If you dream of turning that muffin top into a six-pack by spring break, now’s the time to hit the gym. AMA is even offering a little extra incentive to get you into your workout clothes: A one-year membership at Anytime Fitness for the price of ten months (that’s two months free). Once you’ve signed up, heed this advice from Anytime Fitness expert Brodey Richardson on how to stay motivated and on-track to achieving your fitness goals.
GET A CONSULTATION
It can be scary setting foot in a gym if you haven’t been to one for a while. You may have known your way around a treadmill or stationary bike back in the day, but how comfortable are you around today’s cardio machines? A consultation is a great way to familiarize yourself with your gym and learn about the equipment. Don’t be shy during the walk-around. Ask questions and talk about your goals. A consultation is not supposed to be a sales pitch, so don’t feel obligated to sign up for personal training. At Anytime Fitness, a consultation consists of an equipment orientation and information session. Trainers will review your goals, demo the equipment and get you on the machines to ensure you’ll be comfortable using them on your own.
SET ATTAINABLE GOALS
Many newbies set themselves up for failure with unrealistic goals. You’ll have a better chance of achieving fitness goals that are set using the SMART method: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
Speaking of realistic goals, how much weight can you lose in a week? Generally, one to two pounds per week is a reasonable number. Any more than that and you’ll burn lean muscle mass. Worst of all, precipitous weight loss is often gained back again if/when you stop exercising.
INVEST IN PERSONAL TRAINING
Getting back in shape is by no means simple, but it can be easier when you’re accountable to someone. A personal trainer is your gym bestie. It’s her job to motivate you to reach your goals and set you up for success on your own. Plus, it’s a lot harder to blow off a workout when someone is waiting at the gym for you.
How much training you need is a matter of personal choice. Some people sign up for a handful of sessions before going off on their own. Others book weekly check-ins to help them stay on track and motivated. Regardless of the amount of time you plan to put in, your trainer should educate and coach you to improve yourself; you shouldn’t be completely reliant on her. Your end goal should be to stay on-program without a personal trainer.
EASE INTO A DIET
When it comes to eating more healthily, start with small adjustments rather than going for a complete overhaul. Gradually ease into making healthier choices and reducing your caloric intake. For example, instead of cutting sugary soft drinks completely out of your diet, work toward making them an occasional treat rather than a daily habit. People who make drastic changes very quickly may lose weight… only to regain it when they’re finished with their extreme diet. Small changes tend to be more sustainable.
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GET SOME SLEEP
Getting the right amount of sleep (typically seven to nine hours nightly, for adults) is extremely important when you’re working out regularly. Sleep is how your body recharges itself. If you’re not getting enough rest, your energy levels will drop and, among other things, you’ll end up exercising at a lower intensity. Research also shows that people who don’t get sufficient, quality sleep tend to binge eat more than those who are sleeping well.
If you don’t have the money for personal training or just need a small push, there are fitness apps that can help you achieve your goals. The Anytime Fitness App is free for gym members and has hundreds of workout plans for beginner, intermediate and advanced users. You can pick a daily workout based on a variety of goals, such as strength, weight loss, bodybuilding and sports training.
On the diet side of the equations, a good app for tracking your caloric intake is My Fitness Pal, which features nutrition and caloric info for more than five million foods.
HOW TO SAVE
Member savings: Get a one-year membership for the price of ten months at Anytime Fitness
Be well: Save 10% on spa services and 25% on drop-in yoga classes at Bliss Yoga Spa