For many gyms and personal trainers, this is the most holy and glorious time of year: new year's resolution time, when the previously uncommitted, uninterested or unsure set their sights on losing weight and achieving the goals they had either put aside the past year or just never realized for one reason or another. The cycle is pretty much the same: gyms are packed for the winter season, maybe a little bit longer, but once summer rolls around only the die-hard's are left to carry the torch until the next January. As a trainer, I definitely look forward to the end of the holiday season for it's potential for new business and fuller hours, but I also recognize the challenges, which is not only to keep new clients coming back for an extended amount of time but also to convince them that while new year's resolutions are all well and good, it's lifestyle changes that lead to permanent success. This is an easy concept to promote but a harder one to fulfill, and over the past few weeks I've been thinking about ways to convince clients, old and new, that what they do with me in the gym is going to help them immensely, but the other 23 + hours of each day are the ones that will really tell how successful they want to be in 2013.
I'm sure there are many blog posts, columns, TV specials and articles out right now promoting a new diet fad, quick weight loss tips and the importance of setting achievable and specific goals in 2013, but I wanted to start smaller by coming up with a short list of 10 of the easiest lifestyle changes that you can make even before you hit the gym and, wink wink, sign up for sessions with a trainer. And this list is certainly not a be all end all for health and you're not going to automatically be able to compete in a triathlon because you have implemented them into your daily life. No, my goal with the below is to get you thinking about setting small, measurable goals that can be accomplished in one day which will hopefully lead to larger successes every day. These are my ideas, but whatever ideas you have on your own, write them down, post them on your fridge, bathroom mirror, etc., and remember that this is just the beginning. Lastly, and most importantly, this is a one day list, i.e., the goal is to take one day out of your week and try to hit all of the goals below. One day, that's it. See how you feel after:
- #1: Go to bed a half-hour earlier than normal -- See if you feel a little better and more energized by getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep and to give your metabolism a head start for the next day.
- #2: Park far, far away -- Wherever you drive, whether it is to work, the grocery store, the mall, etc., find a spot a bit further out of your comfort zone and force yourself to walk the extra distance.
- #3: Take the stairs -- A place that I used to work had about 3 flights of stairs in the whole building, and maybe about 20% of the people who worked there took the steps every day (not to mention the fact that our elevator was the slowest elevator on the planet). Even if you work in a high rise on the 75th floor, take the elevator to the 70th and walk the next 5.
- #4: Drink water. Lots of water -- For one day, don't drink anything but water. No coffee, no tea, no soda, no juice, no booze. One day. And drink LOTS of it.
- #5: Pack your lunch -- Not only will you save money but you'll be forced to make something fresh and give it some thought beforehand.
- #6: Stretch for 10 minutes -- You can do this when you wake up, during a break at work, when you get home, before bed, anytime. Take 10 minutes and do some gentle stretching, maybe a few arm circles, torso twists, calf raises. Anything. 10 minutes.
- #7: Take a 15 minute walk -- Again, this can be in the morning, at lunch, at night, etc. If you already take a walk, be it with your dog or someone else, add an extra 15 minutes to the walk.
- #8: Skip the meat -- One day without meat in any of your meals, I think that's pretty reasonable.
- #9: Laugh -- Find a funny video online, watch a sitcom, read a Peanuts comic, just make sure you laugh at least once a day. Stress isn't good for your hormones and if you are overstressed you are more likely to overeat, sleep less and store fat. Laughter can help.
- #10: Treat yourself -- If you accomplish all of the above in one day, give yourself a treat, just make it small. Something like a cookie, a scoop of ice cream, a 1/2 glass of wine (I know, this violates the no alcohol rule. I won't tell). Just because it's small doesn't mean it can't be a treat.
Nothing fancy about the above, right? And we're not talking about a week, a month, a year, we're talking about one day out of your week to feel a little better, laugh a little bit more and eat just a little bit healthier. Start small, but when you are done, yeah, you can start thinking big.