We’re still basking in the motivation spike that the New Year brings. Remember, it won’t last, but while we’ve got it, let’s take advantage of it as much as we can! (Make sure you read this blog post so you know what I'm talking about with motivation. It's a fickle thing.)
Last week, I shared with you how to eat healthier in 2017. We broke it down into really simple steps based on where your current level of eating is. I taught you how to avoid dieting, and instead learn how to eat healthy for the long haul.
I know for many, exercising more in 2017 is a big goal, as well. Perhaps you felt like you could have done better last year and want to step up your game a notch.
You’re not necessarily looking to get ripped or to stand out as the fittest person in a line up. You just want to feel stronger, healthier and leaner. You want to feel and move like an athlete.
Instead of focusing on "exercising more" in 2017, let's think about "training better". You might find that you actually exercise less, but are far more focused and effective. Here’s what to do:
1. Don’t rely solely on a gym membership. There is nothing magical about a gym membership. It’s all about what you do when you get there and how often you go. Whether you have a gym membership or not, the most important thing to rely upon is a clear plan, one that starts with a week of learning, then a couple weeks of building, then finally one week of really pushing hard. If you work through 4-6 week cycles like this, you will excel.
Avoid workout programs that push you as hard as possible every single time you train. Your body is not meant to constantly max out. You'll burn out or get injured.
And don't feel like you need a gym membership to get in great shape. I don't have one.
2. Commit to consistency. Be realistic about what you can commit to, and then stick with that no matter what may come. Does it feel more realistic to do three 30-minute workouts per week than five hour-long sessions? Perfect. Do three workouts per week, no matter what, for the next four weeks and then re-evaluate to see if you can do more. Consistency is king.
3. Make strength training your go-to. What do you naturally gravitate toward when workout? Chances are you go for a run or hop on a piece of cardio equipment. Another likely scenario is that you pop in a workout DVD and bounce around and sweat for half an hour. To accomplish the most from your workouts, strength training (lifting weights and using your own body weight to get stronger) should be your number one priority.
Are you doing this? If not, here are a bunch of free strength training workouts to try.
4. Train like an athlete. Walk into your workout space with a purpose and plan, beginning with a thorough dynamic warm-up that activates your body and gears it up for the work ahead. Then strength train hard and impeccably, placing an emphasis on full body movements. If you’re strong enough, scatter in some jumping and other high intensity exercises to raise your heart rate and increase your power. Finish with lots of foam rolling and static stretching.
5. Move more in general. Yes, get your workouts done, but in between these, find a variety of ways to stay moving. Go for daily walks with the kids (or by yourself in the evening!). Run the flight of stairs in your house every time you go up—two at a time, even! Pop off the couch during commercial breaks and practice headstands and push-ups. Swing from the counters while waiting for something in the microwave. Just be a mover!
6. Try something new. Training like an athlete and prioritizing strength training might be brand new for you, so give it try! If you're already doing this, add in something else that you’d like to try. For me, it’s yoga. I added this into my normal routine about two years ago, and it brought new life and balance to my workouts. My body feels far more well-rounded from the variety. For you, it could be a dance class, sprinting or hiking. But it must be fun, something to look forward to.
It’s not a secret that workouts can sometimes be a slog, so it’s helpful to have something refreshing and exciting to do.
If I had it my way, I would design you a custom workout plan that gave you 3-5 hard strength training workouts every week, that progressed over the course of the month. You would learn how to place a premium on strength and move your body like an athlete. You would feel lean, powerful and fast. You wouldn't be dependent upon a gym to keep you going, but rather your own initiative and knowledge would be the driving force. And you would have fun.
In my experience, this is what works. This is how athletes train, this is how I train, and this is how I train my clients.
How are you going to exercise more this year? Hopefully, you'll train like an athlete in 2017!
Are you ready to train like an athlete? I can help you out! Yes, I design custom workout programs for women, complete with nutrition plans and one-on-one coaching. Click here to send me an email if you are interested in Distance Coaching with me.
Another option is to join the Strong Mommas Membership. I can't stop talking about it because it's awesome! For just $30/month, you'll have access to up to 5 workouts every week that are based on the fundamentals of athletic training just like I described above. Click here to find out what else is included and to register.