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3 Ways to Reach Your 2013 Fitness Goals

Fitday Editor

Getting in shape and losing weight is a top-5 New Year's Resolution. Don't believe me? Ask the government. Alarmingly, a very high percentage of those who make the pledge to get fit in the New Year often lose track and fail to reach their fitness goals.

If you've pledged to get fit this year, or are renewing a pledge you made in the past to get fit, be fit, and stay fit, here are some things you should do differently this year to not only stick to your resolution, but also help you see results!

1. If You Haven't Already, Join a Gym

Herschel Walker never joined a gym. He achieved his chiseled physique through pushups, sit-ups and running. You're probably not Herschel Walker, and that's OK! For most of us, we need some support as well as specialized equipment to help us achieve the weight loss or fitness goals we've set for the New Year, especially if you have a specific medical history of injuries or other exercise limiting conditions. Most gyms will have membership specials right around now. If you don't have a membership, now is definitely the time to buy. Many fitness centers will include special deals, like extra months or even something better like....

2. Think About a Personal Trainer

If you are serious about reaching your goals this year a great personal trainer can make all the difference between success and failure. Motivation, encouragement and creativity are just a few of the great advantages a personal trainer can give to their clients. They can give you the knowledge, the push and the support to help you reach your resolution. They can provide you with more than just a "standard workout." You'll also get something personalized, helping you target specific fitness or health goals.

3. Structure Your Workouts

If you decide that a personal trainer doesn't work for you for whatever reason, at least take the advice of one and structure your workouts differently this year. This will effectively use your caloric energy during your workouts and help you reach your VO2 Max (maximum cardiovascular output, or the measure of intensity of your workout). A higher VO2 Max means that you're burning more calories. Begin your workouts with a short 5 to 10 minute workout that includes dynamic stretches and a short cardio "boost" to get your heart rate elevated. Next, perform any strength training exercises in your scheduled routine. Follow strength training with cardiovascular exercise. After your workout, be sure to eat something high in protein and good carbohydrates to refuel and rebuild your muscles.

Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at [email protected].

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