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The Five Secrets to Keeping Your Fitness Resolution

Photo by Mike Derer/AP Photo

By Joe Flaherty

It’s the middle of February, about 40 short days since you made your New Year’s Resolution. Statistics show that if you made a resolution, there is over a 50% chance it involved a pledge to eat better and workout more often so that you can finally uncover a leaner, fitter you.

But these changes aren’t easy to stick to. Road blocks come up, leading to excuses and a failed commitment. According to FitnessNutrition.com, about 40% of “resolutioners” have already thrown in the towel on their fitness goals by this time of year.

So what are some things you can do to make your commitment less daunting? I spoke with Lance Hare, a Natural Competitive Bodybuilder and Content Moderator on supplementreviews.com, to get his best secrets about staying committed and reaching your fitness goals for the New Year and beyond.

Set Reasonable Goals

DO NOT expect to lose all of your excess weight within the first few weeks! Weight loss is not a sprint, but a very long, tedious marathon with a lot of learning along the way. “A pound lost per week is very reasonable,” said Hare. “If you aren’t seeing results in the first two weeks, you are doing something wrong.”

More rapid weight loss is welcome, but make sure it’s not due to unhealthy habits like purposely starving yourself.

Use Your Surroundings to Your Advantage

Some people fight their fitness battle one-on-one, but others benefit greatly from finding a partner. Hare explained that partners can help each other push through rough points, make things more competitive, and provide moral support. Another way to gain moral support is by publicizing your goals online and in person. He stated that friends can help hold you accountable, and can  “view or hear of your progress and give you a pat on the back, escalating your confidence.”

Hare is also an advocate for using technology to reach your goals. “I attribute over 50% of my success to information from forums, medical journals, and videos on the internet,” he said.

Technology can be used for more than just research. Popular smart-phone apps like My Food Diary (costing $9/month) and Fitness Builder (free with payable upgrades) can track your diet, workouts, and weight loss.

Don’t Follow Crazy Fad Diets

Many “resolutioners” don’t succeed because they follow the most “extreme” diet plan thinking it will yield the most extreme results. Many dieters will cut carbohydrates and dietary fats out of their diet almost completely. This will only make you malnourished and rob you of your sanity. A better approach would be to make progressive changes to your diet. “Switch to whole grains, up protein intake, and drink a half gallon of water a day minimum,” said Hare.

This is more manageable and leaves room for improvement. You should keep count of calories, fats, carbs, and protein to expose flaws in your diet. He also added that eating more fiber and drinking extra water with meals will leave you feeling more satisfied.

Go In with a Plan

Stepping into the gym for the first time is a challenge. You need motivation to get there, the knowledge to know how to use the equipment, and the mental toughness to not be intimidated. This is why you must prepare a plan in order to succeed. “So many ‘resolutioners’ come into my local gym and hit every weight machine and every piece of cardio equipment,” said Hare. “They burn themselves out, which blows a hole through their motivation.”

Don’t dive into the deep end right away. Instead, Hare advocates splitting up three 60-minute full body workouts and three 30-minute cardio sessions per week.  Do your research, acclimate yourself to the equipment, and track everything so you can slowly progress to advanced routines.

Reward Yourself

“Stress can throw people off a regimen and cause us to take steps backward,” said Hare.

To maximize progress, you must minimize stress. An exercise routine is a good coping tool itself, but you can also try taking walks or doing breathing exercises. By setting smaller goals along the way and rewarding yourself for reaching them you can stay relaxed and motivated. Another tactic Hare recommends is a scheduled “cheat meal”, one meal a week where you indulge your cravings. “Not only will this keep your mindset strapped down, but it can actually aid your progress by giving your metabolism a boost,” said Hare.

The Bottom Line: “Make fitness a life decision. That’s the only way to maintain this goal if you are serious about it.”

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.