Each year we all make the same resolutions- to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. To spend more time at the gym. To eat better. To make better choices regarding our health, our finances, and our kids.
And most of the time those resolutions go right out the window by February 1st.
Experts say it only takes 3 weeks to form a new habit. So if you can take your New Year’s resolution that far, you should be able to hang onto it for the long haul. One of the most common resolutions is to be more active. It’s well-known that gyms fill up in January and start to dwindle down as the months carry on. But if you are able to find a routine and a workout that works for you and your family, you are more likely to hold onto it even as life gets in the way.
Below are some tips on how you can get yourself ready to embrace to new year-new you vibe and keep the streak going, along with a few military inspired exercises to get the juices flowing.
Muster and Step Off
One of the best ways to ensure that you keep yourself continually active as the year goes on is to start off on the right foot. Going into a brand new gym old turkey isn’t the way to do it. Here are some ways you can set yourself up for success:
- Make a List of Goals- What are your reasons for working out? To lose weight? Tone? Overall physical fitness? Trying to pinpoint what you want from your daily regime will not only give you a clear vision on your progress, but it will also help you figure out what types of workouts might be best for you.
- Set Your Expectations– Many people either set their expectations WAY too low coming into a brand new fitness regime. You will be surprised what your body can accomplish and how hard you can push it if you give it a go. But be realistic- you are going to be sore and it’s going to suck the first couple times. If you can push through those first few “I’ll just skip today” days, you’ll be good to go.
- Don’t Start Too Hard and Too Fast- The first two to three workouts you might push yourself to the limit, and that’s easy to do when you’re highly motivated. But doing that can give you burnout, thereby decreasing your motivation to continue long term. Start your workouts slow- 30 to 45 minutes of active work at a reasonable pace. Learn to love it instead of lust it.
- Do Your Research– Look online for some workouts that you might want to do while at the gym or at home so you aren’t wondering what the heck to do. Doing a simple Google Image search with terms like “HITT workout,” “arm workout,” “lower body workout,” or even “treadmill workout” will bring you thousands of step by step directions for a complete workout.
- Mix it Up– Try different kinds of workouts. HITT, weight lifting, strength training, group classes, running, spin, yoga- there are so many different ways to get active and stay fit. Find the things you enjoy doing- you are more likely to continue you if you find it fun! And once you find something you like, don’t feel like you have to stick with it. Try other things to keep your motivation up and your body in it’s best overall physical shape.
- Get started– The first day isn’t the hardest. Neither is the second, because on those days you are still motivated. It’s after the first week, when life starts catching up to you and your body is sore. Those are the days you need to push yourself to get out the door and to the gym, or lace up your shoes and hit the pavement.
- Take Pictures- This may seem odd, but before you even hit the gym take a few full body selfies. In about 4 weeks, wear those same clothes and take the same pictures. You will be amazed at how your body will have changed with consistent exercise, and sometimes that visual can be enough to keep us going.
- Make it a Priority- It’s easy to put off your fitness if you don’t make it a priority. There will always be a million excuses as to why you can’t get a workout in, but try to look at it the other way around- Instead of telling yourself you have to do XYZ and then you’ll workout, tell yourself you have to workout before XYZ can be accomplished. You will eventually find yourself easily working your daily schedule and routine around a workout.
TIP: If you workout in the morning, set out your workout clothes to put on first thing. If you workout during the day or in the evening, pack your stuff to take with you- seeing it will motivate you to get out there.
Get to Work
So you’ve got your goals. You’re motivated and ready to work. But now you aren’t sure exactly what to do. There are several different types of workouts you can do, and you have to find the one that best suits you- your physical abilities, any existing injuries, time constraints, ones you can do with the kids around, and most importantly- one you enjoy!
Our service members are a perfect example of keeping fit. It is a part of their job to maintain a certain level of physical fitness, so who better to look to than the men and women in uniform for some inspiration on a kick-butt workout? Below are some military inspired exercises that you can do at home or at the park with your kids with minimal equipment.
- High Knees
- Run in place, bringing your knees up as high as you can. Complete for 30 seconds with 10 second rest; repeat twice
- Ammo Can Press
- Since we don’t have direct access to full ammo cans, use a weighted dumbbell instead. Extend the dumbbell for a full extension and bring back to your chest with resistance. Repeat 15 times.
- Ammo Can Squat
- With the same dumbbell (or heavier weight if available since legs are a larger muscle!) hold it at chest height. Go down into a squat, using resistance as you come back up. Repeat 15 times.
- Jumping Jacks
- Complete for 30 seconds with 10 second rest; repeat twice
- Start standing up with your hand behind your head. Go down to your knees, one by one, and stand up again. Repeat 15 times.
- Superman Pushups
- Start in a full up pushup position. Go all the way down to your belly, lift your hands straight out and pull your legs up (like you’re flying like Superman). Push back up into a full pushup position. Repeat 15 times.
- Mountain Climbers
- Come in a plank position. Bring knees up one by one, as if you are running. Continue for 50 reps.
- Bicycle Crunches
- Lay on your back, and bring one knee up to your chest as you twist towards that knee with the opposite elbow. Repeat 40 times.
- Flutter Kicks
- Lay on your back with your legs straight and about 6 inches off the ground. With resistance, kick your legs up in down in a fast motion. Repeat 40 times.
Repeat this set 2 to 3 times for an effective and fun workout!
Incorporating a fitness regime into your daily routine can seem overwhelming, but if you make your workouts a priority they will soon become just a part of your schedule. Not only is working out good for your body, but it’s also good for your mind. The endorphins passed through your brain post-workout make you a happier person, and that’s something 2017 needs more. So don’t be a cliche! Get your body moving during this New Year, and keep it moving!