Dr. Phil Shares: 6 Must-Dos After Every Walking Workout

6 Must-Dos After Every Walking Workout

While walking is an excellent low to moderately intense workout that’s easy on the joints, you’ll still need to recover properly to improve fitness and avoid injuries. Here, seven steps to include in your post-walk recovery routine:

1

COOL DOWN

Whether you’ve gone for a long endurance walk or thrown in some intervals, it’s important to take time to let your body cool down before you head back inside. This allows you to slowly lower your heart rate and get rid of any lactic acid that could potentially cause soreness and a heavy feeling in your legs. A 10-minute walking cool down or completing a few yoga poses are great options post-workout.

2

REHYDRATE

One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of recovery is hydration. Even during low-to-moderate intensity workouts, the body loses fluid through sweat that needs to be replaced. If you don’t, recovery takes longer and your performance for your next workout will be negatively affected. In the hour that follows your walking workout, drink plenty of water. If you’re doing long distance training for a walking marathon or have completed a particularly intense workout in hot weather, an electrolyte replacement drink might also be needed. If you’re unsure exactly how much fluid you’ve lost during exercise, weighing yourself before and after workouts is one way you can gauge how much fluid you need to drink to rehydrate properly. You can also track your hydration with an app like MyFitnessPal.

3

REPLENISH YOUR ENERGY STORES

Consuming healthy, nutrient-rich food after a walk is a must to allow your muscle tissue to repair and get stronger. Skip processed, sugary foods and load up on leafy greens, lean protein like chicken, fish or even a post-workout protein shake.

4

STRETCH

Stretching as soon as your workout is finished and while your muscles are still warm can help reduce muscle soreness and improve your flexibility — both of which can help you improve your overall fitness and decrease your chances of injury. If you don’t have a ton of time to go through a series of stretches, concentrate on your weak spots. For example, if hamstring tightness is normally an issue, put most of your attention there. When you have the time, try this seated routine that targets many of the common sore spots for walkers.

5

REDUCE MUSCLE SORENESS

While nutrition and stretching are big pieces to this puzzle, there are other things you can do to help prevent soreness so you can feel better and work out more frequently:

  • Massage: This helps improve circulation and relax aching muscles.
  • Recovery tools: If you don’t have money or time for a professional massage, try recovery tools like foam rollers, lacrosse balls or a Theragun to loosen up sore spots.
  • IceTry taking an ice bath or simply icing any sore spots like your knees, lower back or shoulders post-walk.

6

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Setting goals and tracking your progress is an important part of the big picture. Instead of waiting and possibly forgetting about it all together, upload your workout info to your favorite fitness app shortly after you’ve finished your walk. This allows you to see the work you’ve put in and can provide a mental boost when you realize how much you’re progressing.

by Marc Lindsay

Shared By Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 3 Common Walking Myths, Busted

3 Common Walking Myths, Busted

When it comes to exercise, walking doesn’t always get the respect it deserves — and it’s time that changed. Before buying into the idea that walking isn’t a worthwhile workout, learn the truth behind these three common walking myths.

There is a great feeling of accomplishment when your fitness tracker buzzes to signal you hit 10,000 steps. But Carol Ewing Garber, PhD, professor of movement sciences at Columbia University, believes it might be an arbitrary target.

Yes, there are studies that show walking 10,000 steps per day is associated with lower blood pressure and improved glucose tolerance but the idea of walking the equivalent of five miles per day could feel overwhelming to new exercisers.

“[Walking 10,000 steps] will result in health benefits,” Garber says. “But it should be noted that … there is benefit even with small amounts of walking and the benefits increase with the more steps you walk each day.”

Garber suggests aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week instead of setting a step count goal.

If you want to count steps, consider this: Walking an additional 2,000 steps per day — even if your current step count is minimal — helps lower body mass index and boost insulin sensitivity, according to research published in the journal BMJ.

