It’s the start of a new year and almost everyone I know has resolved to eat better and exercise more in 2015, myself included. What usually happens is that I go gangbusters for the first few weeks, then fall back into my familiar bad habits of not exercising regularly and sitting too much, which always results in low energy, tight fitting clothes and a sore back.
I decided this year would be different. I know, we all say that in early January but I do think it’s possible to lead a healthier lifestyle beyond February. We just need some helpful advice from an expert. Thankfully, I know just where to find fitness and health tips. One of my closest friends is a fitness professional!
Debra Devincenzi of DevBody has been my friend for 15 years and a fitness trainer and health guru for over 30. The most fit I have ever been in my life was when I took her class at Montecito Heights Health and Racquet Club – a mix of aerobics, weight training, pilates and yoga. I was a faithful and toned student for years. I loved it so much, I rarely missed a class.
Debra makes fitness fun, invigorating and challenging. Always incorporating something new to her instruction, Debra encourages her students to push just a bit beyond their perceived limits. A few months ago, Debra started a brand new class at Montecito Heights.
No longer a member, I quit my membership several years ago once my youngest stepchild started driving herself to school and going became less convenient. Back then, I thought I could manage my own fitness routine. Boy was I wrong! The truth is, I am my own worst fitness enemy and I can’t be trusted to exercise regularly on my own.
When I heard Debra started a new class at my old fitness stomping ground, I knew I had to sign up and re-start my membership for the sake of my fitness and my health.
Three months into the class and I am already noticing my level of fitness has increased. My back doesn’t hurt as much, my core feels more taut and my arms don’t jiggle like they used to.
I am well on my way to getting fit and am ready to make exercise a regular part of my lifestyle this year. I also wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds in the process.
The other day, I invited Debra over to my house to ask her to give those of us who have “get in shape” on our list of resolutions some tips. I knew she would be full of great advice and I was right!
Here are Debra’s 10 Expert Tips for Sticking to Your Fitness Resolutions:
#1: Make Small Changes to Your Lifestyle
Plan to make small, doable changes to your lifestyle. Drastic changes rarely take hold. Debra suggests breaking your big goals down into smaller ones. Instead of setting a goal of losing 50 pounds and running a marathon (when you aren’t yet a runner), try setting a shorter, smaller goal if losing 8 pounds in four weeks while walking three miles, three times per week. Build up slowly to running or some other exercise by adding increased activity each week or every month.
# 2: Choose Activities You Enjoy
Debra suggests doing things you love rather than suffering through activities you don’t. Try as I may, I don’t like riding a bike for exercise. While cruising along slowly on a safe, flat, unpopulated path is lovely, biking with cars and trucks whizzing by at 60 miles per hour or bumping along on hilly, rocky trails is for someone else. However, hiking I love. Ask me to go on a hike with you and I am there!
Did you get a gym membership for the holidays? Going to a new gym or exercise class can be intimidating and feeling intimidated can lead to not using your membership. Debra suggests easing in to your new gym. Decide that you’re only goal is getting to the parking lot. Once you’re there, decide if you will go inside and take a look around (of course you will!). If you feel up to it, ask for a tour and spend a little extra money on a personal training session to learn some basics. Soon you’ll be a regular and everyone will know you by name!
#4: Reward Yourself
Reward your fitness achievements. Debra says to give yourself a token of some sort – a coin or poker chip, for example – and add it to a jar each time you work out. Once you reach a goal – like 10 workouts – reward yourself with something you really want. Debra suggests a manicure, a new novel, a great pair of shoes, or a lipstick. Debra believes in rewarding her students, too. Students who attend every class during the month receive tank tops that say “I earned this”. One of these months I am going to get one. That is a small goal of mine!
#5: Accountability Works
If possible, Debra advises to join group classes or find a partner to exercise with. Accountability works. Ask a friend to partner with you for workouts or go to a class and get to know your fellow students. If you won’t show up for yourself, you might do it for them!
#6: Don’t Think. Just Do.
Debra says the more you think about and consider exercising, the less likely you are to actually do it. Mulling around the “should I or shouldn’t I” conversation in your head almost always ends up as an “I didn’t”. This is probably my biggest exercise hang-up…thinking about exercise rather than doing it!
#7: Do Your Best
You don’t have to be the best at everything in order to exercise in front of others. In every one of Debra’s classes, I have not been able to complete an exercise and some I just can’t do because of my height, my fitness level or back pain. I simply modify the moves or do something else until we move on. Just do your best!
#8: Even One Minute is Better Than Nothing
Short on time? Debra told me about a study that shows even one minute – ONE – of intense exercise is beneficial! No matter what, we all have a minute to spare everyday.
#9: Treat Exercise as an Appointment
Debra suggests scheduling your fitness. Just like that lunch you have next week with your best friend or that dental appointment on the calendar, exercise is more likely to be taken seriously – as it should – if you add it to your schedule as an appointment.
#10: Don’t Go Overboard
Trying to fit in more exercise this year? Don’t go overboard. Work your way up gradually. If you’re used to working out once a week, don’t suddenly try to workout six days a week. You will burn out…fast! Try adding in one extra session a week for two or three weeks. Then add another and another until you are exercising regularly. This is the best way to make exercise a habit.
Is better fitness on your 2015 list of resolutions?
What’s your favorite type of exercise?
Next week, I will have Debra’s tips for healthy eating. Visit Debra’s Facebook page, and her site for even more inspiration. And if you’re local, take Debra’s class at Montecito Heights. It’s open to non-members.
Make it a rich – and fit – day!
Don’t forget that the deadline for How I Wear My: Winter White is Monday, January 5th. Visit the How I Wear My page for more details. The post goes live Wednesday morning, the 7th.