Fitness goals and January 1 always seem to go hand in hand. There’s something about turning the page on the year that’s just passed and welcoming a new one with a fresh start that motivates people to change for the better. While losing weight and getting fit has always been a popular New Year’s resolution, the devil is in the details. Sticking to a resolution requires the same kind of dedication that one would give towards their job, in addition to sincerity and commitment.
And more importantly, a well-structured plan! Success never happens randomly. To be successful, you need a plan, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to fitness. You’ll be more successful if you know what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them. Whether the goals are outlined in detail or not, one is more likely to benefit with a proper plan in place. And without goals, you’re basically wandering through life like a person walking through the desert at midnight without a guiding light or a map! You’re lost, and have no idea which direction to go.
Succeeding in the gym – or with your weight loss or fitness goals – doesn’t come easy or with luck. Start taking charge of your journey by being crystal-clear about what your goals are. Do not get distracted, and if you fall, pick yourself up and charge forward. Set realistic goals for yourself and stay on track to reach them. We at You & I have outlined some great ways to stay on top of your fitness goals in 2018, and we also run down the top fitness trends to keep an eye out for in 2018. – Suneela
Know your long-term goals.
Goals, goals, goals! They’re so important to give you clarity. Think about the future and what you want to accomplish. Let’s say you want to lose 15 kilos over the next 18 months; write it down. Hold yourself responsible and accountable for reaching that goal. Putting it down on paper is like creating a promise to yourself that you’ll see every day. Put that paper on the refrigerator or a mirror – anywhere you look on a daily basis. This is a consistent reminder of the pact you made with yourself to reach your goal. No one but you needs to see this. But the sight of your goal staring at you in the face every day will motivate you beyond anything else.
Set short-term goals too!
Having a clear, long-term, goal-oriented game plan is great. But success requires detailing the steps and processes needed to help get you there. After all, getting a firm stomach or tight arms doesn’t just happen by itself. Break the whole process down into daily and everyday habits. Create monthly, weekly or even daily goals.
Make weight loss goals measurable.
To be sure you’re on the right path, it’s important to be able to measure your results. It’s easy with weight, because you can simply hop on the scale to gauge your progress, since numbers never lie! But the point here is that your goals must be measureable. Doing weekly or monthly weigh-ins ensures you stay on track with your short-term – and ultimately your long-term – goals. Alternatively, use a measuring tape to record inch loss to truly get down to the small details.
The benefit of having measurable goals is that you know whether something is working or not. If you see that you aren’t on track to meet a short-term goal, then you know you’ll need to make some adjustments to get back on course. It can be simple as re-examining your diet and making some minor changes, or maybe adding a bit more cardio to your regimen to burn more calories, or amping up the weight training to get more toned and taut.
Attainable goals are key to success.
Okay, so lots of us would love to have JLo’s derriere in an ideal world, or Jessica Alba’s abs, or Deepika Padukone’s legs. But is this realistic? No! Unrealistic goals set the stage for failure. You’ll quickly get frustrated, and ultimately you’ll be derailed from your long-term goal, since not seeing quick results can demotivate even the best of us. While it may initially seem like a good ideal to pursue, setting an aggressive long-term goal can be counter productive; you’ll have a better chance of success if you give yourself the time and leeway you need. You’re not going to get there overnight or even in a week, no matter how badly you want something. It takes patience and persistence, and that must be your approach.
Create a solid action plan.
Don’t let your dreams of getting fit remain a mere dream. Instead, create a consistent plan to achieve the desired results. The plan should fit into your daily schedule and allow you to work out a certain number of days a week for a given time period. Be specific about your training plans, detailing how many days and how much time you can commit to realistically. In terms of nutrition, educate yourself on tips and meal plans for fat loss, or consult a nutritionist for help. By recording your calories each day, you’ll know if you’re on track or not. While all this can seem rather daunting to a novice, with some discipline and commitment to this course you will know that keeping track of things is a great way to stay on top of your diet and overall health.
As in other areas of life, some fitness goals are more likely to be achieved than others. What makes all the difference is this one simple but big factor called intrinsic motivation. Is this something you are doing because of an insatiable fire within you that pushes you to do it, or are you doing it to satisfy others? If you’re working towards a goal that’s more important to others than it is for you, you’re far less likely to succeed. It’s that simple. That fire in your belly is important to really achieve anything in life, including your dream body. Don’t set goals if your personal interests and heart aren’t into it.
