An Athletic Trainer's Tips To Re-boot Those Fitness Resolutions

By Jessica Poole, Certified Athletic Trainer

So you were so excited to begin chipping away at the resolution list and the balloon was burst quick. The American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) recommendations (in my first post, and second post) are steep. Its hard to get it all in with the rest of your busy life. I know how you feel.

Make the time. What are you doing the other 23.30 hours of the day? It’s only 30 minutes.

I’ve heard it all and it is 30 minutes…30 minutes more sleep…30 minutes to relax…30 minutes to do that last load of laundry or time with your spouse and kids.

So how do we make exercise a priority and meet the recommendations? It’s hard and exercise must become a lifestyle habit. Sorry folks, being lazy is not an option. So here are a few tips I’ve come up with to keep us all moving. Remember the ACSM guidelines:

Moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise at least 30 minutes/day, 5 days a week.
Vigorous cardiovascular exercise at least 20 minutes 3 of those days.
Any amount is beneficial, however the more you do, the better your health.
Make sure you check with your doctor before beginning or increasing your exercise routines.

Tip 1
Don’t stress your workout.
Exercise should relieve stress, not create it
Make your choice of exercise exciting – change things up
Change your location
Short and quick

We are busy. We are stressed. We are pulled in one hundred directions.  Exercise can help, but because of all we must accomplish in a day, excuses come quick. Combat the excuses by finding exercise that is fun and efficient. Too busy to make it to the gym? Run in your neighborhood, enjoy the crisp cold air and beg for some hot chocolate or coffee to be waiting for you when you get home. Or, better yet, prepare it ahead of time and take that other person with you. Accountability my friends.

Try  the new barre class you’ve been eying instead of sweating through the same spin class you have attended since last January.

YOGA- talk about stress relief. Give it a try.

Finally, short and intense bouts of exercise have been proven to yield similar results as the tried and true 30 minutes. So try to squeeze in 10 minutes when you can as often as you can (10-minute brisk walk, 10-minute stair climbing during lunch, then vigorous 20-minute spin at the gym). This may not work for those who are training for specific events (marathons, triathlons, cross fit games). For those needing to maintain a schedule, you can split the workouts, or cross train, or complete it before the day begins. Be creative and make it fun!

Tip 2
One workout to go please.
Calisthenics… you know push ups, sit ups, burpees….
Body weight
Hand weights
Work out videos

Your day fills up with work travel, busy schedules, kids’ events and what gives? The gym. So why not try some things at home? I love the idea of cross fit exercises, minus the weight. I regularly research exercises that utilize movement and body weight to whip, and I mean they can really whip me into shape.

I also love work out videos. All I use is a yoga mat, a couple of 5 pound dumbbells and some form of video. You can find some good ones online or on DVD. These can be intense and after a while you can adapt them to your needs. Meet those 150 minutes at home.

Tip 3
Be a kid again.
Get outdoors
Play with your kids or grandkids
Fitbit or Jawbone competitions (exercise tracking devices)

Try a date night and go ice skating. There are several rinks in the Atlanta area open all year. What about a day of walking and sledding at Stone Mountain with the kids or grandkids?

If you know you are going to have a busy and active day, make it count. Use a pedometer and track your steps. My husband and I, as well as my in-laws, have Fitbit exercise trackers. We wear them on our wrists and they sync with our Fitbit app on our IPhones. We see the movement patterns of each other and have competitions on who moves the most during the day. Loser has to buy ice cream at the end of the month. 

Adapt a vacation sport for your daily life. We discovered paddelboarding while at the beach. It’s great to do on Lake Lanier. Log some miles folks.

And that’s all there is to it. No need to stress on how to meet 150 minutes of exercise a week. First get moving, second make it fun.

Stay moving my friends.

How GMC Can Help

Test your knowledge with GMC's activity quiz online. Or visit our Pinterest boards for more fitness tips. 


DeBusk, R. F., Stenestrand, U., Sheehan, M., & Haskell, W. L. (1990). Training effects of long versus short bouts of exercise in healthy subjects. The American journal of cardiology, 65(15), 1010-1013.

Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., ... & Swain, D. P. (2011). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(7), 1334-1359.


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