Committing to goals in winter

Have you ever noticed that every season is filled with guilt?

“Get your summer body!”

“Stay away from your favorite foods this holiday season.”

“Get back on track.”

“Bulk up this winter for a six-pack this summer.”

There is a culture of guilt in the fitness industry that makes the idea of staying healthy distasteful. Better health and fitness tend to revolve around getting a six-pack or losing weight instead of improving one’s well-being, confidence and performance.

Physique goals require longterm commitment and hard work. What makes those goals — such as forming a six-pack — more unattractive is the timeframe in which one expects to reach those goals. It’s not necessarily something that will happen between January and March if you just joined a gym.

The first goal should be to build the habit of going to the gym, learning how to use the equipment and figuring out how your body works. The second goal should be to start building a specific routine and eating better. It’s OK to aim for a certain physique, and it’s OK to just want to be healthier. Just be realistic and don’t fall victim to the seasonal-fitness crazes.

Instead, create your own seasons. If weight loss, bulking or forming a six-pack is a goal, look at what areas in your life need to be adjusted. Adjust them and acknowledge that setbacks happen as life happens. Create room to reevaluate and work past setbacks.

A person’s first season could take six months or even a year, and this doesn’t need to be done alone. Hiring a trainer can help with creating a structured program and will keep a person accountable. Training with a friend can give some direction and also will keep one accountable.

Aside from the physical side of health and fitness, the most significant area of guilt revolves around food. Don’t be afraid to indulge. The stress of indulging can actually cause someone to eat more than they had intended, and if one eats more, so be it. Try to find a balance after indulging on a snack by pairing it with your exercise regimen. If you have an event planned with lots of favorite foods, eat a fibrous breakfast and a balanced lunch. To avoid any future guilt, slowly introduce healthier foods that you enjoy into your eating plan.

The key is to do this over time. Dedicate a season to adding variety into your diet. Experiment with different seasonings and modes of cooking to switch up the way your dishes taste. With the right seasonings, one can prepare favorite foods and desserts in healthier ways.

Planning meals and having a consistent workout regimen will remove the guilt from the occasional indulgences in life. Find a balance and have more fun in the process. A health journey is a lifestyle. It all comes down to good planning and balance. 

Megan Niño is a kinesiologist and personal trainer through her business Vigor Vida Fitness & Wellness. She is an energetic and positive person who prides herself on teaching others to find empowerment in their lives through fitness. She offers in-home training in Philadelphia and on the Main Line.