Have fun and be kind to yourself.
Ever notice that time flies by when you’re having fun, and that life is so much better when you’re kind and compassionate towards yourself? The process of achieving any worthwhile goal is a journey, and quite possibly a long one. If you drudge through every day feeling incredibly miserable because you despise what you have to do and you see no light at the end of the tunnel, you’re far less likely to succeed. Find activities you enjoy, and that will help you reach your short and long-term goals. For instance, if you are someone who enjoys running, make it more interesting by joining a running club. If you are someone who likes group classes, go to a group workout class instead of joining a gym. Identify what you like, and then give yourself what your body needs.
Fitness Trends for 2018
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to get amazing fitness results. It involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity exercise with short periods of recovery. HIIT is becoming a huge hit with many, from fitness freaks to gym newbies! The biggest pull of HIIT is its efficiency. Most workouts are done in 15-30 minutes, and can leave you feeling like you just conquered a mountain – fatigued, and sore to the core. HIIT’s cherry on top is the after burn, where your metabolism spikes for up to 36 hours post-workout, and you burn more calories doing absolutely nothing. Awesome, isn’t it?
Group exercise classes:
Group training is another popular fitness trend. As group fitness classes typically involve more than five students, they are much less intimidating for newbies than, say, personal training, and are way more creative and fun, too. They engage students in a fun and effective way, and involve one-to-one attention from the instructor. Exercising in a group also provides extra motivation.When you see someone else pushing their limits, you’re likely to do the same. That explains why Cross Fit and boot camps are so popular. Working out with like-minded people adds a sense of friendly competition, and makes you more committed.
Fitness smartwatches are all the rage now, and have also become quite the fashion statement. Those like the Samsung Gear Sport Smart watch, Apple Watch 3, and Fitbit Ionic Smart watch are equipped with a range of functions that track what you want to know about your workout, including duration, heart rate, calories burned, speed, distance and route. They also have features like automatic activity detection, step, swim, and sleep tracking, music player, smartphone notifications, and digital payment services. The fitness and tech-savvy crew absolutely love them.
Bodyweight training is increasingly popular as a type of workout. Essentially, any exercise that involves your body weight is part of bodyweight training. This includes squats, lunges, burpees and mountain climbers. These no-equipment workouts are in demand because they can be done anywhere, and require little space. So next time you’re travelling and there is no gym, there’s no excuse to skip a quick workout as long as you have your body!
Heart rate monitoring:
Using a heart rate monitor is one of the most accurate ways to gauge your workout intensity. Earlier, these monitors were mainly for athletes who needed to track their heart rate during and after training. But now all kinds of fitness enthusiasts are lapping them up. It’s one of the most effective ways to determine your aerobic fitness, gauge your heart health, and tell how hard you’re exercising.
While yoga has existed in India for the last 5,000 years, it keeps reinventing itself around the world. Yoga is a mind and body exercise that has loads of benefits. Even if you haven’t done yoga yourself, chances are you know someone who’s doing it. They probably swear by how yoga keeps them so calm, grounded and focused. It’s a workout that exercises not just the body, but also the mind. Meditation and breathing exercises are commonly introduced in yoga, with the purpose of slowing down one’s thoughts (and heart rate), while promoting mindfulness and gratitude. It’s mind-blowing how this age-old practice gets reinvented year after year: hatha yoga, power yoga, Iyengar yoga, yin yoga, yogalates (yoga and pilates), yogasthenics (yoga and calisthenics)… and the list of variations goes on!
Stretching is crucial to help you stay limber and injury-free. It improves posture and alignment, so you’ll walk taller. It also increases your range of motion so you can perform better in sports. When nimble and bendy, you can do so much more. Think of stretching as an investment for your future fitness pursuits.
Why should one not look fashionable while working out? Fashion and comfort can certainly go hand in hand, and this is where the athleisure market kicks in. The active wear market has boomed over the last few years, thanks to the surge in fitness trends. Fancy yoga pants, spinning capris, high-support sports bras, pretty tank tops… you can find them all in a click or two. These clothes have become so popular because of their style and comfort that people have started donning activewear for leisure activities, like shopping and café hopping, as well. Hence the term “athleisure”.
Sources: Worlwide Survey of Fitness Trends Journals; Women’s Health and Fitness Stats.