Have we all arrived at the consensus that 2016 absolutely blew? Honestly the only good things to
come of the entire year were when Leo got his Oscar and that time I went to the dentist right after Thanksgiving and had no cavities.
For me, 2016 represented a year of great personal and professional struggle- it was 365 days of falling down, standing back up, only to get knocked down again in almost every aspect of my life. The only exception to this though, was my physical health and fitness. Somehow through all the chaos that was my year, I managed to get in the best shape I’ve ever been in my entire life- at the start of the year, I was at about 23% body fat, and by the end, I got down to 14%. While I will refrain from offering any life advice anytime soon, I’d love to share with you what worked for me to achieve my fitness goals in 2016 in hopes of helping you achieve yours in 2017.
Change Your Goal
Previous to this year, I’d always make huge, overarching fitness goals like “lose 30 pounds by the end of the year.” It’s an overwhelming ideation, as well as a somewhat ambiguous one. This year, I never made a weight goal. While I knew I ultimately wanted to drop a few pounds, I instead made my goals adhere to the habits that would allow myself to lose the weight. For example, one of them was to drink 6 glasses of water everyday. Drinking 6 glasses of water is measurable and I didn’t feel like I was embarking on Mt. Everest every time I thought about my resolution.
After I changed the way I looked at my goals, I changed the way I rewarded myself for them too. If I achieved my goal of working out 5x per week for 4 weeks in a row, I rewarded myself with a life-changing massage at my favorite spot, the Spa at the Wit. Their massages are distinct because they always offer unique specials that incorporate surprising features that really capture the season that they’re celebrating. December’s was a Warm Cinnamon back massage that focused on relaxing back muscles and even helped with exfoliating my skin.
Not every incentive was as magical as a back massage- some were as simple as a few days off or buying the cute top I’d been eying, but this was a game-changer in keeping me motivated throughout the year.
Change The Way You Eat
I am notorious for having a sweet tooth, so by no means did I successfully avoid temptation of skipping dessert. And I clearly am incapable of counting calories. But, I did compromise by cutting out carbs (mostly). By upping my protein intake, I received enough energy to get through the day, but cutting carbs like breads and cereal allowed my body to build more muscle and then burn more fat. While a carb-free diet worked for me, I think the biggest takeaway here is finding a way to compromise to ensure you’re not restricting yourself too much.
In 2015, I only liked cardio, so I only did cardio. This year I do the same workout two times a month, max. Cross-training, more than anything else, has made the biggest difference when it came to toning my body. My favorite spot that really helped me implement different workouts was Studio Three. They have a stunning facility that offers 3 different types of workouts: spin classes, high-intensity interval training, and yoga. Within each of these workouts, they offer varying classes to ensure you’re constantly working different muscles and challenging your body in a new way every day. Addiction is an understatement.
Love Your Workout
2015 Ali would have scoffed at the above tip.
There is a massive difference between a workout that acts as a check off on your to-do list and one that you’ve been looking forward to all day. I’m not saying you’re going to be excited for every workout, but if you are on some days, it’s a game changer. Pilates ProWorks was this and then some for me. They also offer a variety of classes (Kickboxing, Barre, Pilates), but I cannot get enough of their FitFormer Pilates- it is the perfect hybrid of yoga, strength training and Pilates that will literally transform your body if you go a few times a month. The instructors are remarkable, and they constantly have challenges that motivate you to keep returning as well as build a community of people who are equally passionate about achieving their fitness goals.