Ah, resolutions. There’s something nice about having designated moments to take stock of our lives and where we’re heading—that’s probably the best light in which we can view a New Year’s resolution. But far too often January 1 also brings an onslaught of “new year, new you,” jargon, and that often gets translated into something along the lines of lose 10 pounds.
When it comes to fitness, we Verily editors try our best to not buy into the "get skinny" mentality. We want to honor our bodies—they are integral parts of who we are, and taking good care of ourselves means that we’ll be ready for all the adventures ahead. We want to be able to climb mountains, join that sports league, and play wildly with our kids.
The reality of modern life is that just living often isn’t enough to ensure we remain in good shape. It is also reality that getting in some much-needed physical activity can be challenging. Enter: the resolution. We set big goals. We start off strong, then burn out. Or we don’t get started at all. We bury ourselves in excuses, and before we know it, another year has come and gone.
We editors struggle with this as much as anyone. So rather than offer up advice for you, we thought it would be more helpful to confront our own exercise weaknesses. We looked to Annie Bertucio, a strength trainer, endurance athlete coach, and fitness writer, for her expert recommendations to help address our specific needs. When it comes to women's fitness, Annie doesn't believe in a "one jean size fits all" approach. From former athletes to fizzlers and early birds to night owls, read on to find out how our fitness styles and challenges can help you make your most empowered fitness choices in 2015.
The Multitasking Mama (or Mama-to-Be)
Krizia, our lifestyle editor and mom of two has been trying to do the 7-minute workout app in the morning or at night. "But I usually fail. I feel like I'm too exhausted to workout for even seven minutes twice a day. What to do!?" Whether you're a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, you're likely a juggling act. It may feel impossible to add exercise to the mix. Even if you don't have a goal to lose weight or tone a particular muscle group, you'd still like to keep fit.
Expert Rec: Being flexible about "when" you get your workout in and "what" you do is key. You may not be able to get a traditional half hour at the gym every morning. So think outside the box. Put that gym membership into another investment, like a jogger stroller or a set of dance fitness DVDs. Try Jennifer Galardi's 10-Minute Solution Dance Mix for Latin moves you can take out on the town. Beginners will love The Complete Collection of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. Prefer to bop to pop? Just Dance 2015's 40-minute sessions are so fun, they won't feel like workouts. Your kids might love them, too (I know my toddler does)! Pregnant? Nothing these prenatal barre or prenatal Pilates workout DVDs can't handle. Yeah, baby!
Our editor-in-chief Kara's problem is "after spending my entire childhood and college years as an intense athlete, going to the gym just to work out is hard. I need purpose!" Fizzlers get bored. You're eager to try something new but have trouble sticking to it after a few weeks or months.
Expert Rec: If you need purpose, pick a new sport (or an old favorite) and set a specific goal and a timeline to do it. Put yourself around like-minded athletes and watch your competitive nature propel you. Weightlifting, cycling, swimming—whatever your calling, there is a masters league out there waiting for you!
The Class Act
Maggie, our managing editor, loves classes. "I don't like to do a lot of cardio, as I'm already walking all over the city. And I hate ellipticals or treadmills! I'm much more into barre classes, yoga, or Pilates." While fitness classes motivate you, you may not be making your personal goals or have a balanced workout plan.
Expert Rec: It's important that your daily exercise incorporates both cardio and weight bearing. Walking through the city at a brisk pace counts as cardio, so focus on finding a strength-focused class that you love. Pilates and yoga are great lifelong activities. But you'll benefit if you incorporate exercises that go above body weight strength. Try a women's weights or total body class twice a week in addition to yoga, barre, or Pilates.
Failure to Launch
If you're like our culture editor Mary Rose, getting started at all is the hardest part. "I have had little to NO training or experience in fitness my entire life, making it feel like a huge uphill battle just to get started. The only time I was really ever fit was when I lived in NYC and had to walk everywhere as a matter of necessity. I need to come up with a reason to exercise that is as compelling and natural as going on an errand in New York used to be—I'd just do it without thinking. (I secretly think the answer, though, is that I just have to grow up and start working out like a normal human being.)"
