Chances are that as the clock hit midnight on 1-1-17, you set some New Year’s Resolutions. A new year brings this sudden rush of enthusiasm that inspires us to set new goals. Now that it’s more than halfway through the year, there are many of us who have fallen short of sticking to our goals. In fact, we might have abandoned goals for the year. Remember, it doesn’t matter how many times you fail to achieve your goals. What does matter is that you get back up, brush the dirt off your shoulders, discover a new intention, set kind and achievable goals, and go for it. Here are a few tips to help you reignite your goals of exercising and leading a more active and mindful lifestyle. There’s no better time than now!
- Be optimistic, but set realistic goals: If you are new to an exercise routine, setting harsh and over-the-top goals will stress you, burn you out, and discourage you. Don’t expect your body to magically bust out a 2-hour workout every day of the week. Your body doesn’t work that way. Be optimistic and set an exercise goal that increases your physical activity from your normal routine, but don’t be extreme. Ideally, I recommend that you at least engage in 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity 5 times per week.
- Be adventurous: Don’t be afraid to explore a new workout routine, yoga, martial arts, or a dance class. GO TRY IT! Be open to new sensations and tune into your body and how it reacts to new exercises. You may be pleasantly surprised by the relaxation and thrill you get from moving your body.
- Wild thing, you make my heart beat: Go outside and make your workout wild. Take advantage of the great outdoors and plan to go on a hike at a national park or simply go to your local city park. Take advantage of the runners’ paths to do your cardio (run, jog, walk). To increase resistance, run on the grassy areas at your park, on the sand at the beach, or incorporate inclines and hills. Take advantage of the jungle gyms and other exercise areas in your park that you can use to stretch, do crunches, pull-ups, and push-ups. You’ll get fresh air and sunlight (needed for vitamin D), and save money on going to the gym while supporting your local community.
- Be fearless and forget about being embarrassed: On countless occasions, I’ve heard from friends and clients who tell me that they don’t want to go work out, because they are uncomfortable with exercising in public. No one is looking at you while you work out. Most people who go to the gym, martial arts classes, or Yoga are there with the same purpose as you – to lead a healthier life. Everyone at one point or another is a beginner, so don’t get discouraged or embarrassed if you don’t know how to get into a Yoga pose or do a Kung Fu move. Just keep at it. You don’t need to feel pressured to be perfect. Appreciate your body, embrace its current fitness state, and find gratitude for how capable your body already is.
- Set an intention for your exercise regimen: I must give credit to my Yoga teachers and my parents for teaching me this exercise philosophy. Exercising is intense and can bring some sensations that test your stamina, coordination, strength, and speed. Sometimes, it can even be a bit painful. When I feel like I am being pushed to my limits, I think of a high intention. When I think of a loved one or something I am passionate about while I work out, I get this sudden surge of energy that inspires me to keep on going. So set an intention and send all the positive energy you create during your workout to someone you care about.
- Listen to your body: Know when your body needs a rest or break. If you haven’t slept or have not eaten or drank enough water during the day, then don’t workout. Go home, hydrate, eat some wholesome food, and get rest. Pushing yourself to work out when you are exhausted or not well-nourished can lead to injury or illness. Also, don’t exercise when you’re feeling sick. If you are feeling under the weather, choose restorative forms of exercise like a brisk walk or a restorative yoga class. If you push yourself too much when you are unwell, it will only prolong your recovery period. Make sure to have at least one day of rest from intense physical activity.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate: I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink water. Not just once or twice during the day, but your fluid intake should be consistent throughout the day. Make drinking water a habit. Buy a reusable water bottle (12 to 18 oz) and carry it around with you all day. Set a goal to refill your water bottle at least 4 to 5 times a day. Men are recommended to drink about 3 liters (13 cups) of fluid and women 2.2 liters (about 10 cups). Juice, tea, coffee, beverages, and food contribute to your daily fluid intake, but try to drink pure water most of the time. Spice up water by adding citrus, mint, basil, cilantro, dill, rosemary, or berries, or try drinking sodium-free, sweetener-free, sparkling water.
- Nourish your body before and after your workout: You need to put fuel in your body in order to workout. Eat a small snack 1-2 hours before exercising. I suggest eating fruit (a banana with 2 teaspoons of almond/hazelnut butter is my absolute favorite), oranges, apples, pears, mango and pineapple salad. A small, whole-wheat toast smeared with peanut butter. Personally, immediately after working out I need to eat a small snack. It helps me feel refueled and reenergized and helps me enjoy the positive effects of my workout. Having a mindful post-workout snack or meal helps to replenish your body’s energy stores (glycogen stores) and promotes muscle and tissue repair. Other pre-/post-workout snack suggestions include: yogurt parfait, a fruit smoothie with protein, or hummus and veggies.
Example of the perfect pre-workout snack: 1 cup of sliced mango or 1 medium size mango
- Find a community of friends that can inspire you to workout: Find a workout buddy or friends that inspire you to get your body moving. For me, a lot of my inspiration comes from my loving and energetic yoga teachers and my family. Hearing about the positive health benefits from my brother who practices Kung Fu always inspires me to workout. Finding a community of people who share your interest is always positive. Workout with your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner and go on dates or outings that make you move – walk at the beach or park, or go for a bicycle ride together.
- Smile when you work out and be kind to yourself. Adopting a healthy philosophy takes time and commitment. No matter what, don’t get discouraged and put your best effort forward. If you stick to your new active lifestyle, you will see amazing changes in your physical, mental, and spiritual health. By working out at least 30 minutes to 1 hour, 4-5 days a week, you will feel energized, sleep better and you’ll see changes in your body and mind.
Have FUN and don’t get stressed about working out. Put on some jams- and remember to take Kanye’s advice… “So first of all we gon’ work on the stomach, Nobody wants a little tight a** booty !” 😀
Here’s a fun, upbeat, and meditative Workout and Yoga Playlist to get you pumped for your new amazing exercise goals!
Remember to share your exercise and fitness goals on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #aliceinfoodieland #nutreyoga
Feel free to add your fitness and Yoga questions and feedback on the comments section. I love connecting with you and hearing about your new workout routines and Yoga classes!
Work It Out…Baby We Can Work It Out
Happy Eating + Mindful Living! Namaste Y’all!