Starting with small changes can go a long way. Just because each New Year is a new attempt at achieving those fitness goals you’re constantly aiming for, it doesn’t mean you should give up trying every time. We’ve rounded up 17 tips from local health experts that you can totally do (whether you’re a beginner or a total pro) to give you that push you need to achieve your fitness goals.
1. Find a compelling reason to motivate you.
Do you want to build muscle? Gain or lose weight? Run that 10k or marathon, or climb that mountain? Fit back into your favorite jeans, or achieve a butt like Kim K’s? Whatever it is, find that main motivation so you can start working towards it. According to Nadine Tengco, diet coach to stars like Anne Curtis, Solenn Heussaff, Belle Daza, and Jessy Mendiola, "Change is not a matter of ability, but of psychology." That being said…
2. Love the way you look—or aspire to do so.
"While health is a more 'noble' motivator than vanity for transforming our unhealthy habits, the threat of a future disease is not powerful enough to drive us to create changes in the way we eat, exercise, or manage stress. Foreseeable pain is not an emotional reality, even if it is a logical certainty. People will only do something to avoid pain they already experienced or are already experiencing," says Tengco. "[That’s why I think] vanity is a powerful motivator. It is not always about conceit. It can be about the joy of looking good. Looking good leads to feeling good. A lifestyle change motivated by vanity, if accomplished through healthy rituals will also deliver health. You can hit two birds with one stone."
3. Get that yearly checkup.
As the saying goes, health-wise, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bok Santos, certified personal trainer and coach whose client list has included Kathryn Bernardo, Denise Laurel, Zanjoe Marudo, and JC De Vera, says you should make it a point to get an annual check up before anything else. Your health should be a priority, and it will do a lot to prevent the possibility of more serious illness. "Importante ‘yan para ma-monitor kung alin ang mataas o delikado sa 'yo," says Santos. "This way, sa simula pa lang, alam mo na kung ano ang mga bawal kainin sa diet mo."
4. Start small.
We’re not expecting you to go from zero to hero right away—start by putting in a sweat sesh once a week, if that’s all you can manage. Santos suggests aiming to jog or walk three to five kilometers on the weekends. "Isipin mo na lang, na you burn what you ate during the week," says Santos. Once you’ve established it as a weekend routine, consider adding it to your weekday schedule, and keep this mantra in mind.
5. Have a sweat sesh before you check your social media.
Kat Geronimo, creator of the Body By Mama Kat and personal trainer to stars like Jessy Mendiola and Megan Young, says training first thing in the morning gives you a great energy boost for the rest of the day, and gets your exercise for the day done with. "If you have time for social media, then you definitely have time to work out," says Geronimo.
6. If you can’t read it, don’t eat it!
"Make good nutrition a part of your everyday habits until it becomes the norm for your life," says Geronimo. Avoid processed foods with waaay too many suspicious ingredients—nourish your body with fresh ingredients and you’ll be surprised at the difference it will do.
7. Be stronger than your strongest excuse.
We have a lot more willpower than we realize or give ourselves credit for. Just keep trying and keep pushing yourself. "Every day, and every year, we get a chance to renew and push our limits to become the best version of ourselves. Focus on your goal and just don’t give up," says Geronimo. "It’s been my mantra for a while now and it has helped me get started and continue on my fitness journey."
8. Learn how to meditate.
"Mindfulness and self-awareness are huge skills everyone should know, and it is easy to achieve through meditation," says Chris Everingham, health professional and national strength and conditioning coach of the Philippine Volcanoes. "A simple breathing routine first thing in the morning is enough. Start at 60 seconds and then try to build up to three to give minutes. It'll change your outlook on the day, week and may even open the door to transforming your life."
9. Get your plan right from the start.
According to Arnold Aninion, Men’s Physique athlete and personal trainer to celebs like Anne Curtis, this is key to success. "See a physical therapist or a nutritionist if you have to and identify what exactly you want to do," says Aninion. "In any case, you have to decide for yourself and put together the best strategies to achieve your weight loss goals and then start to build your new body."
10. Add fasted cardio to your workout mix.
"Fasted cardio is a great way to kickstart your metabolism and quickly ignite the fat burning process," says Aninion. "One of my favorites is walking at medium intensity on the treadmill at the highest incline for around 25 minutes, followed by a 15-minute ab workout comprised of three sets of crunches times 30, three sets of hanging leg raises times 20, and three sets of cable crunches times 30 also. Most of this will depend on your level of fitness so expect to make adjustments for your level." No access to a treadmill? Then—
11. Improvise if you don’t have equipment.
Running intervals around your neighborhood gives the same kind of exercise you’ll get on a treadmill. "Live in a condo? Use the stairs!" says Aninion. "If you really wanna be accurate you can always buy a heart rate monitor to measure your calories burned and set a target heart rate."
12. Get lifting!
If you’re still worried lifting weights will make you look like a bodybuilder, then you’re waaay behind on the times. Any trainer or expert will agree. "Not only do you burn fat, but by lifting weights, you also build strength, and your body literally has no choice but to recruit more muscle fibres," says Aninion. "The more muscle fibers, the greater the intensity you can train at, and your body becomes more and more efficient at burning fat."
13. Be efficient at the gym.
According to Aninon, if you want results, you have to be ready to commit to working out.
"Go to the gym regularly, put together a specific workout split that meets your fitness goals (for example, Monday for upper body, Wednesday for lower body, etc.), and get the right tools like a training belt and some lifting straps to protect your hand," he says.
14. Get into interval training.
"Combining high intensity exercise with low intensity exercise as a recovery period yields greater results in weight loss and greatly improves your overall athletic ability," says Aninion. "I combine short distance sprints (nothing longer then 50 meters) with calisthenic movements such as mountain climbers, burpees, and vertical jumps." Here’s an example you can do:
"Start with 10 vertical jumps then after the last jump, run a full distance of 50m at 100% effort and walk back to the start point. Repeat for a full three sets and rest for two minutes. Do this for three to four rounds; change up the low intensity movement to either a burpee or mountain climbers."
15. Get a fitness partner.
Having a friend with you on your journey to fitness and health makes a big difference. Keep each other motivated and accountable to your goals, and make working out together part of the fun. "Turn exercise into a competition," says Aninion. He suggests interval training with a friend—you don’t need any exercise equipment; just look for a clear field near you or an empty road you can run on.
16. You gotta have commitment, consistency, and desire.
To achieve any kind of goal, you’ll need these three factors. "Your desire to achieve your goal must be unmatched. You must remain committed and consistent whether it’s in the gym or out there on the track," says Aninion.
17. Learn to love yourself.
All things considered, we owe it to ourselves to come to terms with and love the skin we’re in. Being healthy is important—don’t forget, healthy doesn’t mean any particular body size or shape—but whether you think you need to get fit, change your lifestyle, or simply change your mindset, you owe it to yourself to love you.
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