Getting fit in the new year is easier than expected

As I pulled into our work parking lot in early January, I couldn’t help but to shake my head and do a few extra loops to find a spot that seemed to be a mile away from where I usually park. As many people observed Monday, Jan. 2 as a holiday, I was right back at work in the one place that everyone in the entire world seemed to be – the gym.

That’s right. It’s January and if your resolution is to lose weight or get healthy, you’re not alone. NBC news recently reported that an independent study of Google searches in 2016 showed over 62 million for health and fitness related resolution topics.

This nearly doubled the next biggest search which was "getting organized," which reached 32 million inquiries. So I grabbed my gym bag and walked the exaggerated mile from my car to our facility ready to welcome and greet new and old members back to the gym and help them on their 2017 journey.

As a personal trainer and fitness professional for the past 13 years, I can’t help but ponder the previous mentioned statistics. More than 62 million people are looking for fitness support and studies show only about half of these folks make it past the first month.

The reason is simple – they do not have a plan.

Sure, time is the most reported reason for drop off, but if you don’t have a plan, then you definitely can’t make the time. This is the same reason that organizing is the second most researched resolution topic; everyone is looking for more time.

Exercise alone won’t help you to become healthier and more fit. It’s a start, but only a small part of an overall plan. You can save hours of daunting time on the treadmill by swapping out the on-the-go bagel and cream cheese with easily made overnight oats.

You can save time, money and attack your goal of losing 20 pounds with only five extra minutes at night. The same five minutes you would spend at the drive-through ordering your latte and bagel.

Sure, you can Google a workout, but is that website going to provide support and hold you accountable? Does hours of slow state cardio sound fun to help burn fat? Is that trainer you found on Instagram going make sure you are squatting properly?

The answer to all those questions is no, only you can hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make. You can however create a better plan and get the support you need for success.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get started.

n Increase your water intake. An everyday goal should be to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.

n There are so many great fitness and step trackers to help you track your steps to get to the recommended 10,000 steps, or five miles per day. Park at the back of the lot, use the restroom on the second floor, set an alarm to help you get up from your desk every hour so you are moving. Unfortunately, reaching 10,000 steps isn’t as easy as you think.

n Strive to eat eight cups of non-starchy vegetables per day. Lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms, onions, peppers and tomatoes are all considered non-starchy vegetables.

n Start slow and build up your exercise time in a weekly plan. Even a short ten-minute moderate intensity workout at home three times per week is better than nothing. Add five minutes per workout every week.

n Working out with friends or family is a great way to spend quality time and stay motivated. Personal trainers are another great option for beginners to help build out an exercise plan. Even apps and other gadgets can provide the reminder and support you need to stay on track.

Now ask yourself, how long have you wanted to achieve your New Year’s resolution goal? Is it the same goal as last year and the year before and the year before that? What will be different this time?

Fitness should be about fun and relieving stress not just one more thing to add stress to your day. Head to the gym, take a class and chat with a personal trainer about making 2017 the year you not only get fit, but stay fit.

Robert Wood is a certified trainer and director of group training for Best Fitness. He develops programs out of the corporate office/fitness facility located in Nashua.