January 3, 2014

Silva: New year brings new goals for fitness

I looked up the definition of resolution this week. My dictionary says: “The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.”

There’s something about a new year that gets us thinking that we will be more resolute, more determined, than we’ve been before.

A new year gives us a new chance at change, and hope for a healthier and happier year.

My challenge to you as we begin this new year is this: Be determined. Be determined to be healthy and fit. Be determined to make better choices, eat better, and exercise more. And be determined enough that when things get tough, and you just don’t think you can do it (whatever that “it” is), believe in yourself and stay strong.

I also challenge you to really think about what a New Year’s resolution means and how to stick with it.

Here are some tips:

• Set a specific, reasonable goal. Simply saying “I want to get in shape this year” is not enough. Instead, make your goals something you can track as you go. Whether it’s “be able to walk 2 miles without stopping” or “finish my first half-marathon” or “be able to complete an kickboxing class at the gym without hurting,” make your goal as specific as possible.
• Write it down. Putting your resolution in writing – and making it available for others to see (maybe on the fridge or on your Facebook page) – will solidify your goal in your mind. I know when I began writing about my goal of running a marathon, having made my intention public made it harder to give up. When I was sore and tired, I stuck to my training because I knew there were people out there tracking my progress.
• Find a partner or group. I’ve written before about how important it is to have friends that can share your fitness journey with you. When you work out with a group or partner, you are forced to become accountable for showing up for every workout.
• Watch your nutrition, not your weight. Don’t worry about your weight as much as you do things like your energy level, the way your body feels and how healthy you are. Make wise food choices, but ones that are reasonable. You can’t say: “I’m cutting out all sweets.” Why? Because you and I both know that’s not realistic. If you cut down your sweets to a once-a-week treat on the weekend, then you have something to look forward to as you get through your week.
• Don’t diet! Yes, you need to learn to restrict and improve what you eat. But following a diet just doesn’t seem to work. Just like a runner can’t go from the couch to a marathon in a few weeks, you can’t go from poor eating habits to good ones that quickly, either. Make small changes to how much and what you eat. Get better as you go. And before you know it, you won’t need to go on a diet.

Considering joining a team?

If you followed my column last year, you know I joined Team in Training and ran the San Luis Obispo Marathon. Team in Training is a charitable organization in which people train for long-distance events and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The organization is having an informational meeting Jan. 9 at On the Run in McHenry Village, 1700 McHenry Ave., Suite A13, Modesto.

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