The Trick to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions is to Start Today

Most people probably haven’t even started to think about their New Year’s Resolutions.  This is the time of year when most people feel more like hibernating and eating Christmas cookies than planning their health and fitness goals for 2019.  For FitClub members, though, the best time to start working on your New Year’s resolutions is today.  Experts estimate that more than fifty percent of New Year’s resolutions fail.  The sooner you start, the more likely you are to keep that New Year’s resolution and achieve your 2019 goals.20182019_ASN4HOA_goals-610x405

  • If you’re New Year’s resolution is really important to you, you probably are excited to get started. Using that excitement to start early is the best way to begin building momentum that can help you stay on track.  Starting two weeks early also gives you time to determine if this New Year’s resolution is really the right fit for you.  If you plan to run a half marathon this year, but find out early that you hate running, you still have plenty of time to reassess if your resolution really reflects your personal goals.  You might discover before January 1stwhat is really important to you, instead of what’s important to everyone else.
  • Starting early lets you create and modify your plan accordingly. If you start working on your New Year’s resolutions today, you have more time to determine any additional needs you might have. If you plan to start lifting weights in 2019, but realize you have no idea where to begin, you can get a head start by consulting a personal trainer and be ready to go on January 1st. Do you need a support system or the right gear to achieve your goal?  This is the perfect time of year to ask for help or add items to your Christmas wish list.  Knowing what you need now will save you the frustration that might otherwise halt your resolution before you even begin.  Preparing now to handle the hurdles that might lie ahead is important to staying the course later.
  • Achieving your goals requires habit creation and the best time to start a habit is always right now. Too many people create New Year’s resolutions that require a complete overhaul of their lifestyles.  Instead, by starting early, you can begin to create habits that will lead to long-term, sustainable success.  You can start now by waking up earlier, moderating your meal portions, or scheduling a daily workout at FitClub.  The sooner you start small habits, the less daunting those habits become.  Small, daily habits create a healthy lifestyle and are far more effective than radical lifestyle changes that soon disappear.

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year?  Share your resolutions with your FitClub team and this year, we can all hold each other accountable and stay on track!

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Don’t Let the Winter Blues Keep You From a Healthy New Year

Winter’s long dark nights and short days can leave many people feeling depressed or just in the mood to hibernate.  “Seasonal affective disorder” is common and can leave you with less energy, sleepless nights, and a general sense of depression. The long, dark days can disrupt sleep cycles and alter the production of our body’s natural feel good hormone, serotonin.  Experiencing any symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can affect your intention to live a happier, healthier lifestyle, but there are ways to treat it and minimize its effect on you.  Fortunately, FitClub has four ways to beat the winter blues.one-hour-of-exercise-a-week-could-reduce-depression-1440x810

  • Exercise not only helps to halt the weight gain that commonly accompanies SAD, but it boosts your body’s natural endorphins, leaving you feeling better and helping you stay on a normal sleep schedule.  When the dark days leave you feeling lethargic, prioritizing your FitClub workout will boost your mood and energy levels.  To leave you feeling more energized all day, try waking up a bit earlier and scheduling a morning workout or a morning group exercise class at FitClub.
  • Find a way to enjoy it. We can’t keep winter from happening and we can’t make the sun shine more often than it does.  We can, though, find small ways to enjoy the winter months and lift our own spirits. Take advantage of what sunshine we do have this year by getting out as often as possible.  Even if it’s just a short drive in the sunshine on your lunch break to FitClub for a mid-day workout, you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and workout where it’s always warm, bright, and dry. Taking time to be active outdoors, even in short spurts, can also improve your mood and deliver your daily dose of Vitamin D from the short amount of sunshine.  Build a snowman with children or walk the dog to ensure you’re still getting enough fresh air, even when the air is cold!
  • Keep a regular schedule. The lack of regular daylight can make it hard to stay on your regular sleep and activity schedule, but it’s particularly important this time of year.  Maintaining your regular schedule will allow you to take advantage of light at “consistent and predictable times.”  In addition to your regular sleep schedule, eating and exercising at consistent times will help you avoid the desire to hibernate and continue to move towards your goals, despite the dark days and long nights.
  • Journal and meditate yourself to better mental health. Negative feelings are common with SAD.  Instead of allowing those negative feelings to linger, a journaling or meditation practice can allow you to clear your mind and gain perspective.  Building a meditation practice is a great New Year’s resolution that can benefit you throughout the year.  If you’re not sure where or how to start, FitClub has a meditation class designed for beginners and experienced meditators alike.  The sooner you begin, the more effective you’ll become at managing your mood and emotions throughout the winter season.

