Ten tips to fuel your New Year’s exercise resolutions
By Lya Wodraska
The Salt Lake Tribune
This is the time of year when gyms are flooded with folks sweating and grunting through their New Year’s resolutions to get more exercise.
Unfortunately, many drop their resolutions only a few weeks into their programs because they aren’t losing weight the way they should, don’t like the feeling of being tired and sore or suffer an injury related to the workouts.
With that in mind, here are my top 10 tips for anyone starting a new workout routine:
Tip 1 » Set a goal. Don’t just join a gym with the intent of working out. Make a plan and set a goal to keep you on track.
Tip 2 » Don’t use exercise as a reason to continue making poor food choices. Most people work out six or seven times max a week, but most people eat three to five times a day. Which area, then, makes the biggest impact on your overall health? You guessed it — it’s what food choices you make.
Tip 3 » Stay hydrated. Most people are chronically dehydrated. You should be drinking half your body weight of water in ounces a day, minimum. In other words, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should be drinking 50 ounces a day.
Tip 4 » Mix up your exercise program. One of the best ways to improve overall fitness is to have a variety of workouts to keep the body “guessing” and constantly having to adjust to challenges. If it gets too comfortable, you could get in a rut.
Tip 5 » Don’t overdo aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is great if your goal is to create a base level of fitness or if you are training for endurance. If your goal is to lose weight, you want to do more interval training than aerobic training. Remember, aerobic training makes your body more efficient in the working out/burning calories ratio. This is great for endurance athletes, but not so good for those trying to lose weight.
Tip 6 » Don’t overdo interval training. At the most, schedule two or three interval sessions a week. One of the biggest mistakes I see is people doing too many interval sessions without enough time in between to recover. As a result, people can’t push as hard, the body breaks down, injuries can happen and weight is gained because of the catabolic hormones released with interval training.
Tip 7 » Get plenty of rest. Remember that exercise, particularly intense exercise such as intervals or heavy weightlifting, breaks down muscle tissue. Your body has to have time to recover properly so you can get stronger. If you follow one intense workout with another, all you will succeed in doing is breaking down your body more. The rest periods are valuable to let your body heal and get stronger. Remember the saying, “Rest as hard as you work out.”
Tip 8 » Don’t skip post-workout meals. Intense sessions shut down your digestive system, which means you might not be hungry after a workout. It’s important to eat something healthy, with a good mix of protein and carbs, after working out. It doesn’t have to be a big meal, but you want to feed that fired-up metabolism. Another good saying: “Eat before your sweat dries.”
Tip 9 » Include strength training in your workouts. Don’t just go all cardio. Weightlifting routines are great to build overall strength and are a good way to keep the metabolism fired up.
Tip 10 » Include some posture-correcting and stretching exercises in your routines. If you are unfamiliar with these kinds of exercises, schedule a session with a knowledgeable trainer who can help you. A few posture-correcting or proper stretches can go a long way in keeping you healthy, preventing injuries and contributing to your overall well-being.