With 2017 on the horizon, many of us have already begun to think about New Year’s resolutions. By far, the most common resolution each year involves weight, health, or a bit of both. But as most New Year’s resolutions seem to fail due to lack of commitment, perhaps the best way to stay on top of yours this year is to read up a little about it and invest in some new gear – this way, you’re sure to hit the ground running. Here are five tips for anyone who wants to stay true to their fitness resolution in 2017…
1. Don’t rush in
There are quite a few injuries in January from people looking to make up for their excesses over Christmas and New Year. Also, we’re sometimes so optimistic and enthusiastic for the year ahead that we do everything with too much gusto. Whether you’re running, lifting weights, or playing some kind of sport, rushing in all guns blazing is the perfect way to injure yourself, and injuring yourself is the perfect way to slow things down or stop them all together.
If you’re lifting weights, spend the first two weeks experimenting with the free weights and machines, making note of what you can comfortably lift. This will warm up your muscles without damaging them too much and it’ll give you a good idea of your own strengths and weaknesses.
If you plan to start running, make sure to start small and build it up. If you’ve run before and remember what it was like when you were fit, then there’s always the danger that you’ll push yourself to catch up with your previous fitness level. Your cardio-vascular fitness will come back very quickly, but the muscles and tendons in your legs need much longer and can be severely damaged if you rush into it. Do it slowly – only raise your weekly mileage total by 10% above the previous week. Over time, this will allow your whole body to get fitter and stronger at the same pace.
2. Get the right eyewear
Image source: Red Hot Sunglasses
If you require prescription lenses for your eyesight, then investing in the right eyewear could be crucial to your success. Many people don’t want to damage their day-to-day glasses when they exercise, so they simply do without, but this is risky for different reasons depending on the type of exercise.
For runners, as the early months are right in the heart of winter, the ground can be slippery and treacherous at times. Wearing the right eyewear will let you see where you’re going and possibly avoid a patch of ice, or just a cold puddle that could put a dampener on your run. Specialist online retailers like Red Hot Sunglasses have great deals on prescription glasses that allow you to get the perfect pair of sports glasses and sunglasses without spending too much.
For weightlifters and bodybuilders, it is still necessary to wear prescription lenses, even if you’re not in danger of slipping on ice. Working with heavy equipment can be really dangerous if you aren’t careful, so seeing exactly what you’re doing is crucial for your safety and the safety of the other people working out around you.
3. Invest in a fitness tracker
When fitness trackers first came out, some of them weren’t very good and many people were justified in their scepticism. However, now that the technology has come on so far and the prices have come down so much, it’s definitely time to invest in a fitness tracker. The real benefit of the bands come from the regular diagnostics they offer about your fitness. You’ll be able to track your progress in terms of numbers and statistics, which helps you understand the extent of your gains. This is great for people who like to understand and quantify their improvement over time as it can help to drive you forwards, even when your dedication is waning.
Fitness bands are especially good for runners, as they measure heart rate, steps taken, distance made, and the better versions, such as Microsoft Band, Samsung Gear, and FITBIT, have a built-in GPS, so you can track your run in one of the big apps, like Strava, without needing to take your phone with you. You can read an article about the best fitness trackers on Tech Radar.
For weightlifters, a fitness tracker isn’t as useful, but it can be fun to observe your heartrate when you’re doing a big compound exercise, like a squat, or a deadlift. For bodybuilders, however, fitness trackers, and their accompanying apps, can be really useful, as they help you factor in your complete energy burn throughout the day – you can even input your food and it will automatically tally up your calories eaten vs calories burned. This can offer a lot of control for serious bodybuilders and for anyone serious about losing weight.
4. Make a fitness calendar
One great way to make sure you stick with your fitness or weight-lifting regime is to write out a fitness calendar. (It’s also a good way to get some use out of that 2017 puppy calendar you got for Christmas.) After a few weeks easing yourself into your workout or running routine, sit down with the calendar, and write in realistic goals for every week, fortnight, or month of the year. This will give you a greater sense of control and you’ll feel less like you’re just getting sweaty and sore for no reason. As long as the goals are realistic, you’ll be able to see ahead of time how you will improve throughout 2017. Taking the time to make a fitness calendar might give you that extra bit of enthusiasm to keep going after all the New Year cheer has run out in February and March.
For runners, look to add 10% to your week’s mileage for every week of the year and perhaps even do a little research and find a half marathon or two to do in August or September. Having these goals later in the year will help you stay focused, and if you make it through the cold and snow in January and February, then you’ll last the whole year!
For weightlifters and bodybuilders, you should write down what you’d like to lift or achieve each month across your different workouts, as this will give you something to achieve. Just by increasing your weights by small increments, you’ll achieve massive gains by the end of the year, and without risking injury.
5. Remember to enjoy it!
Perhaps telling you to enjoy yourself doesn’t seem like advice, but it is, and you should take the advice if you’re serious about sticking with your fitness regime in 2017. Most New Year’s resolutions gutter out in the first few weeks on January because they’re too extreme and people aren’t enjoying themselves. So, a great way to fight against this is to ensure that you enjoy yourself when you exercise – that way, it isn’t such a struggle to keep going. In a way, tips 1–4 will all help you enjoy yourself and avoid injury when you exercise. Have fun and stay safe. If you get these two things right, then you’re sure to meet your fitness goals in 2017!