With January comes tons of ads for weight loss products, fitness gear, and other items to buy that are guaranteed to make your fitness dreams come true. A new year is the perfect time to start making healthier choices, and it’s no wonder the hashtag #NewYearNewMe has over 1.2 million uses. It would be easy to break the bank buying DVDs or subscribing to for-pay streaming services, paying for a gym membership or personal trainer, or purchasing this or that weight loss supplement or meal plan. Instead of starting the new year off in debt try one (or all!) of these free tips to keep you motivated and help you reach your health and fitness goals. Forget that $50/month shake subscription! All you need is some workout clothes and maybe a yoga mat.
Find Something You Enjoy
Don’t be scared to try new things! Do a bit of research and find different types of exercises you might be interested in, then go for it! Do you want to know more about HIIT or have you always been interested in barre workouts? Find a plan online and see what it’s all about. One of the beauties of the internet is there are tons of pre-made plans out there so you can try them out in the comfort of your own home without needing to feel embarrassed in a class. If you are a bit more outgoing see if any local studios are offering specials to try out classes for free or a reduced price, then you can decide if the cost is worth it or if you’d rather stick to your apartment complex’s fitness center at no additional cost.
Find a Routine That Works
In addition to finding a program you’ll enjoy and stick to, it’s also important to figure out a schedule that works for you. Some of us will never be morning people, and if you struggle to get out of bed regardless of the time, waking up at 5 AM to workout every day isn’t a sustainable routine. If you work from home or if your office complex has a gym, maybe a quick lunchtime workout is best. Maybe you should try working out as soon as you get home for the day, before other daily tasks get in the way. Or, if you’re a night owl there’s no harm in working out late at night as long as you can still get a full night’s sleep. Circa’s fitness center is open 24/7, so it’s available whatever time of day (or night!) works best for you.
Use Free Technology
There are tons of free apps and streaming services to try out, no matter if you’re just starting out or are already a fitness pro. Check out YouTube for virtual workout classes from yoga to HIIT to barre. You can also download free apps to your tablet or mobile device to help you achieve your fitness goals, depending on your needs. There are apps to help train for 5k races, challenge you to squats, pushups, and lunges every day, and help keep track of daily water and caloric intake, to name a few. The point is you don’t have to shell out a lot of money for the name-brand workout programs you see promoted on social media all the time. Start with what’s available then you can branch out if you think it would be worth it for you.
Get a Workout Buddy
It’s easy to make excuses to yourself and rationalize your own bad behavior, but it’s more difficult to argue with someone else. Find a friend who is also wanting to work on their health and hold each other accountable. Tell each other your larger goals, and what smaller steps you’re going to take to reach those goals. Make time to talk at regular intervals (bi-weekly, weekly, or daily—whatever works best for you), and don’t be afraid to call each other out on the excuses. If you’re able to, consider joining a fitness class together or if you both live in the same apartment community try to work out in the fitness center together on a regular basis.
Try Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is a relatively new concept that’s turning traditional diet culture on its head. Rather than pay an arm and a leg each month for expensive shakes or pre-made meal plans, intuitive eating is a more personalized approach to food. It doesn’t necessarily limit what you can and can’t eat (though it’s always a good idea to choose smart, healthy options rather than overly processed food), but instead makes think more about what you’re putting in your body and how it makes you feel. Before you eat something, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or maybe you’re thirsty or just bored. After you eat think about how the food made you feel. Do carbs make you feel bloated and sluggish? Consider trying out a low-carb diet. If you still feel not-so-great afterward, maybe it wasn’t the carbs that were the culprit and you can try reducing dairy, or other types of food.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have before starting a fitness or diet plan.