Sticking with New Years' resolutions can be tough. The first day? No problem. The first week? Solid. The first month? The treadmill is starting to feel more and more like a torture device. Making your fitness goals last all year long is possible, though — you just need the right mindset.
We caught up with Bedros Keuilian, certified personal trainer and founder of Fit Body Boot Camp, and he gave us his top tips on how to set your fitness resolutions and actually stick with them. It's easier than you think!
1. Set the Right Goals
Goals like "get in shape" are great, but they won't do you much good when it comes time to actually get in shape.
"How you set your goals can make or break your ability to actually reach them, so make sure you set them the right way. That means your New Years resolution should be specific and measurable, and it should have a deadline," Keuilian says.
Since there's nothing to motivate you when your goal is "I'm going to get in shape," Keuilian says to aim for something specific, such as "I'm going to lose 20 pounds before summer" instead. "That way you can measure your progress and keep yourself on track if you slow down," he says.
2. Start Eating Smaller Meals More Often
Eat more to lose more? Sounds counterintuitive, but give it a try.
"The problem with the three-big-meals approach is that each of those big meals causes a huge spike in your metabolism followed by long valley until the next meal. Since the metabolism spike only starts after you start eating and tapers off after you stop eating, your stomach is left with this big lump of food that it has to sluggishly digest for hours on end," Keuilian says.
When you eat smaller meals more often, your metabolism stays even and active throughout the day.
"Your body can efficiently absorb every piece of food you eat. In fact, most people who switch to this style of eating end up eating more total food per day while at the same time burning more fat than ever before," he says.
3. Create Accountability
It's hard to lose weight alone, but getting your loved ones involved with your journey can make a big difference.
"Even the most self-motivated people still need others to keep them on track. Make sure you have a group of people around you who believe in your New Years resolution and are ready to hold you to it," Keuilian says. "Sit down with your close friends and family and put together a fitness plan together. Remember that accountability systems work best when the whole group is working on similar goals."
4. Keep Your Workouts Interesting
Exercise doesn't have to be boring — there are a lot of ways to make it fun. Group fitness classes might actually make you want to work out with the endless amount of ways to get sweaty, and there are even an endless number of exercises you can do at home. If you're more into the workouts that are short and simply get the job done, don't forget about HIIT.
"The most effective and lasting way to burn fat is to have 30 minute workout sessions where you quickly alternate between short periods of rest and intense activity. You want to really go all out for this 30 minutes – the goal is to supercharge your metabolism and let it go to work even as you spend the rest of the day resting," Keuilian says.
At Fit Body Boot Camp, for example, Keuilian's members only come in 30 minutes a day, three times a week because they know they can keep them burning extra calories up to 31 hours after each workout.
5. Be Kind to Yourself
The most important part about a fitness plan besides setting the right goals and being accountable? Taking care of yourself.
"You never want to get into the mindset of punishing yourself or trying to 'fix something broken.' That kind of thinking will only sap your motivation and slow you down. Instead, encourage positive and hopeful thoughts. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, remember why you set your goal in the first place, and just keep making progress every day and remember that you'll hit your goal if you put in the effort," Keuilian says.