Aaron BW SMALL-with-logoThe ball has dropped, the confetti is on the floor, and the champagne has run dry. The party is over and we are now faced with our 2016 New Year’s resolutions. For many of us, including myself, this means some form of fitness, health, or wellness-related goal. December is the time of year when we get lax with our diet and exercise routine to accommodate all the festivities, vacations, celebrations, and endless delicious treats. For many of us, January comes as a blank slate to start the new year with the most ambitious goals. Each year, the intentions are strong, but the question always becomes, “How do I really adhere to my resolutions this year?”

As a personal trainer, it’s obvious what my first recommendation is going to be for most people. Do your research and find a certified personal trainer that is qualified, and has an extensive background in your specific health and fitness goals for 2016. Personal training is a great way to educate yourself on a topic with which you may not be familiar. For some, a regularly scheduled and supervised workout helps keep them on track and overcome obstacles. For some clients, working out is a chore – they would rather have a trainer program all their workouts, leaving them with little to think about regarding a training program.  However, for many of my clients, personal training is a place where they can gain knowledge about their body, learn about the latest science and nutritional information, and have a space where they can ask questions pertaining to their goals and resolutions. 

In a perfect world, everyone would be able to have a personal trainer. The reality is that personal training is expensive and can be cost prohibitive for many people. Good news: there is a plethora of ways that you can set yourself up for success to make your resolutions eventually become a part of your everyday routine. 

D4Q2580_V1-360x240Group fitness and small group training classes are currently one of the biggest trends in the fitness industry. Boutique fitness is the way the industry is moving and it’s become very apparent here in the fitness capital of the world, Los Angeles. When I am not training personal clients, I coach classes at The Phoenix Effect in Hollywood. What we are seeing is a more personalized approach toward fitness versus the old days of “Big Box” gyms. People want a trainer on specific days,a bootcamp class on other days, and then maybe hit up a yoga or cycling class a couple times a week or try one of the many new trends. Instead of belonging to one gym, people prefer to float between boutique fitness outlets and choose their classes that meet their interests and availability. The good news is that many of these classes are less costly than a gym membership and personal training fees. Often, the classes are small enough to ensure dedicated and personalized attention at a fraction of the cost of a personal training session. When I’m teaching a small group class, my focus is on making sure all my athletes are being challenged, having a good time, but most importantly, doing the exercises safely and effectively. If you’re in a market where there are a variety of studios and classes to choose from, shop around and see which studios best meet your needs. This time of year, many studios offer super low introductory rates that allow new members to get a good sense of what they have to offer. You might be surprised at what you find, and you might also be surprised at how much fun you can have exercising. One of the greatest benefits of becoming part of a local studio community is the relationships that you can build with other people who share the same health and fitness interests. These can result in long term friendships and create a healthy competition amongst athletes to push each other to reach their goals.

If group fitness isn’t your thing, or you don’t have access to programs in your area, find a workout partner or buddy – someone you can coordinate a time to work out with, to add a level of accountability to your goals. Pick a partner who has similar goals to your own. While you both don’t have to be on the exact same path, having a similar goal in mind will make the process a bit more realistic. Try a family member, a friend, or even a coworker. Websites like Craigslist have areas specifically dedicated to people looking for platonic relationships with special interests – some gyms and health clubs may also be able to pair you up with someone in a similar situation. Make sure that you and your workout partner are holding each other accountable, are encouraging and motivating to one another, and are creating a healthy level of competition that makes gym time more enjoyable for you both. 

If competition motivates you, look for fitness and nutritional challenges at local gyms or online. Many fitness clubs, bootcamps and fitness websites offer challenges this time of year, which add a healthy dose of competition in helping you reach your goals. This quarter at The Phoenix Effect, we have a 6-week nutrition challenge where athletes come together to share ideas, recipes, struggles or anything else that comes up during the challenge. We create a support group of peers and trainers who are all there to help each other out. You can also find groups that prepare for adventure races and obstacle race courses like the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. These groups usually dedicate a good amount of time to cross-training to prepare for the course itself. The best part about training for these races is that you’ll be in a fun environment where you’ll be challenged physically and mentally, where you’ll be able to create bonds, and get a great workout in at the same time. Check out your local gyms and fitness centers to see what is available. 

If group classes, workout partners, and race training aren’t your thing, perhaps you need a more individualistic approach to keeping your New Year’s resolutions. The internet and fitness apps are great resources for self-driven athletes. There are plenty of great fitness apps that can create a workout based on your goals, track your results and even help motivate you. Many apps have access to large exercise libraries and even have video demonstrations on how to safely and correctly execute exercises. Technology can be a great tool when looking for help with fitness and nutritional planning. There is a lot of information out there – just make sure you use resources that are safe and credible. Just because you see something on the internet doesn’t always mean it is safe or appropriate for everyone. Do your research, and if you still aren’t sure, ask someone who can guide you in the right direction. 

As you can see, there are many resources available to keep you on track for your 2016 New Year’s resolutions. The most important thing in making a habit stick is finding something that you enjoy doing, and do it regularly. When you enjoy something, you are much more likely to make it a part of your daily routine. When that happens, you can make health and fitness a part of your lifestyle and save the 2017 New Year’s resolutions for other areas of your life. 

For more information or to book a class, visit www.phoenixeffectla.com.

The Phoenix Effect, a functional group fitness studio that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at 7264 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA.

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