(Blog post originally written by AdvoCare Renew)
A new year is the dawning of another opportunity to invest time and enjoying in developing the new YOU. Here are 18 tips to help you reach your fitness goals in 2018!
1) Drink more water.
Water is the most vital sources of energy and makes up 60 percent of your body weight. Proper hydration aids in keeping your joints lubricated and helps rids your body of waste. Try incorporating more water into your fit lifestyle by setting reminders throughout the day, drinking a glass of water prior to each meal and/or carrying a water bottle with you.
2) Downsize portions.
Opt for smaller plates when preparing your meals. Portion sizes are often one cause for consuming too many calories. When eating out, split a meal with a friend or ask for half of the entree to be placed in a to-go container.
3) Find an accountability partner.
Invite someone close to you, ideally a person with similar fitness goals. Having a friend or family member join you in your journey not only allows you to hold one another accountable, but also fosters a support system when you are feeling discouraged.
4) Create S.M.A.R.T. goals.
5) Make self-care a must.
Stress can wreak havoc on our health and potentially become a roadblock to achieving fitness goals. Take time to manage your stress by incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, getting a massage or reading a good book.
6) Don’t completely eliminate your favorite foods.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet does not mean you must eliminate all of your favorite treats. The key to eating a balanced diet is enjoying food in moderation.
7) Aim for progress, not perfection.
Achieving your fitness goals is not an overnight process. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is ideal for keeping weight off in the long run. Set small goals and celebrate each milestone!
8) View food as fuel (not a friend or a foe).
Each macronutrient has a vital role in keeping your body fueled for optimal performance; however using food as a coping mechanism for stress, sadness or even eating out of boredom can lead to an over consumption of calories. By the same token, viewing food as an enemy and practicing behaviors such as eliminating entire food groups, or eating at a severe calorie deficit can slow your progress.
9) Monitor your progress.
Continuously track your fitness journey by monitoring your weight or inches lost, taking photos of your progress along the way, etc. By doing this you will be aware of adjustments that can be made to help improve your efforts should you become stagnant or fall behind in your progress.
10) Get more sleep.
Inadequate sleep may negatively affect weight management efforts. Production of leptin, a hormone that transmits signals to the brain to regulate appetite is dependent on the amount of sleep we receive. The National Sleep Foundation recommends you receive 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
11) Eat breakfast.
Eating breakfast can help alleviate cravings throughout the day by supporting blood sugar levels, boosting brain health and supporting the body’s natural process of sustaining energy. Choose breakfast options that are high in protein and fiber like oatmeal and eggs.
12) Don’t be discouraged if you stumble.
During your fitness journey, there is a chance you will face a few challenges. Whether giving in to temptation by indulging in one too many treats, skipping a few workouts or even an injury, do not be discouraged! Learn from these slip-ups and look for ways to take alternative approaches to help avoid repeating the same mistakes. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress!
Stretching a few times a week, especially after a workout, can help improve your performance by supporting increased flexibility. Take at least 30 seconds per day to stretch each major muscle group. Avoid stretching prior to high intensity activities, as this practice may weaken the muscles.
14) Mix it up.
Incorporate a combination of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity with resistance exercises to support a comprehensive fitness routine. Aerobic exercise burns calories during your physical activity, however resistance exercises help build lean muscle mass, which can further support your metabolism.
15) Get a physical.
Obtain a physical this year to get a general understanding of your health and fitness level, especially if you have had a change in your health or have family history of disease. Preventive efforts can help mitigate problems before they arise.
16) Start slowly.
When starting a new fitness program ease your way back into your routine, especially after a prolonged break. In order to prevent injury and discouragement, take baby steps; set realistic goals, start at a lower intensity, and commit to 2-3 days per week.
17) Always warm up and recover.
Warming up and cooling down is vital for your workout routine to prevent injury and increase performance. Warming up increases body temperature and blood flow to muscles, which helps supply more oxygen to your muscles. Recovery can help your heart rate return to its resting rate gradually and help prevent a sudden drop in blood pressure.
18) Be confident.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” – Henry David Thoreau
What other tactics will you take to set yourself up to enjoy your best year yet in 2018?
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