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Tips for maintaining your New Year's fitness resolutions

Dec. 25, 2011 at 6:25 a.m.


Every year, most of us start the New Year with at least a couple of things we want to do differently.

For many, that includes losing weight, exercising and developing healthier eating habits.

If these goals are at the top of your list, try these tips to keep you going well past January.

Exercise with a friend, including the four-legged kind

Being accountable to someone else helps you get out there, even when you don't feel like it.

Once you get started, the conversation and camaraderie will help you finish a great workout.

Focus on one or two diet changes

For many people, switching to a radically restrictive diet lasts for about three days.

To ensure better success, I tell my clients to choose one or two changes they would like to achieve. Some examples include cutting out soda of all kinds, cutting back on bread and switching from fried foods to healthier versions, such as grilled or roasted.

Another change can be to police portion sizes.

Train your eyes to understand what four ounces of chicken looks like. It is approximately the size of a deck of cards.

A great website that can help is foodnetwork.com. Type "portion sizes" in the search box.

Get some help

If it has been a while since you hit the gym, join a class or hire a personal trainer to get you started right.

Having someone coach you through your workout will make your experience more pleasant, avoid injuries and keep you motivated.

Remember success is measured in very small steps

The scale is not the only way to measure your results.

Pay attention to your increased energy levels, better sleep patterns, clothes fitting better and a better outlook on life.

These small, incremental steps can be just the thing to get you out the door and moving.

Missing a workout or pigging out is not an excuse to quit

We all have our days when, despite our best intentions, we have a few missteps.

Don't let those events derail you. The only time you lose is when you throw up your hands and give up completely.

Participate in a wide variety of exercises

Adding a yoga or Pilates class to your running and strength training routine helps to maintain flexibility and prevent injury.

It also adds spice to your fitness routine. Doing the same thing, day in and day out, leads to boredom and a lack of progress towards your goals.

No more excuses

It is time to put aside all the reasons why you can't exercise and focus on how you are going to move toward a healthier lifestyle.

Making changes is never easy, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Today is a great day to get started. See you at the gym!

Melissa Bagnall is certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in physical education and the owner of Fitness Solutions. You can reach her at: www.fitnesolutions.com or fitnesolutions@gmail.com.

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