You want to get fit this year? We have thoughts

Whether you’ve resolved to get healthier or just want an energy boost, we turned to the pros to find out what you can do to be your best self. The good news? It’s easier than you think (it has to be).

1. Get goal-ing 

Take a few minutes to jot down what you want to accomplish this year. Climbing the stairs at school without gasping for air at the top landing? A spot on your softball team’s starting lineup by spring? All of the above? Write ’em down in present tense (“I am making varsity this year”) to get yourself inspired.

2. Do something new

Bust out of a ho-hum fitness rut. You’re usually all about barre class? Try a yoga HIIT. Or pull your squad together to hit up that CrossFit place in town. Challenge yourself to a different workout—and you might discover a new favorite way to get fit. 

3. Share the load

Getting healthy is all on you, but that doesn’t mean the journey has to be completely solo. Partner up with a workout buddy. Post your aspirations for each other on Insta with cute pics at the gym, Snapchat your sweat seshes or send a quick text when you need extra motivation. With the mutual support, you’ll really want to push yourself.

4. Get into the swing

Next time you hit the playground with your little sibs or babysitting charges, turn the jungle gym into your own personal American Ninja Warrior course. You’ll work your arms and abs while navigating the monkey bars—and be sure to get in some dips, too. Or, map out an obstacle course and see how quickly you can conquer it.

5. Use your words

Dig around online to find a motivating mantra that speaks straight to you. Write it in your journal, plaster it on your bedroom wall or post it in your social profile. Repeat it in your head to fire yourself up before a big game or power you through a tough workout. 

6. Walk it out

This isn’t your mom’s power walk, promise. “Walking at a solid speed can be a killer workout,” swears trainer-to-the-stars Basheerah Ahmad. Two or three times a week, lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement (or treadmill) for a 20-minute walk. Want to step up the pace? Replace your walks with easy runs, gradually increasing your speed until you’re running the entire time. 

7. Pen a love letter

“Write out three things you love about your body and why,” says trainer Stephanie Mansour of Step It Up With Steph in Chicago. “It’s a great way to boost your self-confidence and keep up your fitness routine, because if you like your body, you will want to do good things for yourself.” Keep your notes handy for a quick pick-me-up whenever you need one. 

8. Go gadget-less

Newsflash: You don’t need your phone when you work out. Sure, music, fitness apps and other tech elements might motivate you to move, but they also can distract (scroll much?) or even make you feel down about your progress (why does it seem like everyone on Instagram is sooo fit?). So once a week, exercise unplugged—and enjoy the opp to reconnect to you.

9. Look to the future

Early into a new-to-you routine, it’s easy to motivate to workout. But it’s also easy to fall into a fitness rut a couple months in when everything starts to feel, well, routine. Keep things challenging by treating your future self to something fun. Put a new goal on your calendar—say, a V-Day 5K—and work toward it. 

10. Restock your bras

Lose that old sports bra, babe. Girls who work out three to five times a week for 45 minutes need to replace their sports bras about every six months since they stretch after so much wear and tear. Adequate support prevents problems like post-workout soreness. Look for adjustable straps (just like on a regular bra) and a thick band to help protect your girls from too much bounce.

11. Reap the rewards

When you’re striving to meet major goals, there’s no shame in celebrating mini milestones along the way. You’ve gone a week without soda? Treat yourself to an extra 10-minute massage at the mani/pedi spa. You hit your daily steps goal before 11 a.m. three days in a row? If that doesn’t earn you a cute new workout top, we don’t know what does.

12. Treat yourself

Fine-tuning your fitness doesn’t have to mean denying yourself dessert or other treats. Just be sure you’re getting in plenty of good stuff, too. Pros tell us the key to balanced nutrition is all about moderation—think 80 percent healthful, 20 percent splurge-worthy. So, yeah, chomp that double-chunk brownie. Just don’t wipe out the whole batch. 

13. Smooth it out

Only have 10 minutes before you need to dash out the door in the a.m.? Bust out the blender and mix up some fruit-and-veggie-filled sips. Check out our fave smoothies (you can hardly taste kale once it’s blended with a banana) HERE.

14. Get cute gear (really!)

Ditch the old T-shirts and shapeless shorts and opt to outfit yourself in some flattering fitness fash. When you look good, you feel good—and that’s a state of mind that can power you through even the toughest workouts.

15. Add some intervals

Interval training—that’s bursts of intense exercise balanced with periods of lighter activity—is a super effective workout (cardio plus strength training in one!). Ahmad says to add intervals into your routine two or three times a week for max effect. Next time you’re out for a run, pick up the pace for 1 minute. Then, take 2 minutes easy, and go back into 1 minute hard. Repeat until 15 to 20 minutes have passed. You’ll be stronger for it, we swear. 

16. Hit the hills

For stronger legs and booty, there’s nowhere to go but up—literally. So find a steep hill in your neighborhood or at a park, or use a treadmill set on an incline. “Walk up the hill for at least a minute, then rest for 30 seconds, and repeat that 10 times,” says Ahmad. Try it three days a week, working your way up from a walk to a jog to a run. 

17. Take active breaks

Nope, we don’t mean heading down to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal. Instead, take 5 to 10 minutes out of every hour to move around a bit. Try walking lunges across your room, burpees or getting down on the floor for a set of crunches. Getting that blood flowing is good for your brain—plus it’ll keep you from falling asleep in a puddle of drool on top of your textbook.

18. Rock the plank

Ah, the plank. It might be one of the toughest moves out there, but trainers swear by it for overall conditioning. And you can do them anywhere. So when you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, drop and get to planking. Start with 30 seconds, working your way up ’til you’re holding those planks like a pro. Five minutes—what?!  

19. Go silent for a sec

Spend 10 minutes at some point of every day in total quiet. Studies show meditation—even for a short block of time—can clear your head and quiet a restless mind. The how-to? Sit still with your eyes closed, and slowly inhale and exhale (you also can download an app like Headspace). These
moments of silence train your psyche into a state of calm.

20. Revisit your work

Log accomplishments (workouts, goals and so on) in a journal or your Notes app. Then, every other week, look back to remind yourself of just how far you’ve come—and to refuel for even more get-fit feats!

by Sarah Wassner Flynn | 1/19/2020