It’s January, and that means it’s yet another fresh start. This time, we might have a better idea of what it’s in store (*ahem* you know what I’m talking about), but it doesn’t make turning your new year’s resolution into an actionable item any easier. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones, and 2021 really was your year. You’re feeling ready to take on 2022 with vigor and energy rivaled only by kids shoving down broccoli in anticipation of dessert. But if the arrival of 2022 has yet to fill you with glee, then know that we’ve got 25 smart (read: easy) ways to kick off your fitness journey this year.
Our guess is you’re here because you have a goal, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it or even where to start. First up, your goal can’t be a wishy-washy idea. It has to be attainable and thought out. Something you can clearly see yourself progressing towards. So ditch the “I am *finally* going to get fit in 2022” mantra that hasn’t served you for the past ten years, and set a SMART goal. Your thinking will shift, and so will your results.
Got your new goal? Know your why? Great! Now add in these genius fitness tips to achieve your resolution and you’ve got yourself a veritable fitness success on your hands.
#1 Going Too Big, Too Fast
“One of the biggest mistakes I see in January is trying to change too much all at once, which almost always backfires. Instead of trying to eat drastically less, for example, start with simply eating better. Aim to increase your dietary fiber intake by consuming more fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds as well as whole-grain breads. In addition to increasing fiber, aim to prioritize protein at every meal to keep you full and satiated and balance your blood sugars,” says April Whitney, certified fitness and nutrition coach and Founder of The Petite PWR Program.
#2 Know Your Goal
We weren’t joking! Your success has everything to do with your outset. If you know what you want to do, you have a much higher chance of doing it. So really dig in. Ask yourself the hard questions, and future you will benefit. SMART goals, not your thing? Then maybe the WOOP method is for you.
#3 Don’t Underestimate the Power of Sleep
The importance of sleep isn’t news. But when it comes to setting goals and keeping them—energy to do so is key. Stop looking at your screens at least an hour before bed, and get a bedtime routine in place. It doesn’t matter what the routine is, although we do have some hot takes.
#4 Make Time for Daily Movement
Daily exercise is a proven tool for fitness. But it’s important not to get too caught up in the details. It’s not so much (intense) daily exercise that will make the difference but making the time to focus on you and adding daily movement into your life. This is especially important if you’re working from home because those easy 5,000 steps you used to get on your commute are a thing of the past. So be sure to set aside time for exercise.
#5 Add A 5-Minute Meditation to Your To-Do
Fitness isn’t just about your body, a healthy mind is a big part of a successful fitness plan. It can be as easy as downloading an app (Headspace is great) or following our best meditation tips to start building a practice.
#6 Eat Higher Quality Food
It’s no secret that a calorie deficit is key to weight loss. But simply cutting your calorie intake doesn’t make the change alone. Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health pointed out that it’s just as much about what you are eating as it is how much. By shifting your focus to high-quality foods (high in protein, complex carbs, low sugar), you will feel better and have more energy to spend on the rest of your day than if you cut calories but keep eating crap.
Need a little extra help getting started? Use our Body Check to find out exactly what you need to meet your goals and get customized nutrition and training plans delivered to your inbox.Start Your Body Check
#7 Walk While You Talk
If you’re looking to shed some pounds quickly, make sure you take all your calls on the go. Just pop your headphones in and take a stroll whenever you’ve got to catch up with friends and family. That hour-long catch-up just turned into an hour-long low-intensity workout. Win win.
#8 Prioritize Eating Breakfast
To eat breakfast or not to eat, that is the question. But it turns out that eating breakfast is better for you than you may be giving it credit. But the most important part of a healthy breakfast isn’t just eating it. It’s about a balanced breakfast that’s high in protein and paired with healthy fats and complex carbs.
Try our Protein Pancakes if you’re looking for a healthy breakfast with a side of indulgence.
#9 Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Fiber
“Fiber is an essential nutrient. However, many Americans fall short of the recommended daily amount in their diets,” says Holly Larson, MS, RD. To start, you need to know the recommendation, which is 30 grams per day according to the NHS. There are many fiber-rich foods, so don’t reach for a supplement right away.
#10 Cut Down on the Alcohol
It’s easy to forget that alcohol is a serious offender when leading a fit life. It’s a depressant, high in calories, and can lead to epic drunchies. So skip the cocktail or glass of wine and opt for a non-alcoholic drink instead.
#11 Start Lifting Weights
Lifting weights is key for weight loss, which might seem counterintuitive, but trust us. Gaining muscle means you’ll burn more calories even when you’re in a resting state. Not to mention that 1 pound of muscle is about the size of a tangerine, while 1 pound of fat is the size of a grapefruit. See the benefits?
#12 Add Chia Seeds to Water
We saw the trend on TikTok, but adding chia seeds to water might be more than an internet fad. Bonnie Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian, told Insider that chia water has its place in fitness goal rotation. The mix of protein and healthy fat “can make you feel full and last longer in your system without causing your blood sugar to spike.” Not to mention all the other benefits of chia seeds.
