Staying motivated in the New Year

Ah, the New Year.  Time for a new outlook, a new you.  Each year everyone goes into the New Year with the greatest intentions.  “I’m going to eat better”.  “I’m going to lose weight”.  “I’m going to stick to an exercise regimen”.  And unfortunately, for many of us, within a few months we have either given up or lost our motivation to accomplish our New Year’s resolutions.

So how do you stay motivated?  “What can I do to actually achieve my goals in the New Year?”  Everyone is different, and everyone is motivated by different things and in different ways.  These are a few tips that help keep us motivated to eat FIT, live FIT, & be FIT.

No. 1 Make it Convenience

Find a gym/park that is convenient in terms of location. It should be a quick walk from where you sleep, work or study almost every day. This makes it a lot easier to develop a routine. The hardest part of working out is actually getting inside the gym. It becomes a lot less painful (and a lot harder to make excuses) if it’s a block away.

If you just can’t get motivated to get out of the house, invest in the basics for a quick at-home workout: an exercise mat and some free weights. Even if you do fewer crunches, lunges, and bicep curls at home, it’s better than skipping out on your workout altogether.

No. 2 Do What You Enjoy

Choose exercises/activities you enjoy doing. The enjoyment may come from trying to out-lift the guy next to you, joining a running club, trying a new exercise class, or doing a definition routine to see sculpted results.  No matter what, do something you enjoy.

No. 3 Make A Good Playlist

Whatever it is that turns you on or gets you up for a workout, do it.  Whether it be heavy metal when maxing out, hip-hop or dance when you’re running, or, if music’s not your thing, listen to a podcast or lecture.  There’s nothing worse than going through an hour-long workout in silence.

No. 4 Find A Gym Buddy

Having a friend to work out with makes you more apt to stick to your fitness plan. So do it.  It’s easier to hit the snooze button or skip a day when it’s just you, but much harder to leave someone at the gym or at the track.

No. 5 Keep A Record

Keep a log of your workouts. There are great apps for iPhone/iPod Touch that make it really easy for you to keep track of your workouts or runs.  You can also bring a weight-training journal to the gym if that’s more your style. Some people like to take pictures of themselves every month to visually keep track of how far you’ve come and what areas you want to focus on next.

No. 6 Set Goals

Small steps. Keep in mind that it’s easier to implement a behavior and lifestyle change by doing it one step at a time.  Set attainable goals that are realistic for your situation and body. Write down this goal in your workout log/journal, and once you’ve achieved it, write down your next goal. The goal doesn’t even have to be an organized race. Whatever it is, define it, write it down and revisit it daily.  Come in to Fit Blendz and we can help you with creating a plan and goals.

No. 7 Change Your Routine

Switch it up. After a certain period of doing the same workouts over and over again, your body will adapt to the routine and hit a plateau. Mix in low-intensity days with high-intensity ones. Look online or around the gym for new exercises to try. Most gyms offer group classes in everything from yoga, to spinning, to hip-hop.  Let us know what your goals are and Fit Blendz can help put a routine together for you.

No. 8 Schedule It In

Make time for it. Stop telling yourself that exercising is an option. It is a necessity that your body craves just like it does food, sleep and sex. Build in an hour each day to your body. If you convince yourself you’ll fit in a workout some time after that last meeting, once the kids go down for a nap or when your spouse arrives home on time, failure is certain. Use technology like daily e-mail reminders, workout journaling websites or iPhone applications to keep you on task.

Nutrition & Exercise

Eating Around Your Exercise Schedule

The food you consume before and after your workouts will determine your actual workout and growth following. It is known that food is a source of energy, and energy is definitely what you need to exercise. So it makes sense that you consume some fuel source prior to your workouts. The key to remember is that you do not want to go to the gym on a full stomach. A full stomach uses up blood to aid in the digestion process; blood which should be used in your muscles. Plan your pre-workout meal. Simple carbohydrates with a small amount of protein is recommended about 1 to 1.5 hours prior to training. Everyone has a different metabolism rate, so you will have to listen to your own body. During the workout phase, be sure to drink plenty of water, first to replenish the water lost during exercise and second to regulate the flow of blood throughout your body, especially to your muscle at work. Immediately following your workout supplement with five grams of creatine with five grams of glutamine. This combination will increase recovery and growth. Within a one-hour critical window following your workout, you need to consume protein as well as carbohydrates. The most reliable way to ensure your body gets these sources it with a protein shake. This will feed your muscles and restore your depleted energy.

Nutrition to Lose Weight
To get lean, you will have to lower your carbohydrate intake. This is very important after sunset; carbs consumed at night will not be used up and will be stored away as fat. Eat fish and plenty of fiber, follow a very low fat approach and consider supplementation. Fat burners are recommended to aid you in your progress.

Nutrition to Gain Weight
To gain mass your protein intake should be slightly higher than normal, to aid in the growth of new muscle tissue. You should be very concerned about reaching the protein requirement; in addition, you should also increase your caloric intake by approx. 10% for ‘2 weeks high, 1 week regular’ pattern.

Eat fish, increase sodium (salt) and use the supplementation of glutamine, BCAAs and creatine. A high-calorie meal replacement is also recommended.

Weight Loss and Gain Foods
Much of our fast-growing health and fitness community has concerns relating to what to eat; whether it be in terms of mass building or weight loss. It is very clear that any successful exercise programs consists of 50 percent diet and 50 percent training. Most people train to no results since they are lacking in their nutritional plan. As a general rule, mass building requires that you increase your carbs, and for weight loss that you increase your protein intake.

Below is a simple food guide which will lists the best carbohydrate and protein sources for the categories of mass building and weight loss. Use the guide as simply that.

Best Carbohydrate Sources for Weight Loss Goals

Yams, Potatoes, Beans, Vegetables, Brown or Wild Rice, Oat and Oat Bran

Best Protein Sources for Weight Loss Goals

Yams, Chicken Breast, Egg Whites, Tuna (in water), Fish (white), Turkey Breast

Best Carbohydrate Sources for Lean Muscle Gains

Best Pasta, Whole Grain Breads, Cream of Wheat, Oats, White Rice, Fruits

Best Protein Sources for Lean Muscle Gains

Steak (red meat), Turkey, Whole Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Protein Supplements

The Benefits of Exercise

During our lives, the more we demand from our bodies – our muscles, heart, bones and lungs – the stronger and more physically fit they all will become. It is key to remember that when we do not keep active with out bodies then they begin to deteriorate. The benefits of physical fitness are both physical as well as mental. Staying physically fit also protects you from disease. Another key aspect is wellness, and keeping all aspects of it balanced.

Physical Benefits of Fitness
• Increased life expectancy
• Increased resistance in fatigue
• Quicker recovery from illness and injury
• Increased lean body mass
• Decreased body fat
• Improved cardiac function
• Decreased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
• Control of blood pressure levels
• Improved regulation of blood clotting
• Strengthened tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles

Mental Health and Well-Being Benefits
• Improved quality of life
• Reduced symptoms of stress
• Improved appearance and self-image
• Tension relief
• Increased energy levels