Now that another New Year is upon us, you may be formulating your fitness resolutions—deciding what you will do, be, and accomplish this upcoming year. And because losing weight and getting healthier are consistently at the top of the list for the most common fitness resolutions, it’s a pretty safe bet that those types of goals are on your list as well. Yet setting goals isn’t enough. It’s just as important to have a plan of attack laid out.
Do you know what your goals are? Have you had a chance to choose your new fitness plan?
If not, today is your lucky day because we have a step-by-step guide for you to help you get on track and stay on track this coming year.
What Are Your Fitness Resolution Goals?
Before you can go about implementing an appropriate fitness plan, you must, and I repeat, you must figure out your goals!
Why is this important?
First and foremost, it’s important to know where you’re going in terms of your fitness resolution. Imagine setting out on a journey with no destination in mind, much less a map or GPS to get you there. How would you know where to go, which direction to take, what to pack, or how long it would take to get there? How would you even know if and when you did get there?
Well, surprise, surprise: your fitness journey is no different! So, make a list of your goals and decide exactly what you want out of your fitness resolution before deciding on a plan.
What Kind of Plan Is Right for You?
Now that you have your goals in place and you know where you want to go, it’s time to find a suitable fitness plan to match your fitness resolution.
Before you get overwhelmed by the wide variety of fitness plans available to you, let’s look at things one aspect at a time to find what type of plan will be best for you.
- What is your main goal? Are you looking to lose body fat, are you focused on building muscle, are you interested in ramping up your cardiovascular fitness, or do you want to become more flexible or improve your balance or stamina?
- Find a plan that focuses on your main goal. It’s important that the plan you choose has the same main goal as you do. While it’s a great thought to want to burn off body fat and simultaneously build muscle, increase endurance, and become more flexible, the reality is that it will be better to have your primary focus on just one goal.
- Where will you be working out? Are you a gym rat, or are you more of a group class type? Maybe you haven’t been to the gym in a while, or fitness centers intimidate you. You may be short on time or don’t have a car. In any of these cases, you might be the perfect candidate for a home workout fitness plan.
- What is your level of fitness? Are you a beginner? If so, we’d highly suggest you look for a “beginner” fitness plan. If you have some experience in the weight room or in the world of fitness, then choose an appropriate plan based on your level of comfort with the difficulty of the exercises and your knowledge of performing the exercises.
- Do you have everything you need to get started? Does your new plan require a mountain bike or treadmill, an expensive club membership or boot-camp fees, a weight set or pullup bar, a yoga mat or Pilates equipment, a personal trainer or a workout partner? If you’re embarking on a home exercise program, do you have all the necessary equipment to be able to perform the exercises, or do you have a plan for some substitutions? Make sure you have what you need, so you can set yourself up for success.
- Is there a diet plan coupled with your fitness program? If you really want long-term and full-fledged success, it’s going to require that you provide your body with the nutrition it needs. Clearly, if your goal is weight loss, then ensure your diet plan is one that promotes fat loss. If improved health is your goal, find a diet plan you can sustain over the long haul that provides nutrient-dense foods. If your goal is building muscle mass, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking in enough calories to support that goal as well as plenty of protein, one of the most important building blocks of muscle.
Some bonus items to consider:
- Is there an app for this fitness plan?
- Does this plan motivate and inspire you? Is it something you think you’ll enjoy doing?
- Do you understand what’s involved in the plan and are you able to do it?
- Do you feel this plan will enable you to reach your fitness resolution?
- Does the time period work for you?
- Do you have the time for this workout and this diet?
- Will this plan fit into your schedule?
- Will the diet plan fit your lifestyle?
- Does your plan have the potential to help you reach your goals and reach them on time?
Tracking for Success
Having an app that you can easily access on your computer (good), tablet (better), or cell phone (best) can be invaluable. There are many apps to choose from, but here are a few of my favorites:
- My Fitness Pal—tracks food and exercise and has a great social support community
- My Plate—tracks food and exercise
- FitBit—tracks activity, sleep, your workouts, and more
- Strava—an app designed for running and cycling
- Sworkit—workouts and plans for busy people that’s suitable for all levels
A good app can help you track your diet and workouts as well as your progress. This is vital for staying on track and keeping your motivation levels high. However, it’s up to you to decide if you want your workouts tied to technology or if you prefer to have a small binder to keep track of your goals, your workouts, your nutrition plan, and your results. Never underestimate the power of good old pen and paper!
Social Support and Accountability
As you start your fitness journey and begin to make your fitness resolution come true, do you have the support you need to keep you on track when the going gets tough? Try joining some social groups online with others who share your fitness goals. Helping support each other is important and will be a benefit as you strive toward accomplishing your goals. Along those lines, I encourage you to join our free private Facebook VIP Community.
Plan, Do, Review, Revise
What’s next? Now that you have a plan in place—one that fits your lifestyle, level of fitness, your preferences, and abilities—it’s time to take action! Choose both where and when you’ll exercise, and put it into your calendar just as you do every other important appointment.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the most important thing is to get out and move. You might not have all the answers at first, but just start moving in the right direction. And, don’t be afraid to adjust things as you go along. That’s normal! Just like a plane must make constant adjustments as it traverses the country to arrive at its destination, so must you adjust as you go along to reach your goals.
With that in mind, you also don’t want to overdo it. The American Council on Exercise recommends starting slowly if you’re just beginning and then working your way toward an active lifestyle before jumping into full-fledged workouts, five or more times a week.
What’s the bottom line on achieving your fitness resolution? The most important thing is to pick a plan that you will actually do. It is the doing that is the most important factor in your reaching your goals.