Editor's note: Each month, CultureMap features an exclusive story from Austin Fit Magazine. This month, the magazine offers help staying in shape during the doldrums of winter. The January issue is on newsstands now.
In the fitness business, the new year means only one thing: promises to get in shape. Although I know those resolutions are often broken, I am an optimist. It is my job as a trainer to help you keep that one promise to yourself. I can motivate you and give you tips, advice and a regimen. But before we can begin, before those words even come out of your mouth, be realistic. It’s good to have big goals, but you need to keep them achievable. That’s where I come in.
A personal trainer can help you decide what’s within your reach and what will leave you feeling disappointed. Weight loss and fitness are different things. Usually, getting fit results in weight loss, but in my opinion, building muscle, improving cardiovascular health and preventing bone loss is more important than just the numbers on the scale. Plus, if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, there are many health risks associated with jumping into a fitness program.
For long-term success, find a fitness program that will fit into your lifestyle.
For long-term success, find a program that will fit into your lifestyle. Don’t go out and get a gym membership only to work out for three months and then stop going. Then you’re stuck with a monthly membership fee as a reminder that you didn’t meet your goal. No one likes hearing “I told you so,” especially by a lingering charge on your credit card. To help you make a realistic resolution for fitness, I’ve put together a list for you.
Coach Mo’s top 5 ways to meet and maintain your 2014 fitness goals
1. Make fitness friendly and fun
Find and work out with a group. Your friends will keep you motivated and honest. Plus, working out is more fun when you can laugh through the pain.
2. Hire a personal fitness coach
It’s an investment but, unlike with a gym membership, you will get personalized attention that’s focused just on you. Plus, if you are paying for someone’s time, you are much more likely to show up for your workout.
3. Work out at home
Everyone is tired after a long day. I’m not suggesting that you put in an hour; every little bit helps. Ten or 15 minutes in the morning and 20 at night equals a good workout each day. You can search for workout routines on YouTube if you don’t have a treadmill or an exercise bicycle.
4. Set realistic goals for yourself
I know this advice is also above, but it’s worth repeating. As you progress on your fitness journey, your goals may change, and that’s okay. It’s a good idea to re-evaluate them from time just to make sure the goal is still worth chasing.
5. "Just Do It"
Nike has made millions on this slogan. The only way to achieve a goal is to start working toward it and just keep doing it. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you’ve ever watched a marathon, you've seen that some people walk — even crawl — to the finish line. What matters is they just do it. As Muhammad Ali said, “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it."
Five questions to ask when choosing your trainer
1. What is your payment policy for a missed session?
2. How do you handle injuries?
3. What do you expect from your clients?
4. What is your experience with clients’ weight-loss plans — have they been successful?
5. Can you help me with nutrition and meal planning?