Leslie Sansone, fitness expert and creator of Walk at Home Workouts is adamant: “Walking works for weight loss!”

A slow stroll around the block isn’t going to move the needle on the scale (although it does burn more calories than binge watching legal dramas). To lose weight with a walking workout, Sansone suggests high-intensity interval training or HIIT.

Picking up the pace — without breaking into a run — at regular intervals during your walk has a major impact on weight loss.

In one small study, researchers at the University of Virginia found that overweight women who logged three 30-minute, high-intensity walks and two moderately-paced walks per week for 12 weeks lost six times more belly fat than women who went for a slow stroll five days per week. A second study found that varying speed burned up to 20 percent more calories than maintaining the same pace.



Incorporating HIIT into your walking workout is simple, according to Sansone. After a 5-minute warmup walk at a slow pace, walk at a brisk pace for 30 seconds and then a regular pace for 4 minutes. Repeat the interval four times. End with a 5-minute cooldown walk.  

“Walkers have so many choices to get fit and stay fit for life,” Sansone says.

Walking can be a “gateway exercise” that helps new exercisers improve their cardiovascular fitness and stamina to transition to running but not all walkers want to run — and that’s OK.

“Walking is a good exercise for everyone,” Garber says.

study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology found rates of hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes were lower for regular walkers than runners.

While a walk around the block is a good start, maximizing the benefits of a walking workout requires logging sufficient time in your sneakers. Garber suggests focusing on distance, duration or calorie expenditure (all viewable on your fitness tracker) noting that it’s the amount of exercise that counts — for both walkers and runners.

“If you start fitness walking today, you will instantly feel better and know you’re doing something good for your body, mind and soul,” Sansone says.

by Jodi Helmer

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: What You Need to Know About Going to a Chiropractor

What You Need to Know About Going to a Chiropractor

The chiropractor. A lot of people swear by chiropractic treatments as the only way they get relief from back pain, neck pain, headaches, and a host of joint problems. Others aren’t so sure about this holistic wellness discipline. Regardless of what camp you’re in, allow us to demystify this type of care for you.

Chiropractors Train as Long as MDs Do

That’s right, a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) studies for four years of undergraduate and four years of chiropractic school, using similar books that MDs use for study, says Scott Bautch, DC, president of the council on occupational health for the American Chiropractic Association. Chiropractors must also pass a licensure test and take continuing education courses to stay abreast of the latest trends in their field and maintain their credentials.

Chiropractors Can Help with Overall Wellness

People mostly see chiropractors for pain relief, but it’s becoming more popular to see a chiropractor for general wellness. “Chiropractors are increasingly becoming overall wellness advisors — advising patients about their eating , exercise, and sleeping habits,” Bautch says. Since chiropractors focus on the health of the nervous system, particularly the spinal cord, they are treating the entire body. Therefore, they are addressing both acute injuries (such as low back pain), as well as general, chronic issues (such as fatigue).

The First Appointment Will be Really Thorough

Chiropractors use comprehensive intake screenings to learn not just about what ails you, but also to get a complete picture of your overall health (hence the “holistic” descriptor). This will include health history questionnaires as well as functional and neurological assessments to see how your body moves, how well you can balance, etc. The doctor may also take x-rays. Finally, there will be a discussion about cost and course of treatment.

This thorough first appointment was experienced by New York City resident Karl Burns. In a tennis game, Burns swung his racket too forcefully and injured his low back. He was referred to chiropractor Cory Gold, DC. “At first, I thought, ‘I’ve never been injured before, I don’t need a voodoo doctor,’” says Burns. “But Dr. Gold and I immediately gelled. After many tests and questions, he told me, ‘Your treatment plan will be three times a week for a couple weeks, then two times a week for a couple weeks, then once a week — this is not a lifetime injury.’”

