10 Pieces of expert advice to meet your New Year’s fitness and wellness goals.By Jacquelyn Mysliwiec
Health and fitness goals are common New Year’s resolutions. We think to ourselves, On January 1, I’m getting up at the crack of dawn to start my new workout program. Hasta la vista, pasta and unhealthy habits. Hello, transformation and abs!
Whether you’re starting a fitness routine for the first time or ratcheting your current wellness regimen up a notch, taking the necessary steps to reach your goals can be daunting. We decided to tap into the knowledge of several South Shore trainers for insider tips on how to get moving, maintain your momentum and get into the right mindset to make healthy choices. It’s time to take charge in 2018 and kick those bad habits to the curb.
Get real about your goals.
Let’s face it. There’s a quick fix for just about everything, which makes it that much easier to moan and groan about taking the slow and steady route—especially when it comes to trimming down, toning up or getting our overall health and wellness in check. So, what’s the best way to stay in the game without getting overwhelmed?
“If you start by setting small, attainable goals, you are more likely to feel good about your accomplishments and that will help motivate you to continue towards your bigger goals,” says Bobby Scott, owner and lead trainer at OPEX Fitness South Shore in Pembroke. “When I work with clients, I like to do initial testing, set goals and retest monthly to make sure they are constantly progressing.” Just like putting one dollar a day into a “vacation jar,” over time, your investment becomes one big, happy payoff.
Move more muscles.
“Compound movements, or multi-joint movements, are the most efficient exercises because they challenge your muscles and your entire central nervous system to connect your brain to your muscles,” says Bobby Scott. Instead of just walking, try walking lunges or add an upper body motion to your squats by incorporating an overhead press. Some other examples of this type of exercise would be step-ups, pull-ups and medicine ball tosses.
Mix up your workouts.
Changing routines from time to time is key to reaching new physical goals. But most importantly, it is one of the best ways to stay motivated and excited about exercise.
“Grab a workout partner,” says Kellie Lynch, owner and instructor at Balance Studio in Cohasset. “It’s always more fun to exercise with a friend. Try a barre class for a mix of Pilates, yoga and dance or add in some yoga fusion (Vinyasa yoga layered with intense ab work, cardio intervals and a relaxing Savasana). Lynch also educates her students on the benefits of cross-training (the name of her studio says it all). “People always ask me what my weekly routine is and which method I like the best,” says Lynch. “The answer is, there is no ‘best’ workout. It’s a mix of everything that I enjoy doing that makes me feel well balanced.”
Mark your calendar: Balance Studio and the Center for Integrative Counseling and Wellness in Hingham will be hosting the second annual Renew You wellness retreat on January 27 at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham. The day is packed with 12 seminars ranging from Pilates and yoga for strength and stability to goal setting and managing life’s transitions. It’s a chance to experience something new and discover ways to architect the happy and healthy life that you deserve. Info & tickets
Work with a coach.
If finding the time for a daily workout, healthy eating and mental wellness “me” time seems impossible, hiring a personal trainer or wellness coach can provide guidance and accountability. Coaches can create customized plans that align with individual lifestyle and fitness goals.
“I like to do an in-depth assessment with clients, not only testing body composition, movement, strength and aerobics, but also get an idea about their training background, nutrition, sleep and lifestyle practices so that I can help track progress all around with an ongoing, long-term approach,” says Scott.
Connect with Mother Nature.
When’s the last time you’ve spent some meaningful moments with Mother Nature? Bobby Scott is a huge believer in finding wellness through an awareness of the physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. “One of the most valuable and free-of-charge mood boosters is to connect with the circadian rhythm—the rhythm of the earth,” says Scott.
In addition to taking regular walks on the beach or local nature trails, Scott recommends spending a minimum of 10 minutes outdoors every morning, as close to sunrise as you can. “This will set your body clock,” he says. He also recommends avoiding blue light at night (turning off anything with a screen after sunset—your cell phone, TV and computer) and eating wholesome foods, harvested from the earth.
Push at your own pace.
Group fitness classes attract people from a range of fitness levels, so it’s easy to start comparing your abilities with others. The key, says Amanda Shields, owner of Krigsman Yoga in Hingham, is to stay focused on yourself and forget what the person is doing on the yoga mat next to you.
“It’s all about being aware of your feelings in the moment and mentally and physically opening up so you can make shifts,” says Shields. “Some people are intimidated to start yoga because they think they’ll be surrounded by perfect people twisting into pretzel positions. But there is a place for every person in our classes. It’s called a practice—not a perfect—for a reason.”
Make cardio fun.
The word “cardio” can make even the most fit athletes feel like running in the other direction. Understandably so, as endless treadmill bouts and stair stepping can feel monotonous.
“Switch it up and make cardio enjoyable rather than dreaded,” suggests Katie Sheerin, a trainer and boxing instructor at GloveUp Boxing & Fitness in Cohasset. “You can get a quick, high-intensity workout with fun options like dance or, my favorite, boxing,” says Sheerin. “Start once a week, and if you enjoy it, add more classes to your schedule.”
Something as simple as committing to better hydration can be a game changer when it comes to improving your health.
“Drink water when you first wake up and track your intake throughout the day,” recommends Sheerin, who makes sure she has enough to drink before, during and after boxing classes. “This seemingly small lifestyle change has big health and fitness benefits, including weight loss and increased energy.” If you find yourself forgetting to hydrate, try setting frequent timers on your phone to remind you to drink up.
Keep the mind active.
Exercise isn’t always about finding motivation to move. Sometimes it’s about finding the inspiration to grow. Daniel Gracie, a fourth-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and cofounder of Juniko in Hanover enjoys helping his students become the best version of themselves and he has seen such dynamic transformations in physical fitness and mental health through the practice of Jiu Jitsu and martial arts.
“Jiu Jitsu is not about working out or strapping yourself to a treadmill to lose a few pounds,” says Gracie. “It is about self-evolution and learning to evolve your mind, body and spirit while under physical and emotional duress.”At Juniko, fitness is an art of human movement. Enhancing physical health improves mental health, which in turn fosters the growth of human character.
Let it go.
Just like trees that slough off bark to make way for new growth, we can all afford to get rid of things in our lives that don’t serve us well, whether that means letting go of negativity, unhealthy habits, false comforts or any other unwanted baggage.
“That’s my message for the new year,” says Shields. “Shed your bark, so you can make space for what you do want.”