15 Must-Know Tips for How to Get in Shape in 2018
15 Must-Know Tips for How to Get in Shape in 2018
If we can quote Taylor Swift for a moment, New Year’s resolutions are kind of like a “nightmare dressed like a daydream.” That’s because we set them when enthusiasm, motivation, and excitement levels are at an all-time high. But after a few weeks of genuinely hard work, those goals that were once so clear and obvious become a bit less so. Life gets in the way, our motivation fades, and we shrug and move on. Until the next January, when (if you’re like, oh, most people) you make the same resolutions all over again.
First, don’t beat yourself up if this sounds familiar. Making lasting changes to your fitness and lifestyle habits is hard—sometimes, really hard. Any success, no matter how small, is worth celebrating. Getting in shape—whatever that means for you—takes time and consistency. Anyone who has made the journey will tell you that it wasn’t easy, and they had plenty of setbacks along the way. It’s important to make sure your goals are realistic for your body and your lifestyle, and that you’ve set realistic expectations about the effort involved and how long it’ll take you to achieve your goals. You can do this—but lifestyle changes take time.
If you want to make this the year that you really do stick to your New Year’s resolution, we’re here for you. In these tips, you’ll find a wide range of advice, from specific types of workouts to try, to the importance of good sleep and recovery, to actionable practical tips about how to set goals that are attainable and realistic and don’t sacrifice your physical or mental health.
More than anything, though, the most important advice we have to share with you is to focus on health and happiness first. Be good to your body, and treat yourself with respect. Be kind to yourself, and recognize how awesome you are, independent of your shape-up goals. That’s the best advice of all.
1. Focus on athletic gains, rather than aesthetic gains.
“Focus only on improving performance, strength, speed and consistency this year. Take the emphasis off the aesthetic results, and put it in becoming the best athlete you can become. Your body will change so much faster!” —Ashley Borden, Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer
2. Write this down: Resistance training, protein, and sprints.
“Promise to do resistance training three times per week even if you have to skip cardio to honor that—you’ll thank me next January. Promise to eat your protein first at lunch. And, promise to end your cardio sessions with three 15-second, all-out bursts with 30 seconds of rest in between.” —Gunnar Peterson, celebrity trainer
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
“As long as we are looking at others and comparing our lives to theirs, we are looking outward for answers and taking the focus off the work that needs to be done on the inside. Comparison can be a huge distraction from own internal work—when you spend too much time focusing on what others are doing, you end up cheating yourself.” —Louise Green, personal trainer and SELF’s Big Fit Girl columnist
4. Find a workout you love—you’ll be more likely to keep at it.
“When you find something you thoroughly enjoy, you’re more likely to commit to it. You are naturally more motivated and enthusiastic to complete the workout. It’s like how you’re more likely to schedule a hair or nail appointment rather than a dentist appointment.” —Michelle Goldberg, certified personal trainer
5. Don’t give up if you’re not seeing results.
“There are always going to be plateaus, peaks, and valleys with starting a new program. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like you’re not seeing immediate results while you adapt to those first few weeks of stress on the body.” —Jimmy Balmer, certified running coach
6. Think of strength training as your main dish and cardio as your side.
“The analogy I like to use is to think of strength training as the entree and cardio as the side dish … Sometimes people take that to mean I don’t like cardio, which isn’t true. That analogy works because thirty percent of a workout is still a chunk. The side dishes are important. If you just ate a slab of steak, that’s not a good dinner. The vegetables are important.” —Ben Bruno, Los Angeles-based strength expert
7. Grab a pen. Now write down what you want to get rid of—and burn it. Then write what you want to cultivate—and put it somewhere you can see every day.
