Setting realistic health goals can be a challenge, and it’s also one of the most important things you will do for your body this upcoming year. I know personally I can often over think the process and in the past have set goals or restrictions on myself that only set me up for failure, leaving my body feeling depleted and on the verge of a physical or mental breakdown.
So how do we find a healthy balance? First of all we need to accept the fact that fitness is always a journey and we are always evolving. What worked last year may not work this year, and change is good not only physically but for our mental wellbeing as well. Maybe you’ve always gone to the same fitness class. Maybe you have always run the same road. Whatever your story may be, your body knows it. Maybe this upcoming year, instead of telling yourself you’re going to hit the gym 6 days a week, find a workout that brings you life. My goal this year is to take my workouts outside 1 day a week. No matter the weather, no matter the time of day. My goal is to experience every season! Studies show that even 10 minutes a day outdoors improves our mental state. When we are healthy mentally our bodies response in positive ways and trigger amazing hormones to keep us going and keep us enjoying life.
Here are some of the big questions I often get asked when it comes time to set health and fitness goals:
1) Do you need to workout every day to see results?
No, and I would really discourage these types of habits. Our bodies need time to heal and recover from the tension we place on them in workouts. If you’re just starting out I would recommend 2-3 times a week. Start slow and try lots of different styles of fitness to really find what suites you best.
If you’re more advanced, maybe you need to step your fitness up a bit to see results. I would recommend switching up your routine. Something as simple as swapping out a bootcamp class for a set of up hill sprints or adding a power yoga class in exchange for the token spin class you always hit up, may just be the adjustment your body needs to take your fitness to another level.
2) Is working out for multiple hours at a time necessary?
Short answer is, NO! First off, you need to figure out what your goal is. Do you want to train for a endurance race, become a triathlete or just feel better and more energized in your own skin? Once you have nailed down your goal, do some research to determine what class or program will be the best for you. The workout I’ve included in this article is an awesome way to switch it up. Get outside and boost your energy!! There are countless studies that show that short powerful workouts have countless positive effects on our bodies and mental states .
3) How do I plan my workouts?
Heading to the gym, park, or sweating it out in the comfort of your own home is going to be twice as hard to get motivated for without a plan. Lack of planning also increases rest breaks, wandering minds, and our workouts are overall less effective. Here is something I always stick to when planning my workouts:
- Compound movements (works upper and lower body)
- A mixture of cardio and strength
- 4-5 movements (keep it simple)
- Timed or planned reps (this way I don’t stop when it starts to get hard)
I set my timer (typically my workouts are 20-30 minutes long) and repeat my movements for either 1 minute or perform 12-15 reps per movement. I get in as many rounds as I can with little to no rest. If my kids are involved, this is a different story. Sometimes my workouts go smoothly with them and sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Celebrate the good days and know there is always tomorrow!
4) Does what I eat really produce 80% of my results?
Yes! Food is one of the most important factors in our health journey. Eating a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals will not only positively affect your recovery times and overall fitness results, but your mental wellbeing. Just like your workouts, start small and create habits that are going to last. My family and I recently took on a 10 day smoothie challenge with Jugo Juice. Our life is active and when planning snacks, things like vegetables can get missed. We saw this challenge as a opportunity to increase our vegetable intake and teach our kids to get creative with things they may have never tried (like cauliflower in their smoothie, who knew?) By just adding 1 smoothie after school, we increased their vegetable intake and eliminated the urge to ask for cookies or other sugary treats as they came down from the after school high. Maybe this week you add a smoothie, next week you swap out your normal lunch for a salad and the following week give up snacking after dinner. Small changes create lasting results. Need some motivation?! Right now Jugo Juice is running a contest for 3 prize packs! All you need to do is take a picture of your smoothie and post to Instagram with contest hashtags (#whatsinyoursmoothie #fuelbetter @jugojuice) and be following Jugo Juice on instagram! Winners will be announced Monday December 11th. Head over to Jugo Juice and design your own smoothie! Tag me! I want to see what you guys come up with. Check out my last Instagram post for my current favourite smoothie blend.
This year, instead of beating yourself up for skipping another workout or eating that donut, celebrate the wins! Along with creating my own fitness plan, I also have a huge jar that I place marbles in. Every time I do something positive for myself I put a marble in. On the hard days, when I want to allow negative talk to take over, I look at that jar and remind myself that health is a journey and each day I’m getting 1% better.
Small, achievable, and 1% better.
Bring it on 2018!
Jump-Start Workout :
- After a 10 minute warm up, set your timer for 1 minute for each move. Repeat circuit 3-4x with little to no rest.
- Tricep dips
- Push up
- Lunge (with back foot elevated on back bench)
- 30-60 second sprint after each round