How do you overcome the lethargy this time of year?  Share your practices with your fellow FitClub members in the comments below.

Give Yourself the Gift of More Time This Holiday Season

If you find yourself wishing for more time at the end of each day, it’s time you give yourself the gift of more time this holiday season.  Rather than adding unnecessary items to your house, let your gift be the one that allows you more flexibility, more rest, and more enjoyment at the beginning or end of each day.  Finding time for ourselves isn’t impossible.  FitClub has four easy ways that you can create more time for yourself this holiday season.bulletproof-5-stretches-to-help-back-pain_to-reap-the-pain-relieving-rewards-make-stretching-a-regular-part-of-your-day-752x401

  • Create a morning routine based on self-care practices. What are the differences between your weekend morning routine and your weekday morning routine?  On the weekends, you might have time to read the newspaper or a favorite book while you linger over a cup of coffee and enjoy an actual breakfast. During the week, however, it might seem like mornings are just a race to school drop off and work without a moment to yourself.  Creating time for self-care in the mornings is crucial to your well-being.  Can you make lunches and lay out clothes the night before?  Can you wake up even just fifteen minutes earlier to allow for a morning meditation, light stretching, or journaling?  Sometimes we have to steal time to prioritize what makes us feel better.
  • Prioritize your workout. FitClub is the perfect place to indulge in personal time.  You can unplug from work, family obligations, and your phone and focus on what it takes to care for yourself.  During the busy holiday season, our own activities are often the first to go.  This year, make it a priority to fit in your workout at FitClub to recharge yourself before you attempt to gift your time to anyone or anything else.
  • Opt-out. How many of the plans on your calendar do you really want to do this holiday season? If there are places where you can say, “no”, opt-out guilt free this holiday season.  Saying “no” to the optional activities that don’t bring you joy can significantly free up your calendar, allowing you to spend more time engaged in the activities that you do enjoy.
  • Unplug from work and social media. How much of your personal time do you give away to the lure of social media, work emails, or mindless internet surfing?  Probably more than you’d care to admit.  Even though it only feels like a brief moment or two away from the task at hand, those moments add up.  Steal time away from these energy-draining activities and engage in a new hobby, a good book, or a great workout.  You might find that leaving your phone behind allows you far more free time than you thought you really had at the end of each day.

How do you create time for yourself during the holidays?  Share your advice with your fellow FitClub members this holiday season.

Mindsets That Let You Eliminate Food Guilt This Holiday Season

It’s the most magical time of the year! Decadent holiday desserts, heavy comfort food, family dinners, and cocktail hours with friends may have you worried that in just one month you’re going to completely undo all of the progress you’ve made at FitClub this year.  Before you panic and avoid your favorite holiday parties, FitClub has a few easy ways to change your mindset and enjoy the holiday foods at your next event.holiday-eating

