way to make sure you motivate yourself, get fit and do your bit for the world. Nowadays, there are countless marathons, half-marathons, sponsored swims, fun-runs, fitness challenges, bike rides etc. Find a friend who wants to get fit as well, and sign up for a fitness event a few months in advance. Something that won’t kill you, but that you’ll have to train for in order to successfully complete. Tell everyone you know, set the date in your mind … and start your training. Having your family and friends know that you intend to undertake a fitness challenge will motivate you to stay the course, and reach the required level to take part. The sense of achievement as you complete a fitness challenge is a pretty unbeatable feeling.
Well, you will have saved money by not slogging away in the gym, getting disheartened and losing the motivation to do any fitness at all. You will have completed a challenging physical event, and perhaps will have raised some money in the process. But above all, you will have got fitter, relatively cheaply, and you will be happier: regular exercise releases endorphins, which contribute to the pleasure senses in the brain! There are many other things to think about when getting fit, including, of course, the massive impact of healthy eating. However, even with the mountain of information available on different diets, just applying some simple common sense to eating habits works just as well, if not better. So, if you are looking to do something different for 2012 … take the plunge, sign up for a physical challenge with a friend or group, and get working on your fitness!