“My family and I have a tradition that I love during New Year’s. We write one thing down we want to let go of and we burn that piece of paper in the fire. This year I wrote ‘hiding behind my computer screen’ because I want to focus on direct communication. On another piece of paper we write one thing down we want to cultivate for the year. This piece of paper lives on my bathroom vanity where I will see it each day. I like the idea of working towards something versus setting strict resolutions. On my vanity this year are two words: pure and chill. Pure to remind me to be honest with my intentions, and chill to remind me to cultivate a sense of calm in my life (and that includes not being stressed out if I fail to be pure!)” —Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3
8. Set goals that you know you can accomplish, even when life gets hard.
“The most important thing to consider when starting a new fitness regimen is that nothing rarely ever goes as planned. I see a lot of people go all in and set super high expectations for themselves, only to fall short and drop off because hey, that’s life! Embark on a fitness plan only as much commitment as you know you’ll be able to adhere to. When we can’t keep up with our routine, we often quit altogether.” —Neghar Fonooni, fitness and mindset coach
9. Make action-oriented resolutions, not open-ended ones.
“When it comes to sticking to your resolutions, research has shown that ‘action-oriented’ resolutions have a better chance of being upheld than ‘idea-oriented.’ For example, a resolution to lose weight is really only an idea with nothing actionable to do. However, sticking with that goal in mind, you could make the resolution action-oriented by saying ‘get up 30 minutes earlier every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and do a 20-minute workout at home before work.’ Now you have an actionable path on how to achieve your goal.” —Brett Hoebel, celebrity trainer and creator of “20 Minute Body”
10. Set goals that you genuinely care about, and not goals that you think you should care about.
“First and foremost, make sure your resolutions are attainable! For example, if I know there are no means for me to practice swimming, I shouldn’t set a resolution (i.e. do a triathlon) that requires those skills. Resolutions, like goals, should be SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic/relevant, time-bound). Secondly, and equally as important, is to make sure you actually care about the fitness resolutions you are setting. Don’t set them simply because someone else is setting it. Create goals that mean something to you.” —Chris and Heidi Powell, fitness trainers and hosts of ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss”
11. If you hate something, don’t do it.
“If your fitness routine isn’t making you happy, change it. If you hate doing something, don’t do it. There are a million ways to live an active lifestyle, so why not create one that thrills and fulfills you? I always tell my clients to approach movement with a grateful, open heart—in which case you’ll always feel invigorated by your fitness regimen and never depleted.” —Neghar Fonooni, fitness and mindset coach
12. Choose one very specific goal, instead of something big and generic.
“Try not to over promise. Most people put too many things down in one big list of resolutions (lose weight, cut out sugar and alcohol, exercise every day, etc.), and it is impossible to accomplish all of them [at once]. Try to choose one very specific goal. For example instead of ‘working out more,’ try something like ‘do three, 30-minute workouts per week.’ Make your resolution easy to stick to so that you can achieve it, and maybe exceed it.” —Anna Kaiser, celebrity trainer and founder of AKT InMotion
13. Always warm-up before a workout.
“Warming up turns your muscles on as if they were a light switch, putting you in the best position to have optimal performance during your workout.” —Michael Silverman, P.T., director of rehabilitation and wellness at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York
14. And learn to love foam-rolling, too, which helps relieve tightness.
“If you’re doing a highly repetitive movement such as running, especially if things aren’t in perfect balance, you’re typically overusing some muscles or they just get fatigued over time. And then you’re underusing some. The ones that get overused tend to get tight, and a tight muscle doesn’t function properly.” —Yusuf Jeffers, NASM-certified personal trainer
15. And above all, be good to yourself.
“Be patient. Be forgiving. Be grateful. You’re human!” —Annie Mulgrew, Program Director, CityRow
The Arena District Athletic Club is more than just a gym, it’s a premier fitness facility located in the heart of the Arena District in downtown Columbus. We provide convenience and quality, featuring top-of-the-line equipment, top-notch personal trainers, spa-like locker rooms and a wide variety of free group fitness classes daily including Cardio, Spinning, Barre Fusion, Yoga, Boot Camp and more. We offer free 2-hour parking and convenient contract-free memberships, to fit your healthy lifestyle needs. Don’t just join, belong