  • Let go of the idea that food is either “good” or “bad”. Indulging in your holiday favorites once each year doesn’t make you a failure and it doesn’t completely undermine your training and progress.  Instead of making food the hero or the villain in your holiday tale, let food just be part of the experience.  To change your mindset, make sure your indulgences are really valued choices rather than just a plate full of chips or sugars you could have any other time of the year.  If you only have Grandma’s ginger cookies on Christmas, make sure you really enjoy that ginger cookie!
  • Maintain your workout. You may not have complete control over the food temptations you’ll face this holiday season, but you do have control over your workout.  By prioritizing your FitClub workout, you set yourself up for continued success long after the holiday trays have been put away.  A pre-party workout also helps to minimize your stress and alleviate the anxiety that often comes with holiday preparations. Even on those days that you feel overwhelmed with obligations, you can make it to FitClub early in the morning or over your lunch hour to ensure that you are making time to live your healthiest life.
  • Bring the healthy food with you. If you’re worried that you might eat so many sugar cookies on Christmas Eve that you undo all of your hard work, be the guest that brings a veggie tray, fruit bowl, or healthy entrée to share with family and friends.  While you can still indulge in your holiday favorites, by filling up on your healthy dish first, you’ll be better able to limit your indulgence and wake up feeling ready to hit your goals.
  • Focus more on what matters and less on the food. What matters most to you about celebrating the holidays?  Is it time spent with family and friends or engaging in a favorite holiday tradition?  Maybe it’s decorating or sweating over finding the perfect, obscure gift?  No matter what your favorite part of the holiday season might be, when you find yourself worried about the calorie count of your mom’s mashed potatoes, you know it’s time to flip your mindset and focus on what really matters about the season. Staying mindful of the people and traditions will help you let go of any residual anxiety about food choices or small, annual indulgences.

Anxiety related to food is common and you’re not alone. How do you prepare for the holiday season and its array of indulgent, traditional holiday foods?

Do You Need More Energy in Your Diet?

How often do you think about why you eat the foods you eat?  Each time you choose a meal or a snack, you’re giving your body something, either positive or negative.  During the cold, dark days of the holiday season, it can seem like what we need most is more energy. Following these tips will help you face this time of year and not feel energy depleted:mandarin-orange-spinach-salad-fi

  • Eat more plants. Certain plants, like spinach and other leafy greens, are rich in iron.  An iron deficiency can leave you feeling physically and mentally exhausted.  Pairing your plant-based meal options with a source of Vitamin Ccan help you better absorb the iron, resulting in feeling that energy more quickly. Add leafy spinach to your salads, smoothies, and eggs to boost your energy right away.
  • Strive for more balance in your diet. Too much of one food means you’re lacking the valuable benefits of another food group. Aim for a fruit or vegetable with a whole grain and lean protein at each meal to stay balanced and full.  Breakfast can be more of a habit than a meal for many people, but it’s essential to make balance the priority in your breakfast, too.  Breakfast cereals and sugary pastries can seem like an easy option for an early morning breakfast, but the high glycemic index causes your blood sugar to rise quickly and crash almost as quickly, leaving you energy depleted well before your lunch break.
  • Instead of opting for a sugary pastry or processed breakfast foods, aim for protein and fruit to start your day. Eggs and protein-rich, low sugar yogurt will jumpstart your day and leave you feeling full through the morning.
  • Skip the caffeine and energy drinks. The short energy boost you get from a cup of coffee or an energy drink is deceiving. You may have more energy in the short term, but if you’re chronically tired or feel that you have low energy, you need to get to the heart of the problem.  Skip your afternoon coffee-crunch and try adding more water and healthy foods to your afternoon routine for a longer-lasting energy source.
  • Drink more water. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. Before you reach for empty promises from packaged foods and drinks, try adding more water to your day.  Not only does water ward off dehydration-fatigue, it also helps the body prevent illness and keeps all of your major muscle groupsfunctioning properly. As a result, you will feel more energetic and perform better throughout the day, whether you’re exercising at FitClub or just striving for more productivity at work.
  • Stay away from energy zapping foods. Of course, no matter how many energy-boosting foods you eat, you can zap your energy with a few poor choices. Alcohol, processed meats, fast food and heavily fried foods can cause an energy crash.  Whenever possible, opt for real food and balanced meals to feel more yourself this time of year.