You’ll Likely Be a Regular, Initially

In most cases, people see chiropractors for acute injuries (like throwing your back out) or chronic conditions (like headaches), so it may take a few of weeks of multiple visits to stabilize the problem. After a few weeks of multiple treatments per week, treatment tapers gradually to once per week, then once per month for maintenance, until the spine is able to stay in alignment without the chiropractor’s adjustments. The course of treatment and length of time until stabilization vary from person to person.

That said, visits are often quite short — an average of 15 to 20 minutes — of hands-on manipulation. “Chiropractors aren’t trying to fight an internal battle against infection the way medical doctors are,” says Burns. “The treatment consists of much smaller movements and adjustments to your body and alignment of the spine.” Burns points out that he experienced pretty significant pain relief from the get-go. “Every time I walked out of there, I felt amazing,” he says. “The benefits are instant and can be perceived better [than with conventional doctors].”

You Won’t Be a Patient Forever

There’s a general belief that chiropractors want to make you reliant on them, but Bautch and Burns believe otherwise. “There are three phase of care,” Bautch says. “Acute — let’s get you functional; corrective — let’s adjust you so that it doesn’t happen again or as frequently; and then maintenance — maybe down to once a month.” Indeed, this is what Burns experienced — but he also learned the hard way the importance of self-maintenance. “Chiropractors take the approach of ‘let me teach you how to fish,’ not ‘let me just give you the fish,’” says Burns. He, like most patients, was given exercises to compliment and maintain his recovery — and he only ran into trouble again once he stopped doing them. “If I skip my exercises, sure enough, my lower back gets tight,” Burns says.

BY: Amy Roberts

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr Phil Shares: The Best Exercises You Can’t Do Wrong

The Best Exercises You Can’t Do Wrong

No matter what exercise you do, it’s important to use great technique at all times. Period. You might be able to get away with sloppy form for a little bit, but eventually, it’ll catch up with you. That’s why it’s so valuable to have someone by your side, making sure you’re in the correct position and using the correct muscles.

But if don’t have the luxury of hiring a personal trainer, consider doing exercises that are difficult to do incorrectly. It’s not that these movements are easy — it’s just that they force you to use proper technique, otherwise you can’t do them at all.

Welcome to the world of “self-limiting exercises.”

HOW SELF-LIMITING EXERCISES WORK

Most exercises require you to use strength and power to move weight. Self-limiting exercises, however, focus on correct posture, muscular activation, movement, balance and coordination — the moment you do things incorrectly, you won’t be able to do the exercise.

Suddenly, it takes your strength out of the equation. You can’t muscle your way through an exercise or even cheat; instead, these movements challenge you in different ways and force you to do things correctly.

For example, you might bench 250 pounds, but if you struggle to balance on one knee or one leg, you’ll struggle to move weights in that position.

By using self-limiting exercises, you’ll develop better coordination, balance and total-body muscular control, which helps you build a stronger and more powerful body.

5 SELF-LIMITING EXERCISES TO ADD TO YOUR ROUTINE

SINGLE-ARM, BOTTOMS-UP KETTLEBELL PRESS

By holding a kettlebell “bottoms-up” (with the large part above the handle), it instantly turns an exercise into a self-limiting exercise. That’s because, to keep the kettlebell balanced, your entire body — posture, core, etc. — needs to work in sync, otherwise the kettlebell will fall. (Even if you tried to squeeze the handle as hard as you could, it will still fall if you’re not balanced.)

By doing a press while balancing a kettlebell, you’ll build shoulder strength while targeting your stabilizing muscles.

The move: Stand and hold a kettlebell in the bottoms-up position by your shoulder. Press the kettlebell up without it falling, squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs throughout. Don’t think about pushing the kettlebell away from you; think about driving yourself into the ground.

SINGLE-ARM FARMER’S CARRIES

Farmer’s carries are a simple way to build a strong core and develop endurance. Once your grip gets tired or your posture breaks down, you won’t be able to go any further. (How’s that for self-limiting?

The move: Grab heavy dumbbells or kettlebells, stand tall with your chest up and shoulders back and walk. Try using just one arm for extra core work or varying your grip. For example, wrap a towel around each dumbbell and hold the towels instead of the handles.

