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It’s that time of year again when we all make resolutions to improve our health and fitness. If you’re like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with exercise. On one hand, it feels amazing to break a sweat and push your body to its limits. On the other hand, finding the motivation to get up and work out can be a real struggle.
But this year, I want to help you make your fitness goals in 2024 a reality. Whether you’re just starting or you’re a seasoned gym-goer, there are always ways to mix things up and improve your workouts. In this blog post, we’ll explore some practical tips for improving your fitness in the New Year. Let’s get started!
Set Specific, Measurable Fitness Goals
The first step to improving and reaching your fitness goals in 2024 is to set specific, measurable goals. This means figuring out what you want to achieve and how you’ll track your progress.
For example, instead of saying “I want to get in shape,” try setting a goal like “I want to run a 5K in under 30 minutes by March.” This goal is specific (running a 5K) and measurable (under 30 minutes). It also has a deadline (March), which helps you stay on track.
Setting specific, measurable goals will help you stay focused and motivated. It’s also a good idea to share your goals with a friend or accountability partner. This will give you someone to celebrate your progress with and keep you accountable when you feel like skipping a workout.
Find an Exercise You Enjoy
One of the biggest barriers to staying fit is finding an exercise that you actually enjoy. If you hate running, don’t force yourself to run every day just because it’s “good for you”. There are so many different types of exercise out there, and it’s important to find something that you look forward to doing.
For example, if you love being outdoors, try hiking or cycling. If you enjoy team sports, join a local league or grab some friends for a pickup game. If you’re more of a solo exerciser, try a solo sport like swimming or tennis. The key is to find something that you look forward to doing and that fits your personality and lifestyle.
Incorporate Strength Training
In addition to cardio, it’s important to include strength training in your fitness routine. Strength training has a number of benefits, including increased muscle mass, improved bone density, and increased metabolism (1). It can also help reduce the risk of injuries and improve your performance in other sports and activities (2).
There are many different ways to incorporate strength training into your routine, including lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing bodyweight exercises. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity as you get stronger. If you’re new to strength training, it might be helpful to work with a personal trainer or exercise coach to get started.
Mix Things Up
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with your workouts, try mixing things up. This can help prevent boredom and keep you motivated. Here are a few ideas for mixing things up:
-Try a new workout class or fitness challenge
-Work out with a friend or group
-Change up your route or location (e.g., run on a different trail or try an outdoor workout)
-Add HIIT exercises or challenges to your workouts (e.g., sprints or hill climbs)
Stay Hydrated and Fueled
Proper hydration and nutrition are key to improving your fitness. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased performance.
Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after your workouts. It’s also important to fuel your body with the right nutrients. This means eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
If you’re going to be exercising for more than an hour, it’s a good idea to bring a sports drink or snack with you to help replenish your energy levels. Some good options include bananas, protein bars, or a small sandwich. Just make sure to choose foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and low in sugar to help sustain your energy levels during your workout.
Find Time for Recovery
In addition to your regular workouts, it’s important to make time for recovery. This includes getting enough sleep, stretching, and using foam rollers or other recovery tools. Recovery is an essential part of any fitness routine, as it helps your body repair and rebuild after intense exercise.
If you’re feeling sore or tired, it’s okay to take a rest day or do a lighter workout. Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. You’ll come back stronger and more energized after a good rest.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
One of the biggest challenges to improving your fitness is sticking to a plan. It’s easy to get started and make progress in the beginning, but it can be difficult to stay consistent over time. That’s why it’s important to make a plan and stick to it.
Here are a few tips for staying on track:
1. Set a schedule and stick to it. Choose specific days and times for your workouts and make them a non-negotiable part of your routine.
2. Find an accountability partner. Having someone to workout with or check in with can help keep you motivated.
3. Track your progress. Use a journal or app to track your workouts and progress. Seeing your progress can be a great motivator.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s okay to have off days or to miss a workout. Just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible.
Improving your fitness in the New Year is all about setting specific, measurable goals, finding an exercise you enjoy, incorporating strength training, mixing things up, staying hydrated and fueled, and finding time for recovery. By following these tips and making a plan, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals. Here’s to a healthy and fit 2024!
1. American Council on Exercise. (n.d.). Benefits of Strength Training. Retrieved from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5984/benefits-of-strength-training
2. National Strength and Conditioning Association. (n.d.). The Benefits of Strength Training. Retrieved from https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/the-benefits-of-strength-training/
3. American Council on Exercise. (n.d.). The Importance of Hydration. Retrieved from https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5786/the-importance-of-hydration
Editor-In-Chief at Recovatech. Dr. Ben is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic with over 10 years of clinical experience. He specializes in structural and neurological imbalances with an emphasis on functional movement patterns, exercise performance, and muscle recovery. He has been the team chiropractor for professional baseball and soccer organizations, as well as collegiate athletes. In his personal life, he’s always been driven when it comes to athletics and personal performance.