Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions, whether it’s to take up a new sport, order less take-out, or lose the extra Christmas weight after eating all those left-over turkey sandwiches.
Making the decision to be fitter and more active is difficult, especially when there are so many obstacles in your way. If you plan and work hard, you can overcome these obstacles and feel better mentally, and be healthier and more physically able.
Here are some top tips for getting in shape for the New Year:
Think about what you’re eating
Most people see food as being their worst enemy. They often have the mentality that everything healthy and good for you is boring, bland, or comes with a side of boiled, tasteless vegetables. But that isn’t the case! There are so many delicious and healthy recipes out there. You just have to look for them.
A lot of people get it wrong when it comes to portion sizes. Look at the recommended serving suggestions on any food packages and utilise things like measuring cups and other kitchen tools. If you cook too much, you don’t have to eat it right away and can save it for your next meal. Remember, portion control doesn’t mean that it’s okay to eat one big meal then skip the next one!
Try throwing some high quality organic foods into the mix. Organic fruits and vegetables are fresher, and contain less pesticides and other chemicals. The same goes for meat; the animals aren’t given antibiotics or growth hormones, and have improved welfare. Organic foods have more nutritional value and you can avoid those GMOs.
Rather than waiting until after the New Year to carry out your resolution of eating healthier or beginning a new fad diet, start early and forego Christmas dinner seconds and those extra mince pies with brandy cream.
Swap alcohol for water
Most people enjoy getting the bubbly and mulled wine out over the holidays. It is festive, after all.
What most people don’t think about is that alcohol is bad for your liver and other organs, is a depressant, and contains a lot of calories. According to Drinkaware, one pint of beer has the same number of calories as a slice of pizza.
And let’s not forget about those awful hangovers! If you do end up drinking too much a night out, make sure you re-hydrate the following day.
Water not only helps you get over your hangovers, but has a whole host of other benefits. Drinking water keeps your skin clear and moisturised, is the best way to stay hydrated, and improves your overall mood and health. So, try swapping that alcoholic drink for a glass of water.
Train smart and Stay motivated
Exercise can have both positive and negative effect. Try to make the most out of the time you dedicate to exercise by searching for a coach that can put together a personalised plan to keep you on track.
Staying motivated is also hard. Try thinking of exercising as a fun, playful activity rather than being a chore. If you set time aside each day to relax and unwind, why not set aside an hour or two to go to the gym or attend a group fitness class with like-minded people who have similar goals?
A great way to stay motivated is to find a sport you like and stick with it, soon it’ll become a part of your routine. Being active doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym and lift weights. Keeping your activities varied and trying out different disciplines is a great way to keep fit while staying entertained.
Try getting one of your friends to take up a sport with you for a bit of healthy competition. That way you’ll have someone to remind you to keep up the good work!
Have a good night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep will help you feel less stressed, more active, will improve your memory, and help you think clearly. Plenty of sleep also helps your immune system to fight off illnesses.
Make sure you get enough sleep before you exercise, though. Being sleepy can impair your abilities and wear out your nervous system, making you age quicker and you become more prone to injury.
Make sure you get some decent sleep by ditching tech (yes, that means your phone, tablet, and TV) at least an hour before you go to bed to give yourself time to wind down. If you feel the need to go to bed earlier, then do it! Your body knows when it needs rest.
Don’t let holidays or travel affect your exercise or diet
Try to exercise and eat well no matter where you go. Avoid stressing yourself out and use a holiday checklist before travelling. Benefit from window shopping by taking an extra-long walk. Go explore the sights and scenery. A lot of hotels have a gym, and if they don’t, they usually aren’t far from one. You can even move about and train in your hotel room and utilise IMA’s online courses while you’re away.
Eating healthy while you’re away isn’t that hard either. Don’t even look at the fast food restaurants. I know you want to enjoy your food and try the local cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you have to try one of everything on the menu. Like you would at home, think of portion control. You can eat all the delicious foods you want as long as it’s in moderation.