7 Fitness Items You Need to Start the New Year Right
I love New Year’s. It’s the perfect time to reflect on all the wonderful blessings I’ve had over the past twelve months. It’s also a great time to regroup and think about what I’d like to learn, see or do in the next year.
I know some people scoff at resolutions, but I think it’s a powerful idea to declare what you want even if you’re not perfect at the execution. No one is perfect. Hell, even GREAT people don’t succeed 50% of the time. Think of some of the best baseball players of all time. What is their average? Like they hit the ball 3 or 4 times out of ten to make it into the hall of fame? So, I think it’s important to let go of the idea of “I’ve got to be perfect or I’m a failure” – especially when it comes to health and fitness.
This is the first year I haven’t had a strength, endurance, or body fat percentage goal in mind. This year, I’m all about having a healthy baby and making sure my labor is as easy as possible. (And I’d like to minimize stretch marks, is that too vain?)
However, most people I know would like to whittle down their body fat so I’ve put together a basic list of what needs to be in the house on New Year’s Eve so people can hit the ground running (literally) on New Year’s Day.
- Exercise Shoes. I love the look and smell of new workout shoes. For me, Saucony or Brooks fit my foot well and I can find them on sale at places like Big 5. No need to spend $100 on shoes. I find plenty around the $39.99 mark or lower. If you’re not running a marathon in the next three or four months, then just grab a good fitting lace-up shoe with arch support if you need it. (And please don’t do those unstable walking “rocker” shoes that are supposed to help tone your butt muscles or whatever they claim. I’ve seen lots of injuries from those and no proof they are the least bit effective.) Just make sure you have decent workout shoes.
- Water Bottle. Please move away from plastics as much as possible (unless you want man-boobs or other hormone-related problems) and instead grab either a stainless steel bottle or a glass bottle surrounded in bamboo. A good workout bottle really helps you with your water intake and you know you should be drinking more water. My favorite is Under Armour’s 24-oz Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Sports Bottle. I can clean it easily, the beverage stays super cold for twelve hours and the mouth is small enough to drink water without it sloshing over my face. It’s pricey at $29.99, but it’s my favorite.
- Vegetables. Yes, I know it’s generic, but fresh or frozen veggies are key to flattening out the belly. They say that abs are made in the kitchen and it’s completely true. Pick one of these veggies to eat at every meal: spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, Brussels sprouts, bell pepper, cauliflower, cucumber. Anything you can put on a sandwich you can put on a salad instead. Spinach and broccoli can be put in eggs in the morning. You can eat celery and carrots with hummus for a snack. Bell peppers are delicious and have more vitamin C than an orange. Eat them raw or sauté them with a lean protein for dinner.
- Lean Proteins. This is when a Costco membership is effective. I can get a huge bag of frozen organic chicken breasts for $18. They also have 5-pound bags of powdered protein available, grab-and-go protein shakes, lean buffalo meat, fresh seafood, frozen white fish, canned white tuna, and mounds of legumes for vegetarians. Make sure you’ve got some in the house before January 1st. Eating protein first when you’re hungry will help you lose body fat and keep you from craving the crap.
- Green Powder. I’ve talked about the wonders of green powders before (which typically includes wheat grass, seaweed, algae and probiotics) and I swear it’s making my pregnancy much easier, too. ALL my clients take a green powder and see a difference in their weight loss efforts, energy levels, and boosts in their immune systems. I think it’s a cheap and easy way to avoid the flu everyone else is going to get. Just drink it down in the morning with your breakfast and you’ll avoid nutrient-based cravings later in the day and you’ll feel energized without coffee.
- Workout Clothes. Do you need new exercise clothes? Of course not. But it’s fun to reward yourself with a new outfit and take advantage of some of the latest advances in gear like compression clothing. (Butt-lifting capri pants, anyone?) My favorites right now are Champion’s Women’s Shape Knee Tight. I got them off Amazon for $42 and they are amazing!
Exercise Classes, Gym Memberships, Workout Buddies, or a Personal Trainer. Just pick something and make a plan. It might just be to meet your friend for a power walk before work, or make a weight loss bet with a coworker and meet at lunch time for a quick workout after supporting each other with a healthy lunch choice. Maybe you want to take the plunge and get a personal trainer? The American Council on Exercise website can help you find a certified coach near you. Groupon and LivingSocial have discounted fitness classes all the time so you can try something new without a big financial commitment.
Even if you haven’t picked up a weight or taken a power walk in the last year, this list can help you start off the New Year with a bang. A little prep work and a little planning are key to making those weight-loss goals a reality.
Happy New Year! And if you want to share your goals, please post to the comments below.
Photo 1 courtesy of Shutterstock.