SKATER SQUATS

Want to build strong legs and great lower-body stability and balance without worrying about hurting yourself? Skater squats are a great addition to your workout routine. Just go down and come back up. If you lose your balance, you’ll naturally stop; if you lack the strength, you’ll be stuck at the bottom.

The move: Start from standing and bend one foot behind you. Then, squat down while trying to touch your bent knee onto the ground behind you. Lean your torso and reach your arms forward as you descend. If you can’t reach the ground with your knee, that’s fine — just go as low as you can.

SINGLE-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS

The single-leg Romanian deadlift is one of the best exercises to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and hip stabilizers. Even better, it encourages great technique, balance, coordination and muscle activation. To perform the exercise, you’ll have to do everything correctly — if something breaks down, you’ll automatically stop and put down your weights.

The move: Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand. With your right leg, reach back as far as you can while sitting into your left hip. Keep your shoulders pulled back and imagine crushing your right armpit. Go down as far as you can while maintaining the natural arch in your lower back. Perform all your reps and switch sides.

HALF-KNEELING KETTLEBELL HALO

This is one of the best core exercises you’re (probably) not doing. First, halos hammer your core from many different angles while keeping your body neutral. Second, by getting on just one knee and reducing your “base of support,” it puts all the emphasis on your core, posture and balance — you simply cannot cheat this exercise.

The move: Get on one knee while keeping your feet in-line and hold one kettlebell in both hands with the large part over your hands. Keep your lower back neutral and make big circles around your head with the kettlebell. Do all your reps one way and then switch directions. Then, switch knees.

by Anthony J. Yeung

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

http://www.forwardhealth.ca

Dr. Phil Shares: 10 Reasons Why Weight Lifting Is Great for Women

10 Reasons Why Weight Lifting Is Great for Women

10 Benefits of Strength Training for Women

When you’re weight training, you shouldn’t rely exclusively on the scale to gauge your progress. You can use a body fat tester or a tape measure to track how many inches you’re losing.

The size of your body will shrink as you shed fat and build muscle, but your weight may not change as dramatically as you expect. Besides, what’s more important, the number on the scale or how you look in selfies?

If you’re still not convinced that you need to lift weights, here are 10 reasons you should reconsider.

1. Burn More Fat

Researchers at Tufts University found that when overweight women lifted heavy weights twice a week, they lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat and gained 1.4 pounds of muscle.

The control group, women who dieted but didn’t lift weights, lost only 9.2 pounds of fat and gained no muscle.

When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours after working out. During regular cardio exercise, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.

2. Change Your Body Shape

You may think your genes determine how you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”

So, no, you won’t bulk up — women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do. If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.

3. Boost Your Metabolism

The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss.

Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.

4. Get Stronger and More Confident

Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

5. Build Strong Bones

It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.

Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.

6. Improve Mood

You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help improve mood; weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.

7. Improve Sports Fitness

You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing… whatever sport you enjoy.

8. Reduce Injuries 

Weightlifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life.

It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis. A study conducted at the University of Wales in Bangor, United Kingdom, found that mildly disabled participants who lifted weights for 12 weeks increased the frequency and intensity at which they could work, with less pain and increased range of movement.

9. Get Heart Healthy

More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping.

Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.

10. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood.

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 9 Tips For Fitness Success in 2017

Follow These 9 Tips to See Success on Your Fitness Journey

It’s January! Time to dust off those sneakers and dive in to that fitness routine so you can ditch those holiday pounds and get down to your goal weight.

Whether you’re following a routine for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) or just refocusing your efforts in the New Year, here are some of my favorite tips on what to keep in mind as you get started. These tips will help you stick with it when you’re feeling grumpy or tired or frustrated or hungry.