#13 Stack your Habits
Building healthy habits is key to meeting and sticking to your goals. Sharon Gam, PhD, CSCS, ACE-HC, of Sharon Gam Fitness, says, “It takes time and a lot of repetition to build lasting habits, but you can make the process faster and easier by leveraging your existing habits.” Take this example from Gam. If you want to become more flexible and you’re already a coffee drinker, you can pair stretching with your existing habit. It works like this: while your water boils, you stretch, and then you have both done work towards a great cup of joe and your flexibility goal. “Once you do this consistently, stretching will become a habit in itself, and then you can build on it,” says Gam.
#14 Stop Making Excuses!
The worst thing you can do for your fitness goals is make an excuse. When you make excuses you give yourself an out and the opportunity to keep delaying your goals—and ultimately your happiness. Instead, find the motivation tactic that works for you and start holding yourself accountable.
#15 Burn Calories Without Thinking About It
How could that even be possible? We promise it is! It’s all about NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, meaning the activities you do every day (like vacuuming, walking up the stairs, or carrying your groceries home from the store). The more of these you do, the more calories you burn without much additional effort.
#16 Keep a Gratitude Journal
Not all fitness journeys are physical—it’s just as important to have a fit mind. It’s as easy as 5 minutes (or 5 sentences) a day to say what you’re thankful for. Not sure where to start? We’ve got a journaling how-to just for you.
#17 Fill Your Plate with Vegetables
Vegetables can keep you full longer, not to mention they just plain fill you up. One study even found that eating salad before pasta significantly reduced calorie intake—as if you needed more proof that you should load up on veggies. It’s never a bad idea to throw a few more leafy greens on your plate.
#18 Prep Your Meals
Last-minute calories can be a real goal-killer, which is why prepping your weekly meals and coming up with a food game plan is one of the most crucial tips. When you plan your meals, you can also count your macros and micros, which is the key to ensuring you’re eating high-quality food—remember that one?
#19 Put Weight Loss Out of Mind
Are you still laser-focused on weight loss as your end goal? Shift your focus. One study has shown that focusing on being fit and healthy will lead to consistently better results than emphasizing weight loss alone. Make sure that this is reflected not only by your goal, but also your actions. Intuitive eating is a great place to start.
#20 Find Exercise You Love
Despite what you may have been conditioned to think, exercise doesn’t have to be hard. Or, worse yet, something you dread. Bellydance instructor Rosa Noreen says, “I suggest that people find a form of exercise in an environment that is affirming and helps them to feel good in their bodies. When you start with a positive environment, it’s easier to keep going because you want to have that experience over and over.”
#21 Make Fitness a Group Activity
Need a little help from your friends? Try connecting via a social app. If you’re a runner, you and your friends can set challenges on Nike Run Club. If you’re looking for something a little more social where fellow fitness buffs can join in, then download MyFitnessPal. Or if weekly step challenges are more your vibe, find your friends on Fitbit. If you’re trying to keep your fitness a little more lo-fi, then finding local exercise meetups is also a great choice.
#22 Make Dinner a Painless Affair
If your goal is weight loss and dinner is your worst nightmare, then let us introduce you to your new BFF: the Shape Shake 2.0. Perfect for anyone looking to shed a few pounds with ease without being shackled to meal prep will love the variety of flavors and and easy-to-follow instructions. Dinner in under 3 minutes? You bet! For Shape Shake 2.0 to contribute to weight loss it needs to replace two meals a day as part of an energy restricted diet.
#23 Give Your Muscles the Nutrients They Need
Maybe your goal is less about shedding pounds and more about getting strong. For you, add Whey Protein to your must-have list! Our state-of-the-art protein is formulated to help your muscles grow—protein contributes to growth in muscle mass—and therefore can support you getting strong.
#24 Do Something Today
It might seem cliché, but you just have to start. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or one hour. It’s all about giving yourself the freedom to start your journey with what you have. Don’t wait for the perfect moment—it’ll never come! Instead, tell yourself that right now is the right moment. Believe it. Go do something that’ll make you feel good right now. Tomorrow, do a little more.
#25 Drink Water
Surprised you made it this far before hearing the magic word? Don’t think its spot at the bottom of the list makes it any less important than #1. Not only is water key to staying hydrated and healthy, but drinking more water helps you cut down on drinkable calories (soda and juice, we’re looking at you). So stay hydrated. The benefits are far-reaching.
BONUS! Don’t Make Getting Fit Your End-All
Life is a journey, and so is fitness. Be nice to yourself and offer yourself actionable solutions instead of trying to fix everything at once. The best progress comes from slow and steady work. So allow yourself the time needed to make the changes you desire. It doesn’t mean waiting for the perfect moment of motivation. It simply means to start your journey today and add on what you can when you’re ready.
More healthy living tips from foodspring: