Fitness Tips You'll Actually Use

By Jessica Poole, Certified Athletic Trainer
So you have resolved to begin or continue your exercise routine. (See my previous post for recommended exercise.) What are your plans to making these resolutions last?

How lucky are you, as I plan to outline some ideas that have helped some continue on … so I’ve read.

Seriously, I have had luck-- or drive--and I have also fallen off the wagon. Don’t for one second think that just because I am a certified athletic trainer that I am super fit and live an extraordinarily healthy lifestyle. Cue my husband’s laughter. I am just like you. I make resolutions and I break them, usually by 9 p.m. January first. I strive to live the healthy lifestyle, but we are all human with healthy and not so healthy habits.

So, yes, I want to be healthy, but it’s not as much a resolution as a goal. I’m as stressed, stretched and unexercised as all of you and I have degrees in exercise and performance. I’ve rehabilitated the injuries of and reconditioned elite athletes. I know better. 

So… when I am doing it well, what tips do I follow? Let me share….

Set goals        

First off, if you don’t meet your goal… SO WHAT?! Drive on, it’s ok! Time for a new goal. Maybe an easier one.

Set a realistic goal you can meet. I like to set small, obtainable goals that help me meet my larger goal. After many years working with collegiate athletic teams, I could write a book on goal setting.

Two memorable coaches would set their teams down and make year goals in the first meeting of the season. Always the overall goal was a championship. But, then they would discuss how to meet this goal and eventually smaller and obtainable goals would surface. Sometimes the championship was met, but more likely, the smaller goals would defiantly be met and success would surface. World Series and National Championships only go to one team per year, but they all set smaller goals to help them have a chance.  Winning seasons, emerging leaders, stronger teammates, higher leaps, better fielding percentages, and better ERAs would emerge from those smaller goals.

Determine your small goals and meet those. See what happens. Challenge yourself but be realistic.

Be realistic

We all want to be a better, healthier version of ourselves. But are you comparing yourself to something or someone who has more time, more resources, or more riding on outcomes? Supermodels and pro athletes are paid to look and perform like they do. Remember that. So challenge yourself to be the best and healthiest with what you have and be content. Strive to look and feel healthy. Decrease those cholesterol levels. Do what you can and be happy. Mom told me a cheerful heart and laughter are the best medicine. She’s not wrong.

Choose appropriate exercise to meet your goal.

If you want to lose weight, you must combine cardio and resistance training and be consistent with that training routine. If you want to touch your toes, then you must stretch. If you want to gain five pounds of muscle mass, then you have to lift weights and challenge yourself. Your outcomes will match what you work towards. Exercise must be specific towards the goal.

Have fun

Why run when you hate to run? Love to cycle but don’t have a bike? Then try a spin class. Need stress relief as well as flexibility and strength building? Try yoga. Hate to work out alone? Find a workout buddy. Need quiet alone time? Go for a long run down a country road. Find what speaks to you and what you consider fun. If it’s fun, you will continue to do it.

Shopping anyone?

Make sure you have the right gear. To keep it simple and short (I could write a book on this topic) the attire need not be expensive, but appropriate. Make sure you have good shoes appropriate to the activity and clothing appropriate for the weather. Seek a good sporting goods store with staff who can answer questions and fit sneakers to your foot.

Learn More

Visit GMC's Health (e) Library to read more about fitness and use our online calculators to find your body mass index (BMI, the calories you burn and more.


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