Start Your Year With These Fitness Tips

Ready to get fit for 2022? Don’t forget these tips that can help you in your journey!

We've spent most, if not all, of the past two years tackling virtual learning while adapting to our own sweet home. As we open our hands to the new norm and a new year, many of us are waiting on the edge of our seats to run back to the gym (if we haven’t already done that) and get those healthy glow ups we’ve been dreaming about! 

Some may have even reupdated that New Year’s resolution with this goal — to get rid of the pandemic belly.

However, before you take that huge leap, it’s important to take one step back, just to recall all those times that you tried to get that glow up, but eventually your stubborn normal lifestyle walks right back in. Sometimes, especially when it comes to fitness, we may be setting ourselves up for failure when we set the bar with unreachable goals, which often lead us back into that easier lifestyle. It’s important to set small, attainable goals that could eventually lead to bigger habits in your fitness journey.

Here are some tips that could help you with just that. Perhaps this time, we shall do it right!

Yes, you may have heard this phrase as often as one should, but there’s a reason why it’s vital to drink water. 

In fitness, drinking water is crucial because it helps flush out toxins from your body and reduces bloating. Additionally, water is essential for you to sleep better as it results in fast recovery from hard workouts.

Now, you may wonder how much water you should drink. Well, the answer is about 3.7 litres of water daily. We can't deny the frequent visits we’ll be making to the bathroom, but it’ll keep your body hydrated always. Hydration is a key element in fitness that is commonly ignored. What happens if you were to exercise when you’re dehydrated? Your body temperature and heart rate will start to elevate causing a decrease in mental and physical capability leading towards an ineffective workout.

Start Your Year With These Fitness Tips

It’s no lie that some of us head to the gym to reduce a part of our body fat after scrolling through social media. Not to break your hopes, but those videos may not have shared the full story. In reality, this is an ineffective method to reduce fat in your body. You’d need to lose overall fat instead

Going on a calorie deficit or doing calorie burning activities can help you reduce overall body fat. But, the question remains, why is it hard to lose fat in certain areas?

That’s because each part of the body has different types of fat cells used for different functions. For example, the areas with subcutaneous fat would be a lot harder to lose but not impossible. So, you’d need to understand and learn the different techniques to burn fats at different part of your body.

Tip 3: People Will Judge You

If you’ve ever felt pressured by family and friends to lose weight or to get in shape in general, you’d probably expect them to support you when you start your fitness journey, right? 

Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Some people might take your new lifestyle as a joke and would even go as far as to make you feel small and that it’s impossible for you. Your family and friends may even make comments on your new diet or workouts because they don’t understand your goals. Learn to explain to others your goals and why this is so important to you

If others continue to ridicule or make snarky comments, don’t keep it in. Instead, tell them that you don’t appreciate their negativity especially when it doesn’t help you or your fitness plan. Are they still making fun of you? It’s time to avoid conversations about the topic with them altogether. Not everyone is meant to understand your goals.

Your form should be one of your main focuses while working out. This helps you to exercise more efficiently rather than wasting reps by doing it incorrectly. Lifting weights that are too heavy for you can lead to serious injuries and strains on the body which could set you a few steps back on your training because your muscles would be too sore. 

When we see others lifting heavier weights than us, we may feel challenged and strive to match or even challenge them. When thoughts like these start to flood, remember to swallow your pride. Every gym goer was once in your shoes, hence focus on your own gains and performance instead.

No one likes to stop when they’re on a good roll or are in ‘the zone’ because most people think that when they stop, they might lose their momentum or even their progress.

This is absolutely not true. Contrary to popular belief, taking a break every once in a while is actually healthy for your body to recover from the hard workouts you’ve been doing.

In fact, taking rest days will only help you progress further in your goals as your muscles will start to repair and rebuild, making your future workouts easier for you.Though, there are a few people who can’t say no to working out. If this is you, try taking active rest days where you do light workouts such as yoga or aerobic exercises.

Not only would you get some movements in your body but also give yourself time to recover.

Start Your Year With These Fitness Tips

You might be asking yourself right now, “What’s the mind-muscle connection?” The mind-muscle connection is when you focus your mental attention towards the muscle group you’re working out. This helps the muscle fibres perform better and, consequently, resulting in a better workout. 

The second question you might have would be, “How can I achieve mind-muscle connection?” Start by concentrating on your muscles that you’re working out and imagine them contracting as you work out. This will help build a connection between your mind and body. Hence, with each workout and reps, make sure that you use your mind to move the muscle with intention.

Most people would work hard on their goals for a maximum of two weeks and when they don’t get the results or feel discouraged along the way, they quit. Patience is extremely crucial when starting your fitness journey because greatness doesn’t happen overnight or in just a few months.

There are going to be days where you’d feel like you’re not making progress or the scale says you’re not getting any lighter. Believe me, this is also part of the process. You must be persistent with your goals. Don’t hope to see results in a short amount of time because, in doing so, you’d only be discouraging yourself.

Instead, be patient, set realistic expectations for yourself, and be ready to expect a few setbacks on your progress.

At the start of your journey, you might take a longer time to finish your workouts most likely because you find them hard to do or take long breaks in between each exercise. In due course, these workouts might become easier and you’d likely add more workouts into your daily training.

Though you may feel capable of doing more, this could potentially set you back in terms of muscle mass and overall progress. As you train longer, your stress hormones that help control your energy and metabolism would start breaking down your muscle protein for more energy in your body. Training intensely for more than two hours would turn into overtraining and can cause loss of muscle protein. For the best results in your training, spending about 60 to 90 minutes is ideal.

One of the hardest things when starting your fitness journey is making the necessary sacrifices such as diet, time, and personal fun. Changing your diet might be the hardest among the three. however, as you progress in your workouts you’d naturally start changing your diet.

As you work out, you’ll start to understand what types of food makes you feel more energetic and which food might not sit right with you. Just like that, an elimination process of unhealthy food begins. 

The next big sacrifice would be your time. If you’re a beginner to this journey, it’s advisable to schedule a fixed time in your schedule, whether it be before or after your daily activities. Having a fixed time in your routine ensures that a specific time is made purely for you to work on yourself.

Finally, and probably the hardest for those who love going out, you must learn to say no to certain plans that come in between your workout times. But, learning to say no might be useful not only for those who need to allocate time for their workouts but also for those who are constantly pressured into doing things.

Start Your Year With These Fitness Tips

The best tip saved for last! The one thing most forget to tell you before getting into your fitness journey is how much you would need to depend on your mind

Mentally preparing yourself right before a workout can seriously make a huge difference in your performance. You need to mentally control yourself in terms of what you put in your body as this’ll reflect on your workouts later. The best way to mentally prepare yourself before a workout would be to practise positive and motivating self-talk throughout your workout. Imagine yourself as your personal hype man/woman! 

Learning to visualise your performance and envisioning yourself achieving your goals on a daily basis can help you be more persistence with your workout. One of the biggest mental games you’d definitely need to overcome is thinking that everyone around you is judging you as you work out. While it's normal to feel a little self-conscious when you’re in a gym filled with people, it’s honestly not what you think because everyone in the gym is also trying to be a better version of themselves. If these feelings creep up, give yourself a few days to feel more comfortable around the gym.

In summary, being new to something you’re not familiar with can be challenging and frightening. However, remember that everyone was once a beginner looking to better themselves. Hopefully, these points will aid you in the process of establishing and getting closer to a better you.

Kishendran Annamalai is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree at Taylor's University. He is also a member of the Leo Club.