Beware of the New Year’s resolution

Make fitness a year-long commitment

New Year’s resolutions are relatively easy to make but can be difficult to put into practice. This may be due to people not thinking a resolution through and placing too little thought into creating a strategy, focus and end goals. Making and staying true to a New Year’s resolution to start exercising or maintain fitness involves a variety of processes that should be carefully considered for optimal benefits.

Be reasonable

A person who has never exercised and who makes a New Year’s resolution to exercise for an hour every day may be setting him or herself up for failure, according to Workouts for You, a website dedicated to personalized fitness training. Instead, set goals that are obtainable within a reasonable time period. For example, a person who is 20 pounds overweight should not expect to drop that weight in a week or two, but plan for a 1- to 2-pound drop every week, setting weight-loss goals at 12-week increments, suggests Fit Watch, an online exercise and weight-loss resource.

Be specific

As you toast in your New Year, you want to toast out your mid-section. New Year’s resolutions don’t, of themselves, do anything — they are not magic bullets that can get rid of your “gut,” eliminate 15 pounds, give you huge biceps or improve your cardio health. Write down exactly what you are ready to get done — not what you want to do. Losing 2 pounds a week is a more realistic goal than trying to lose 5 pounds a week. Working out with a smart training plan twice a week is far more effective than saying: “I’m going to the gym every day in 2013!”

Be purposeful

In the first week of January many people will do crunches, crunches and more crunches, skip breakfast or work out furiously until they are sore and miserable. This is not what really works. You need a personal commitment to goal achievement, and then remember: It has to be a plan of action, not a wish list. At the end of every day, every week and every month, what really works is a combination of diet, cardio and weight and core training.

Diet 1. Reduce alcohol. Hard bodies and alcohol do not mix. Alcohol has seven calories per gram. 2. Refrain from white flour and sugar. 3. Watch your calories. An extra 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of weight gain. 4. Eat small portions. 5. Eat fresh vegetables. 6. Eat 25 grams of protein per day. Cardio 1. Increase intensity! Intensity is everything. 2. Do interval training — a five-minute warm-up, one minute of high intensity, one minute of recovery, for 30 minutes with a five-minute cool-down.

Weight training 1. Lift to get muscles. An increase in muscle mass will increase your resting metabolism. 2. Lift to failure. In a rational, non-risky way, work out hard until you can’t do any more reps.

Most importantly, always think about being healthy from the inside out.

Rina Kaplan is a registered Personal Trainer at 12th Street Gym. To learn more about Rina and more than 30 other top trainers at 12th Street, visit