NEWBERRY — The beginning of a new year, filled with resolutions and hope for bettering ourselves, often leads to thoughts of healthier eating and more exercise, gym memberships, and diets.
Jessica Shealy with Anytime Fitness offered tips to the community for sticking to goals, offering a different mindset to the term “resolution.”
Shealy said overall she does not like the resolution approach that people generally take each new year.
“Wasn’t it Einstein that said doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a sure sign of insanity? If that’s true, I find it ironic that people set similar goals year after year, and yet fail to reach those goals year after year,” Shealy said.
Although Shealy said it is clear that the population wants to make changes, she feels it is our mindset that needs to change.
“You have to determine how committed you are to living a lifestyle of health. After all, it takes dedication and hard work to exercise consistently, make healthy food choices most of the time, and get adequate sleep each night,” Shealy said.
Shealy said when we decide that revamping a lifestyle is more important to us than reaching a short-term goal for 2014, then new year’s resolutions will become thoughts of the past.
For those who lead busy lifestyles filled with work and hectic family schedules, Shealy recommends making fitness and nutrition another priority. To do this, Shealy said to take an inventory of your week on Sunday nights, figuring out which days seem lighter or heavier than others in terms of work or family responsibilities.
By attempting to plan your workout routine and meals around your schedule, doing the “right” thing could seem much more manageable.
“For example, maybe you need to pack more comprehensive snacks if you have a meeting during lunch, or maybe you need to create a reminder so you remember to take frozen meat out of the freezer the night before you cook it,” Shealy said. “We typically schedule things we don’t want to forget, so why not schedule meals and workouts, too?”
Eating healthy snacks rather than chips and candy bars is also a good way to begin the new year. Below is a short list of alternatives to snacking Shealy provided:
• Celery and carrots with low-fat dip
• Plain yogurt with granola and blueberries
• Whole grain crackers with hummus
• Cottage cheese with apple slices
• Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts
• String cheese and a banana
• Half of a whole grain bagel with peanut butter
• Low-sodium beef jerky
• Rice cakes with lean ham or turkey
• Edamame (soybeans in the pod)
Shealy said if you’re in the mood for something similar to a candy bar, go with something similar to a sports nutrition bar. The main difference is that sports bars are more balanced with additional protein and less fat. They also typically have more vitamins and minerals as well.
Although strength training is an important part of an exercise regimen, Shealy said cardiovascular exercise should definitely be front-and-center when it comes to exercise routines.
“Your heart is the single most important muscle in your entire body. There’s really no reason to avoid cardio,” Shealy said.
The only reason cardiovascular exercise should be limited is if a person’s primary goal is to gain weight. Shealy said that even if you’re a “hard-gainer,” you can do several sessions of low-intensity exercise per week, like walking or casual bike riding.
Per the recommendations from the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, spread ideally throughout an entire week. The guidelines also mention that doubling these recommendations provides even greater health benefits.
Shealy said that regardless of recommendations though, what people should really do is factor in personal variables such as your schedule and current fitness level.
“Gradually work your way up to recommended levels, and don’t forget to include strength training and flexibility as well,” Shealy said.
For more information, call Anytime Fitness of Newberry at 276-0211 or visit their Facebook page — Anytime Fitness Newberry. Located at 1220 Wilson Road, the Newberry location is undergoing construction and Shealy hopes it will be complete within the next month.
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.