Recently, a few friends and I decided to get back into shape, but we didn’t dive into joining a gym, buying a P90x DVD or showing up to a random running club to fix our inactivity problem. Instead, we made a fun game plan that was a combination of setting activity goals and activity trackers, workouts both in and out of the gym, and most importantly, rewards and punishments for how we were doing. Little did we know at the time, it turned out to be the most fun — and successful — activity program we had ever done!
Instead of just telling you the best classes in Gainesville, listing the best order for a bicep curl, a pull-up and a dip in order to gain muscle mass or ranking the top fitness apps to download, let’s focus on doing four things and using all the resources around you to construct your ultimate workout routine.
Goals: Setting attainable yet challenging goals is very important to success. If you don’t know what you want, you won’t know how to get there.
- Basic: Write your goals down on something you see every day — a mirror, posted on your wall, a sign on your fridge or wherever. Writing the goal makes your choose it, and seeing it every day will make sure it stays at the front of your mind.
- Intermediate: Get a group messaging app (GroupMe, for example) of only the people who are doing the fitness program, and start daily or weekly reports of how each person is doing with their goals. Make it non-judgmental, but you do have to report whether you achieved your goal or not. This way, it literally takes you 20 seconds to report to your group via text.
- Advanced: There are a few great goal-setting apps. Lift and Strides are two of my favorite because they keep you right on track to meet your goals.
- Takeaway: When it comes to goals, you must write them down, see them frequently and report regularly.
Workouts: Finding the right balance is important; no one can prescribe the perfect workout for you except you. Having said that, you can take advantage of workouts that are already created, get advice on the best workout classes and find virtual challenges all around you to create your ultimate workout routine.
- Basic: Forget the gym, grab a Fitbit (a watch-like activity tracker) and go for walks and runs or take the stairs in your home or office. The device will help you set goals while keeping you moving with pre-set motivational messages.
- Intermediate: Time for technology to be your workout buddy. DailyBurn has a streaming library of different workout programs that are simple to understand and fun. Thinking you want to run more? There is a great app called Zombies, Run! that turns a run around your neighborhood into a race for survival.
- Advanced: Gainesville is known for fitness, and we have amazing classes to keep you motivated. Both Body by Boris and Gainesville Health & Fitness’s outdoor training program EDGE with Andy Farina rock!
- Takeaway: Find the workouts that make being active fun. It’s much more than just the exercise; it’s your friends, digital zombies running you down or getting to see yourself hit a 10,000-step goal three days in a row. Make sure the experience is enjoyable.
Tracking and Sharing: If you are putting in serious effort in your workouts, you don’t want to take extra time to record your activities. You need a device or app that does all this for you. That way, there is no effort from you required, and you won’t stop because of energy or calendar conflicts.
- Basic: On your calendar or a sheet of paper, make check marks every day you complete an activity.
- Intermediate: Fitbit is back! It does all the work for you, no effort required.
- Advanced: Apps like MapMyRun, or CycleNav are rich in detail when it comes to your runs or rides. They will show you how far you went and a breakdown of your speed, as well as options to share your success.
- Takeaway: Tracking is super important, but it should require very little effort. Sharing progress with your friends helps keep you honest and get some much-deserved “likes.”
Rewards and Punishment: Finally, we are at the fun part: basking in the glory of your hard-earned success.
- Basic: Have an agreement with your buddies or yourself that if a goal is met at the end of a certain period, you will do something nice for yourself or for your team members.
- Intermediate: With an easy group text or group chat, you could report daily on your goals and have rewards and punishments due every single day. This is what we did in our fitness challenge, and you’d be amazed at how quickly losing a dollar a day from a few people can add up!
- Advanced: There are also apps that can help settle the score between you and a friend. Youbetme is one that helps set up a challenge and then allows you to bring others in with some stakes.
- Takeaway: Take this as part of the fun of the game; don’t get upset if you have a few days where you don’t get a reward. The game is here to make sure everyone has some skin in the workouts and will feel the thrill of victory when they attain their goals.
Being active is important. Remember, if you jump into anything, you probably won’t see the success you want. Set a goal, find workouts that will help you be active, report and share with your friends and make sure there are rewards and punishments for those goals. Good luck, and remember to Pass Fit On!