For the past few weeks, we’ve been laying around the house munching on sweets with our families by day and over-indulging with our friends by night—hey, it’s just that time of year. Now, it’s time to regain our collective focus. Many of us have made the resolution to get in shape—but as common as this goal is and as packed as gyms across America will be this January, come March, the lines for the treadmill will have dwindled. So, we reached out to Equinox personal trainer Vicky Udebiuwa for tips to make sure we stick to a new routine. She says the trick is to make S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals, plus forming a few other habits along the way.
1. Take it one day at a time. The most realistic way to get back on the exercise wagon is to focus on the day to day. “Many times people allow themselves to get overwhelmed and deterred by how distant their end goals seem to be,” explains Udebiuwa. “What is often forgotten is that results occur incrementally through consistent days of working toward a goal.”
2. Set realistic goals. A realistic workout resolution is one that makes sense for where you currently are with your fitness routine. If you haven’t been working out at all, having an objective of working out five days a week isn’t very realistic—at least not initially. Start out with two to three times a week.
3. Then, increase your goals. If you start out at two to three days, that does’t mean you should stay there. As your strength and stamina increases, add on a few days. Ideally you should end up working out three to five days a week if you want to see a significant difference.
4. Enjoy it. Experiment with different workouts—kettle balls, dance, pilates, spinning—until you come across one you love. Finding something you enjoy (or at least like more than others) is key when it comes to getting yourself go the gym.
5. Switch it up. To get the best weight loss andtoning results, alternate weight training and cardio workouts. If you plan to work out three days a week, do two days of weight training and one day of cardio. If you are working out five days a week, do three days of weight training and two days of cardio.
8. Find a buddy. You need to hold yourself accountable, but it helps to have someone else do it too. You’re less likely to flake on a friend and it’s more fun to have someone to chat with as you work up a sweat.
9. Hit the gym for an hour-plus. If you really want to see results, your workouts should be at least an hour.
10. The journey is the destination. “The most important thing to keep in mind is that the journey is the destination,” says Udebiuwa. “You never actually ‘arrive’ when it comes to getting into shape because it’s something that you have to maintain. Once you understand that, everything else gets a lot easier.”