Do: Before you start, log your weight, your measurements, and take your photos.
Don’t: Freak out over what you see.
No one likes his or her Day 1 photos or measurements. But, by capturing all of the basic information (how much you weigh, how big your waist is, what you look like shirtless or in a bikini), you’ll establish a starting place. Then, when you take down all this information again (we usually recommend taking them every 30 days, unless you’re doing the 21 Day Fix), you’ll see how much you’ve changed. “I can’t tell you how many times one of our Success Stories has told me that their ‘before’ picture on the fridge saved them at some point along the way,” says Steve Edwards, Beachbody’s VP of Fitness & Nutrition.

Do: Weigh yourself once a week
Don’t: Weigh yourself every day
Full disclosure – I break this rule. I weigh myself every morning just after I wake up. I don’t recommend it, but helps me stay on track. Your weight can fluctuate every day based on how much sodium you consumed the day before, how much you sweated during your workout, whether you went to the bathroom, what time of the month it is, etc. If you’re the type who could get discouraged from seeing your weight go up a pound or two (or more) in 24 hours, then I recommend weighing in approximately the same time each week. It’ll give you a better overall sense of the trend your weight is heading in. Just keep in mind you might gain a few pounds during the first few weeks of beginning a program. We explain why – and when you should see the numbers drop – here.

Do: Eat for the body you want – not the one you have
Don’t: Cut out all of your favorite foods
If you really want to be miserable and set yourself up for failure, cut out everything you like to eat. If your diet is really bad, a lot of stuff you like might have to go. Soda, fried food, super sugary coffee drinks…Think of this new journey as a boot camp. You’re training for the body you’ve always wanted. So feed that body with the food it needs. Lean proteins, complex carbs, and lots of nutrient-packed vegetables. We have tons of healthy recipes on this blog that will fit your new lifestyle. We even have healthier version of some of your favorite foods, including pizza, fries, and burgers. Think about your diet as an 80/20 split. 80% of the time, eat “clean.” The other 20% of the time, don’t stress about it. If you really want that beer or that cookie, have it. One cookie or one beer, isn’t going to be your downfall. Here’s an easy-to-follow article on how to change your diet over 8 weeks, cheat meals included.

Do: Plan your meals and organize your kitchen
Don’t: Wait until the day of to figure it out.
By planning your meals, like one of our social media ambassadors, Amanda Meixner (@meowmeix) does every week, you make it easier to eat healthier because you don’t have to think about it every day. You just grab your breakfast and/or your lunch and go. We’re going to start posting her meal plan photos each Monday to keep you inspired.

Do: Push through the soreness
Don’t: Push yourself to the point of injury
Whenever I start a new fitness program, I assume I’m going to be sore for the first two weeks. Even if the soreness doesn’t last that long, it helps my mind get in the right zone. “Soreness is a right of passage, but it’s still difficult to deal with,” says Edwards. “Don’t go 100% on day one, and ramp things up each day based on how you feel. If you do get sore, back off but don’t stop. Doing a workout at 50% is a lot better than nothing. It will also help your soreness fade quicker.” Here are some great tips on how to avoid soreness.

Do: Expect to be a little hungry and maybe a little grumpy in the beginning.
Don’t: Fall back into old bad habits.
No matter what change you’re making – whether it’s a new fitness routine or a cross-country move – there are bound to be growing pains. Change is uncomfortable. Prepare to feel a little out of sorts – you might be hungry, you might feel sore, you might be a little grumpy in response – and it’s more likely you’ll have an easier transition into your new lifestyle. “Soreness and hunger go hand in hand”, says Edwards. “When you’re sore you’re broken down and that incites hunger to repair your body. They’ll subside together. To speed things up, consider targeted nutrition or supplementation. The right food and the right time will minimize your desire to over eat.”

Do: Follow your workout calendar
Don’t: Don’t wait until Monday to start again if you miss a workout.
If you missed a workout because of sickness or travel or you just didn’t feel like doing it, don’t worry. Just get back to it. Not sure where to pick back up? This article will tell you.

