In the joy of bringing in the new year cheer, we’ve all said these words before: “New year, new me. My new year’s resolution is to exercise more often.”
But the fact of the matter is, these workout resolutions rarely work out. It’s hard enough to get ourselves up to exercise; 365 days a year is a huge commitment.
This year, however, may be different. For many of us, going through the lockdown has opened our eyes up to a slower pace of life. We have adjusted to working from home, staying at home, and with more control over our time, many of us have been paying more attention to maintaining healthier lifestyles.
Now that 2020 has finally come to an end, we are all eager to welcome 2021 along with some positive changes to our lives. So why not start the year by actually trying to achieve our fitness goals this time around? Whether it’s continuing the workout routine you started during the circuit breaker or simply developing a brand new habit, it’s all about building up enough momentum to get into the swing of things.
Here are our top 10 hacks to help you achieve your fitness goals in 2021, all from the comfort of your home:
1. Know your fitness goals
Be aware of what you hope to achieve from your workouts. Is it to build muscle, get abs or just to fit into those old jeans again? Do your research to find out what kind of exercise is needed to tone the body parts you hope to tackle and figure out whether you need to lift more weights or do more cardio exercises to burn the calories you’ve accumulated.
Working out is not just about trying out every trending workout video, but finding a workout that is effective in helping you achieve your fitness goals.
Local fitness influencer Mandy Goh, 26, emphasizes the importance of knowing your limits as she advises readers to embark on fitness regimes catered to their fitness goals, as well as to use weights and equipment they are comfortable with. Pay attention to details such as the right posture and you’ll gradually get the hang of each workout.
2. Workout clothes to work-from-home
The inertia that keeps us from getting out of bed in the morning is a real phenomenon we know too well. Whether it’s work or working out, we’ve all felt the reluctance to get ourselves back into the swing of things.
Getting yourself dressed for work on a work-from-home day gets your mind into the right zone to get work done. Similarly, when you’re feeling lazy and lethargic, donning a cute workout set is a good reminder that you need to remain active. So get dressed and work from home in your workout clothes! Throwing on a shirt or a blazer over your workout clothes is an easy quick fix for your morning video calls. It also saves you of changing before engaging in your 10 minutes of exercise before lunch!
3. Fitness begins on your platter
Fitness isn’t all just exercise. It’s about eating right too! A healthy diet goes a long way, and the results of swapping your fast food meals for a diverse set of fruits, veggies and the necessary proteins may show on the weighing scale more obviously than a vigorous workout regime. Download an app to keep track of your meals, portions and the calories that you’ve accumulated throughout the day. Make sure your three meals are at least 4 hours apart, to give your body time to digest and burn the calories you’ve consumed from previous meals.
Remember never to starve yourself. The idea is to achieve our weight-loss goals while strengthening our bodies, not weakening them. The trick is to enjoy the foods you are eating. Rather than stuffing yourself with foods you dislike, it helps to have a selection of fruits and vegetables you love on your weekly grocery shopping list.
4. Plan workouts ahead of time
Like we do for everything else, we have to find time to schedule in our workouts. As you get into the rhythm of things, do make plans in advance to keep yourself on track. Make sure your schedule is flexible enough to fit in mini-workout sessions into pockets of your spare time throughout the day. Once you find the schedule that works best for your lifestyle, add that to your calendar and honour that schedule like you would any appointment.
5. Schedule small bursts of movement
Working out isn’t about tiring yourself out from a full day’s exercise, it’s about conserving enough energy and optimism to push yourself again the next day. A little bit of exercise goes a long way. So don’t stress yourself out with half-hour long herculean tasks. Instead, schedule a fixed five- to 10-minute workout and layer these mini workout sessions throughout the day. A mini workout before lunch 10 minutes before you take a shower is good enough to develop a habit.
6. Thrifty swaps for exercise equipment
You don’t have to commit to buying heavy (and pricey) equipment for your workouts until you’ve come up with a stable routine you are comfortable with. The last things you need are heavyweights and dumbbells that you’ll never use cluttering up your home.
Instead, swap out popular equipment for everyday objects. After all, there’s no real difference between lifting a half-kilogram weight and lifting a half kilogram bottle of water. Try replacing resistance bands with robe ties and nylons, and use a heavy book for bridge lifts. Soup cans make great weights for your bicep curls, and after you are done with your session, popping the soup in a pan makes it an easy fix for lunch.
7. Netflix, but don’t just chill
Make good use of the time you spend lounging in front of the TV. Instead of lying on the couch, make each binge session a gratifying reward for yourself by exercising as you watch your shows.
It doesn’t have to be an intensive workout. Simply sitting on an exercise ball instead of the couch engages your leg and core muscles. Walk on a treadmill or exercise your quads and thighs on an exercise bike while watching your favourite shows.
A good tip would also be to do this while watching fast-paced thrillers or exciting dramas to really keep your adrenaline going as you work out. We’re not taking your TV time away from you, we’re just making your downtime more than it is.
8. Find your special spot
Whether you are heading out for a breather or staying at home, keep a lookout for a stable location to be your dedicated workout spot. It can range in size, from anywhere spacious enough to fit your yoga mat, to the great outdoors, as long as it’s a space you can move comfortably in.
It could be a quiet gym, away from the pressures of being around already-fit body-builders or just a neighbourhood fitness corner. Either way, make good use of the facilities in your environment. With your mind at peace, even something as simple as an empty park bench can be just as effective as gym equipment.
9. Keep a training diary
Once you’ve settled on a routine, it’s good to keep a training diary to keep track of how much work you’ve done over the past week. Recall the sets of routines you have done to engage the various muscles and for weight-loss goals, keep track of your weight every couple of days. Looking back on records of the progress you’ve made helps to motivate you to push yourself further and gives you the confidence to expand your workout routines.
10. Enjoy your workout
Once you’ve curated a selection of workouts you into your exercise regime, you’ll lock that list down and all that’s left is the daily repetition of the routine.
But alas, the mundanity that comes with routine can leave us easily bored. Which is why working out needs to be made a fun experience for yourself. Incorporating little activities like playing your favourite songs or video calling a friend while exercising really helps to make keeping fit feel a little more effortless.
While starting a new workout can be challenging, it’s a good habit to get into. Of course, it does take time to find a sport or exercise that you genuinely enjoy. But we have the entire year ahead of us to stick to our workout schedules and achieve our fitness goals. Hopefully, 2021 will be the year we make our new year resolutions happen.