Outsmart Inertia and Get Moving

Inertia is nothing more than what you probably learned in high school.  A body at rest will stay at rest.  A body in motion will stay in motion.  This simple theory couldn’t be more obvious than in the cold, dark days ahead when our bodies are often inclined to spend a day indoors, lounging in front of the television.  If you find that this scientific phenomenon is happening to you more often than not, you need a strategy to break through the inertia and get your body and mind in motion.104140698-gettyimages-499514854-1910x1000

  • Take a real lunch break. Even if you feel as though you can’t take the time to step out of the office and get away from the computer, taking a real lunch break out of the office can reap dividends for your mental health and overall productivity.  If you’ve been sitting all day, making FitClub part of your lunch break routine can break through the workday inertia and leave you feeling more creative and inspired when it’s time to return to work.
  • Plan a workout you look forward to doing. If a feeling of inertia makes you want to crawl into your pajamas and lay around the house in the evenings, plan to attend an after-work group exercise class. Nothing is worse for your motivation than telling yourself you have to work out, but finding a class you want to do can help you change the narrative to something you can look forward to. FitClub has a huge variety of group exercise classes and it only takes a little experimentation to find the one you can’t wait to hit.
  • Be realistic. When inertia strikes, the idea of working out for an hour can seem overwhelming. Instead of making the task seem insurmountable before you even tie your shoes, promise yourself that you only have to start.  You have enough energy to tie your shoes and walk through the doors of FitClub, right? Once there, promise yourself you only have to do fifteen minutes of your favorite activity and then you can go home. Once you put your body in motion, you’ll most likely want to keep going and complete that workout.  It’s okay to trick yourself from time to time!
  • Use social media for good. Chances are, if you find yourself lounging too much this winter, you’re probably also spending an unhealthy amount of time on social media.  Instead of letting social media bog you down, use it to motivate yourself.  Use your favorite social media app to tell your friends and family that you’re on your way to FitClub.  Not only will you benefit from the public accountability that you just put out into the social media world, but you might inspire a few other friends to turn off the television and workout.  If after you post, you skip that workout, you’ll have a lot of explaining to do!

What tricks help you get moving when you’ve been at rest for a bit too long? Share them with your fellow FitClub members and lets all try to avoid the holiday inertia that happens to the best of us.

Ready for a Change? Your Body May Be, Even If Your Mind Isn’t

What gets bored first, your brain or your body? The answer may be different for each of us, but we all need variety and change to keep improving our fitness.  If you’ve been doing the same workout routine in the same order for more than a month, it’s probably time to mix it up and start seeing results—and a more interesting workout!group of men with dumbbells in gym

  • Why is change required for better fitness? If you’re a creature of habit, it may seem daunting to consider changing your weekly exercise routine, but our bodies have an incredible knack for adapting. Initially, it’s this skill of adaptation that helped you achieve your fitness goal or lose the first few pounds. It’s also why you may have stopped seeing results after doing the same thing for too long.  Exercise puts stress on your body and after practice with that same amount of stress for the same length of time, your body has adapted to handle that particular stress. If you want to increase your fitness or lose more weight, you have to change the amount or type of stress you’re putting on your muscles.
  • How much change do you need? The changes to your workout don’t have to be radical to make a huge impact.  Changing the intensity of your cardio routine, the amount of weight you’re lifting, or the length of time you commit to exercise each day may improve your fitness.  Adding a different group exercise class to your repertoire can help challenge your muscles and prevent mental burnout.  FitClub’s group exercise schedule makes it easy to try something new while challenging a new muscle group regularly.
  • How often do you need to mix it up? The challenge is to allow your body enough time to adapt to the new stress before you make any changes.  On average, this usually takes four to six weeks of consistent exercise.  Strive to change your workout routine regularly to continue to improve your fitness and achieve your weight loss goals.  This may force you to break out of your comfort zone and try something new, but that’s the point!  Your body is complex, with many different muscle groups all begging for your attention. Every time you try something new, you’re not only challenging your muscles, but your mind as well.

Change and balance are two very important parts of total health and wellness. Is there an area in your workout regimen that you think needs a little variety to allow you to continue to improve? Share your thoughts in the comment sections to help all of us learn from one another!