Do: Get back on program if you fall off.
Don’t: Don’t beat yourself up, feel like you’ve failed, or wait until the next day/week/month to start over.
No one is perfect. Not me, not you, and not our trainers. Everyone has an unhealthy meal sometimes or misses a workout. Don’t let that define your day, your week, or your month. Justget right back on track. You’re on a journey and along the way, there are going to be a few misses. If you pick yourself right back up and keep going, you’ll get there.

Do: Share what you’re doing and find people who will keep you accountable
Don’t: Listen to the haters.
If you share what you’re doing with those around you, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll succeed because you’re creating a social support system that you’re accountable to. There might be people who pooh-pooh your journey, but ignore them. They have their reasons for doing so (usually the reasons stem from jealousy or fear), so just stay positive and reach out to your support system when you need help. We’re here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Here’s where to get even more support during your journey.
• If you have questions for our fitness and nutrition experts, post them here in the expert forums, and they’ll answer them.
• If you need more peer support, Beachbody’s social channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Team Beachbody message boards are great places to start.
• If you have a general question you’d like to see answered in our blog, email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.
•If you need a little extra motivation that day, tag me in your photo on Instagram (I’m @r_swanner).

Good luck and I can’t wait to see your after photos!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks for sharing Beachbody.com

Dr. Phil Shares: 31 Ways To Stay Fit During The Holidays

 

31-Days-of-Fitness-Header

Don’t wait for January to get in shape. Starting building muscle, burning fat, and checking off resolutions right now with our month-long guide for beating the holiday bulge and sculpting the body you’ve always wanted. Check back every day for a new tip!

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9 Totally Manageable Fitness Resolutions From The Pros

FITNESS EXPERTS NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

In practice, many ambitious fitness goals made on Jan 1. dissolve into self-defeating thinking and disappointment. But that doesn’t mean that all New Year’s resolution (or, really, resolving to make changes at point in time throughout the year) need to end in frustration and failure. The trick is making the right one.

Before you can even get that far, says Jessica Matthews, senior health and fitness expert for the American Council on Exercise and assistant professor of health and exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego, Calif., you need to take a long, hard look at where you currently stand on the fitness spectrum.

“Honestly acknowledge where you are currently in terms of your health and fitness level,” she tells HuffPost in an email. “While that spirit behind setting a New Year’s resolution is to make positive change to one’s health and fitness, so often people establish goals without being realistic about where they are starting from. Even if perhaps your current level of fitness is not where you want it to be, being honest with yourself about where you are presently and using that information as a baseline from which to work will help you to establish realistic, attainable goals for the new year.”

We asked a handful of fitness experts to share some ideas for realistic resolutions that will make a difference without feeling like a total overhaul. Here are a few of our favorite responses.

  • 1
    Hold A Plank
    “Alina Vincent Photography, LLC” via Getty Images
    “A very manageable fitness resolution that most people can stick to is holding a plank every morning, first thing out of bed. If you can spend one minute brushing your teeth, you can definitely find one minute to hold a plank. Planks are truly one of the best exercises I know of: They work your core and your entire body. Start with 30 seconds and build up to one minute. By doing this first thing in the a.m., you remind yourself to stay active all day.”
    Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor

 

  • 2
    Make It SMART
    Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
    “Set a SMART goal — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For instance, ‘I would like to take three CrossFit classes a week for 60 days.’ If at the end of that 60 days, you achieved your goal, reward yourself with something worthwhile, such as a vacation or massage. Just as you set your resolution in the beginning of the year, also plan your reward. That way, when you’re on week five and you want to throw in the towel, you can remember that sweet reward that is oh-so-close!”
    –Collette Stohler, fitness expert, author of The Intuitive Athlete and HuffPost blogger

 

