Photo by ÇAĞIN KARGI on Unsplash

The New Year is here and you’re ready to commit to finally achieving that summer body of your dreams! That said, getting started can sometimes be the hardest part. Here are some strategies for kickstarting your fitness comeback, and sticking with it through the year.

1. Get a plan together.

Whether you’re wanting to pack on muscle or lose body fat, having a workout program to follow is key. You’ll be more committed to your workouts and more confident that you will see results if you have an outline to follow.

If you’re new to working out, start slow and steady with a 2-3 workouts per week to get your feet wet. Don’t stress over becoming an expert overnight. Just ensure that you increase your weights, reps, and/or sets as you continue to workout to guarantee progress!

NOTE: As with any new diet and exercise plan, as you get started it is key to consult experts: check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for what you have planned or to consult on strategies for building up to that level. If you have no experience, it may be necessary to consult a professional trainer and dietician, at least to help you learn and plan!

2. Shop the grocery store perimeter.

Instead of opting for pre-packaged and processed foods, focus on filling your cart with fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. Processed foods, although convenient, are packed with calories and do not truly fill you in the long term. Whole, minimally processed foods will keep you fuller, longer, with far less calories consumed.

If grocery shopping and cooking are out of the question, look into a healthy meal delivery companies, such as Eat Well Nashville. Services like Shipt, Amazon Prime Pantry, Kroger Delivery, etc., are life savers as well. Don’t let time be an excuse to not make healthy choices.

Daniel Buckley, Trainer

3. Familiarize yourself with the gym.

Go to the gym and ask for a tour from the front desk. If you have a program (tip #1), then you can have them point out the machines or equipment you’re going to use. This will eliminate some intimidation when you go for your first workout.

On that note, if you do have a little bit of ‘gymtimidation’, then I advise going to the gym during off hours for your first handful of workouts. Weekends and midday hours are usually fairly slow at most gyms, if you can get there during those times. This will ensure you aren’t under time pressure to use a certain piece of equipment—instead, you can take your time learning the correct way to perform the exercise.

Daniel Buckley, Trainer

4. Schedule your workouts.

Just like a business meeting or a birthday dinner, put your workouts on your calendar. If it’s on your calendar, you are significantly more likely to exercise than if you chose to wing it.

Tips for scheduling:

  • Ensure you allot an appropriate amount of time for your workout. I usually schedule my one hour workouts for two hours as it includes: commute, warming up, working out, cooling down, showering and eating.
  • Schedule your workout when you are at your prime. If you are a morning person, schedule your workout in the morning and vice versa. You’re trying to start a new fitness habit that isn’t necessarily the highlight of your day (yet); don’t make it harder by scheduling it when you aren’t at your best.

5. Prepare ahead of time.

Before you go to bed, ensure the following items are checked off of your list:

  • Gym Bag Prepared: Clothes, toiletries, headphones, post-workout shake, etc.
  • Lunch Planned / Prepared: Either pack your lunch to go or plan ahead where and what you will be eating for lunch.
  • Snacks Handy: Protein bars (look for ones with a small list of ingredients), fruits, veggies, nuts, Greek yogurt, etc., all make great on-the-go snacks.
  • Schedule Mapped Out: Spontaneity is great, but creating routines and habits ensures that you achieve your goals.

Daniel Buckley, Trainer

6. Dismiss the ‘all or nothing’ mentality.

Just because you ‘messed up’ and devoured some Five Points Pizza last night, that doesn’t mean that you should throw your entire week down the drain by skipping workouts and eating unhealthy. Instead, acknowledge your indulgence of garlic knots, and get back on track.

It’s ok to make mistakes.

It’s ok to miss a workout.

It’s ok to eat a bad meal.

Just know that if you stay consistent overall, the results will come. The key is to not quit completely!

7. Think long term.

Sure, you can achieve a fantastic summer body in 6 months, but don’t throw it away in the fall/winter to where you are stuck at ground zero again. Focus on developing long-lasting habits, like the ones outlined above, so you will keep exercising and eating healthy all year long.

Check out this sample workout Buckley presented to show that, even without equipment or gym access, those committed to their fitness goals can achieve success!

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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