Expert Rec: Fitness comes in a variety of forms. It doesn't matter if you like dripping-in-sweat circuits or fast-paced walking in the park. Your body appreciates exercise in any shape. Make a list of activities you've enjoyed in the past and things you'd like to try, and commit to doing something off the list four times a week. When you're feeling lost, return to your list. Let go of the idea that there is a "normal" way to workout, and enjoy hour-long walks with the kids!
Morning Workout or No Workout at All
If you're like Monica, our relationships editor, morning workouts are a must. "Working out in the morning keeps me positive and focused throughout the day. Trouble is I have a hard time getting out of bed, and at the end of the day I'm too drained and interested in socializing to care about exercise."
Expert Rec: Something has to give, and it sounds like you already know what that is. If you know evening workouts don't happen, sticking to your morning classes is non-negotiable. Do whatever it takes to get a routine going. Set four obnoxious alarms. Have a friend call to wake you up (or better yet, join you!). Promise yourself a cup at your favorite cafe after class. After two weeks of consistency, getting up in the morning for the workout you know will make you feel great won't be such a struggle.
The Night Owl
Janet, our style editor, is the opposite of a morning person. "My usual go-to is a 30-minute run with stretching, push-ups, and abs. That's it. But, for whatever reason, I only have energy to do it in the late afternoon or in the evening. So I have to make the commitment after work, or I'll just keep putting it off. The plus side is, working out at night is a stress reliever from the day, and I have loads more energy after eating all day!" Janet is also "a total seasaw when it comes to exercising. I'll get on a kick for three weeks at a time. Then I'll "give myself a rest." All of a sudden, it's two months until I start running again. I'd love to be more consistent, but I don't know how."
Expert Rec: Like Monica, don't fight nature. If you know a morning workout isn't going to happen, put an after-work workout in your calendar and treat it like you would any other appointment. To maintain consistency, lengthen your perspective and focus on exercise as a lifelong activity. You don't have to do it all today, and a lackadaisical workout here and there doesn't mean you're a failure. Health isn't "all or nothing." Schedule rest days the way you schedule your workouts and change up your workout to avoid burnout.
The Desk Rat
Haruka, our graphic designer, is a self-proclaimed computer nerd. If you spend 10-plus hours a day staring at a computer screen, this is doing a number on your lower back and may be giving you a bit of a, er, soft middle. "My goal is to go on a light jog every day after work, instead of beelining straight to the computer." Unfortunately, "treadmills and ellipticals drive me absolutely bonkers. I feel like a hamster in a cage!" Just because you're stuck behind a desk, doesn't mean you won't gravitate towards workouts that force you to engage with other people and the environment.
Expert Rec: You need exercise that doesn't feel like exercise, with a focus on serious core strength to help your lower back. Don't feel like you have to pick just one: Box a few nights, take up dancing on the weekends, or try a women's bootcamp class. You need to keep it varied to keep your interest. For your back, make a goal of incorporating core work for 5-7 minutes a day. You can even do it in the office on your lunch break! Focus on exercises like Pilates 100s, perfect planks, and clamshells.
The Washed-Up Athlete
Like Krizia and Mary Rose, our art director Katherine is a busy working mom. "I have a hard time finding the time or interest to work out. When I was younger, I immersed myself in the fitness culture of competitive sports. Now I'm coaching youth track and need to get in shape for myself. I've put it off long enough! I'm not young anymore. I have some serious scoliosis and need to exercise my core to keep my back from warping even more and to prevent the constant dull pain."
Expert Rec: Pick an attainable running goal that fires up your former competitive self—a 28-minute 5K, for example. Share it with your juniors. They'll love seeing you train for a race and their heaps of questions will fill the accountability void. Join in on their strength and conditioning exercises at practice to get in the core and weight bearing exercise you need for total body fitness.
Only 8 percent of people who make resolutions actually achieve them. To avoid being a statistic, take a look at your unique lifestyle and fitness needs before setting a lofty goal. Then make smaller changes that will add up to make a larger and longer impact on your overall health. As Aristotle once said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action but a habit." Good luck and happy new year!