  • 3
    Find The Middle Ground
    Julia Nichols via Getty Images
    “Shift [your] mindset from the very common ‘all or nothing’ mentality. For many people, the start of the new year entails going from zero to 60, so to speak, almost overnight … If you are currently not exercising or are exercising very sporadically, it’s not very realistic to expect that you’ll overnight commit to exercising for one or two hours per day, six days per week. Often when individuals establish these ‘all or nothing’ [goals], if they are not able to stick with the unrealistic expectations, they end up doing nothing at all.”
    –Matthews

 

  • 4
    Touch Your Toes
    PhotoTalk via Getty Images
    “Setting a performance goal may help you stay more motivated compared to a weight-loss goal. For example, a goal of 10 pull-ups, or touching your toes, can create a healthy shift from focusing purely on aesthetics to performance. Keep in mind that in order for your body to move fluidly and efficiently, your joints need sufficient range of motion, which is why flexibility is so important. As the body performs better, the aesthetics typically follow. Think of a performance goal that really motivates you, and a goal that you can enjoy the process as you strive for it.”
    –Marc Perry, CSCS, ACE-CPT, CEO of BuiltLean

 

  • 5
    Keep A Journal
    hey! My name is Fucchon~ I love photography so much. via Getty Images

    “I’m actually a big fan of journaling. I wake up every morning, roll over in bed and open the journal I use. I read one inspiring quote for the day, then give three answers to the question, ‘What would make today great?’ Finally, I write my daily affirmation, which for me right now is ‘I am inspiring, a joy to be around and a patient teacher.’ Later, in the evening, I re-open the journal and answer the questions ‘What three amazing things happened today?’ and “How could you have made today better?’

    It may sound silly, but this morning practice has kept me laser-focused on my goals and on what I want to accomplish each day. My only regret is not beginning a daily journaling practice earlier in life!”
    Ben Greenfield, fitness and triathlon expert, Get-Fit Guy podcast host

 

  • 6
    Find A Buddy
    Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
    “Working out with a friend allows for a little friendly competition and increased accountability. Choose goals together and get to work! It’s always a little easier when you know someone is rooting for up and waiting for you at the gym.”
    Rebecca Mahoney, certified personal trainer and HuffPost blogger

 

  • 7
    Pick A Precise Number
    Terry Vine via Getty Images

    “[One of] the most common New Year’s resolutions is weight loss or fat or body weight composition changes. It helps if people determine a very specific amount of weight that they want to lose. Weight is easy to measure, as it requires a scale. The weight loss goal should be realistic. Too often people have unrealistic expectations for how much weight it is that they want to lose. Finally, you need to give yourself a very specific time table in which you want to accomplish this goal.

    From a physiology standpoint, there are a lot of factors that go into actually changing your body weight. We are not as simple as cars with a gas in/miles out function. People can get hung up on reducing calories by a very specific amount and not get the predicted weight-loss outcomes that they want. I encourage people to create goals that they can definitely accomplish, like: ‘Today I will go to the gym and I’ll try hard to do exercises appropriately and with effort’ or ‘The next meal I eat will be made up from healthy food choices and the portions will be appropriate.’ [Those are steps] toward reaching a goal of losing 5 pounds in 30 days. We have to be very clear about factors that we can control and factors that we can’t control.”
    –Pat Davidson, Ph.D., former exercise science professor, director of training methodology at Peak Performance in New York City

 

  • 8
    Don’t Stress About It
    Noe Montes via Getty Images
    “Move how it feels good for you to move every day. Don’t stress about it being an hour workout, but keep consistent. Five to 10 minutes of morning practice can set you up for feeling great so you make great choices all day long that [help you] continue cultivating a radiant you.”
    Tara Stiles, founder and owner of Strala Yoga

 

  • 9
    Find The Fun
    Pete Starman via Getty Images
    “Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger. Think about the boost in energy you get after a workout. Do set goals, but make them about making fitness fun: Commit to joining a class three days a week or to signing up for a race. Just find something you consider fun!”
    Chris Freytag, fitness expert, author of Get Started with Weight Loss andHuffPost blogger

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Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph