Don’t let your fitness goals fizzle once the excitement of the new year has passed.
Ah, January! New year, new beginnings, new goals and … hordes of people at the gym? Urgh! Whether you let your fitness routine slip for the holidays or you’ve been saying ‘Next year I’ll start’ for the past four years, we all use the new year to get our fitness and healthy-eating goals back on track.
It’s a pretty handy starting time after all the indulgences of the festive season. But by two weeks in, the queues at the treadmill have halved and the motivation to stick to our resolutions is near non-existent. Don’t let that happen this time around with our tips to help you get back on your fitness journey.
1. Write down your goals
Why did you start your fitness journey, or why do you want to embark on a new one? Whether it’s to lose a few kilos, tone up, or simply reap the many health benefits of being active, make sure you have a solid purpose – a ‘why’ for doing what you’re doing. Write them down and mentally commit to them before you even step foot back in the gym.
2. Have a plan
‘A goal without a plan is just a dream.’ You’ve got your ‘why’, now you need your ‘how’. Roaming around the gym trying to figure out what to do next or sauntering aimlessly along the promenade will not help you reach your fitness goals.
If you want to be able to run 10 km, for example, start easy with shorter runs and build it up. Set small goals with deadlines for each – ‘Run 5 km by March’, ‘Run 7.5 km by the end of March’, and so on – steadily working your way up to your end goal.
Starting small with bite-sized goals will help keep you on track and stay motivated, making you much less likely to abandon your workout programme after just a month.
BONUS: Commit to an event
Road race, triathlon, cycle tour or obstacle course, whatever your poison, there’s an event for you – no matter your fitness level. Enter one scheduled for a few months’ time and train towards it. The motivation of having 1) paid for it, and 2) not wanting to fail miserably will be all the motivation you need to commit to the cause.
3. Track your workouts
Fitness trackers are a thing for good reason: Seeing your progress in black and white on your wrist or smartphone will confirm that all your efforts have not been for nothing – and will go a long way to inspire you to keep doing your thing! Shop the latest tech at totalsports.co.za and take your fitness to the next level this year.
4-week workout plan
The below combination of cardio, body-weight movements and strength training will work your whole body, pump up your metabolism and boost your heart rate for maximum fitness points, leaving you feeling renewed and energised, ready to take on the new year.
You’ll start easy in the first week, ramp it up in the second week, drop the intensity again in the third week (when your muscles and mind are begging for a break!), then hit it hard again to end the month with a bang.
Adjust the distances and reps based on how you feel – but remember to keep the intensity up for maximum benefit.
• Skipping rope
Week 1 & 3
Monday: 3 rounds: 10 reps each of burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, squats
Wednesday: 3 × 20 seconds each of high knees, butt kicks, jumping squats + 2 km jog
Friday: 3 rounds: 10 kettlebell swings, 10 goblet squats, 10 kettlebell deadlifts, 50 skips
Week 2 & 4
Monday: 4 rounds: 10 reps each of burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, squats
Tuesday: 3 × 20 sec each of high knees, butt kicks, jumping squats + 2 km jog
Wednesday: 30 min walk
Friday: 4 rounds: 10 kettlebell swings, 10 goblet squats, 10 kettlebell deadlifts, 50 skips
Saturday: 4 km run
The right rest
It’s been shown that active rest days are more beneficial than sitting on the couch all day after tough training days. Do low-intensity activities such as walking, jogging, swimming or yoga to loosen tight muscles and help you recover faster.
Progress not perfection
Keep your workouts body positive
• Don’t do it as punishment
Exercise keeps your mind and body healthy. It’s a good thing! it shouldn’t be seen as a chore or a punishment for something you ate. The more you work out, the better, healthier and more confident you’ll feel in your own skin. Plus, Girl, you’re going to need those extra calories to fuel your sweat sessions!
• Play to your strengths
Got a big booty? Excellent! You’ll be amazing at heavy squats. Thick legs? They’ll take you far on a bicycle. Long arms? Try swimming. Don’t exercise to shrink what is naturally yours – work with what you have and start to see them as assets rather than something to be ashamed of.
• Celebrate what your body can do
Measure yourself on your strength, speed and ability – not what your body looks like. Every shape and size is beautiful and able to do amazing things when you let it.
Originally published in Balanced Life January 2019 issue.