10 Expert Tips for Sticking to Your Fitness Resolutions

10 Expert Tips for Sticking to Your Fitness Resolutions

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!

new-years-2#3: Ease Into Your Gym Membership

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. 

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  1. January 4, 2015 / 6:58 am

    Great tips for a fit 2015!
    Wishing you the very best in the new year!
    Dawn Lucy

  2. January 4, 2015 / 7:35 am

    Great tips. for me accountability is so important. I workout with a group of ladies, all about the same age, and we hold each other accountable to keep it up. We split the cost of the trainer, so I know if I quit, their costs goes up…it helps. Also, at this stage of my life, the doctor helps me to stay true to the workouts. If I stop, I will suffer consequences!

  3. January 4, 2015 / 9:38 am

    Adrienne, this post was made for me and I’d sign up this minute if I’d live in your area!
    Unfortunately I don’t have any fitness classes in my small town and driving to a gym after work simply doesn’t work for me, especially in winter with our road conditions. Therefore (I promise!) I will use the gym regularly again at my workplace from tomorrow it is available for free 24/7 and there is no excuse not using it I think… Come spring I will start running again as there are lovely trails at my doorstep.
    I’d love to share our fitness experiences in a couple of months!

    Happy New Year, dear Adrienne!
    Annette | Lady of Style

  4. January 4, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this, Adrienne! I will direct my clients and students to your blog and have them read this post. It truly helps to have reminders like these. And while they seem simple, it’s the tried and true solutions that work every time!

  5. January 4, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    These are great tips! I think a lot of Mom’s especially end up putting ourselves last when it comes to our health and time.

  6. January 4, 2015 / 7:33 pm

    These are great tips! I didn’t do anything formal for a good month and just this last week got back to it. I feel so much better when I exercise. I have added weight training this year. Thanks for the tips! Cheryl

  7. January 5, 2015 / 5:33 am

    I couldn’t agree more with your post Adrienne and I can’t wait to read her healthy eating tips. I think the most important for me are doing activities you love (which is tennis for me) because then you actually enjoy it and also not thinking, just doing. Every time I think about if I should go to the gym or skip it, I always skip it.

    Perfect post for the start of 2015. 🙂


  8. January 5, 2015 / 7:24 am

    I love this post, Adrienne! I am an avid runner – 4.8 miles every morning rain, snow or shine! I don’t even think about it as an option -it’s like brushing my teeth. To be honest I run more for what it does for my “head” than my body but I find as I get older I have had to add weight training to my routine and more protein to my diet to keep up muscle mass…..I look forward to this series and Debra is beautiful!

  9. January 5, 2015 / 7:59 am

    I so hear you on not trusting yourself, this year has been an awful year for fitness for me, the treadmill is gathering dust, the gym membership lapsed.. I had a great food and wine year no question but this 50 year old is feeling every bit of it. I am back on the wagon and pumped to resume my journey

  10. January 5, 2015 / 9:54 am

    It’s definitely hard to maintain a good routine so these helpful reminders are fantastic. My favorite is #9. When I add my workout to my calendar/daily to do list it works every time. I bet you are just loving being back in Debra’s class, it sounds like a good one!

  11. Jill
    January 5, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    Great tips! I really don’t let myself off the hook during the year with exercise. Without it I feel out of sorts and mildly depressed. The plank challenge last year was so good for me and I thank you for bringing it to my attention! I love the tip of exercising even one minute a day! On days when I really don’t want to work out, I talk myself into by saying, Just do 10 minutes. Even 10 minutes is better than nothing! So I love that Debra says 1 minute counts too. Woo-hoo!

  12. January 5, 2015 / 6:16 pm

    This is such a great post! You hit on all the important stuff! I just looked at Deb’s site! Gosh, how I wish I lived in your area.

  13. Kathy
    January 6, 2015 / 5:29 am

    Debra’s tips are all great. I have no excuse not to incorporate regular exercise into my life, as we now have a small, but very functional home gym. Was planning to re-start (after the holidays) but came now with the flu instead. As soon I’m I’m well, back to it.

  14. January 6, 2015 / 7:53 am

    Adrienne thank you for sharing these tips! I know for a fact they all are oh so true! but I did need the reminder … to do them! I have been at the other end of gangbusters/burn out way too many times! When my kids were growing up I was so diligent about working out. Now on my own … I seem to go off track too often … in the hopes of getting more accomplished … and then feeling all the worse for my choice!

    Thanks to you and Debra for sharing such sage advice!

    Wishing you all the very best in the New Year my friend!


  15. January 8, 2015 / 5:09 pm


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