2014 fitness resolutions: Dead or alive?

by Karl Lenser

“Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — F. Dodson

Let’s hope that your fitness resolutions are still above water and are not buried at the bottom of the Dead Sea of Fitness Resolutions, where many resolutions reside. Now that we are almost two full months into the year, the time is upon us when the initial zest for a new fit year begins to dwindle, and the fitness fire becomes a smoldering pile of frustration and guilt.

This is the time to keep going and stay focused on what you set for a fitness goal in 2014. As a fitness professional, it is sad and frustrating to observe how the best laid fitness plans of many men and women have gone awry and unhealthy habits begin to reappear and wreak havoc on fitness resolutions.

It has been stated that it takes around 20 days to establish a new habit or pattern of behavior. If this is true, then you need to continue to do the healthy things that you have been doing over the past three to four weeks. Stick with it and the odds of achieving your fitness goals increase exponentially every week. The end of January and beginning of February is the critical period where many will sink and a few will swim when it comes to fitness plan adherence. Here are some ideas that may help you swim instead of sink as you traverse across the Fitness Resolution Sea.

FOOD JOURNAL. Keep track of your food and beverage intake on a daily basis. This is difficult, but worth every bit of the effort. It usually serves as a wakeup call because most people do not realize how many calories they actually ingest in a day. Count your serving sizes and portions as best you can and record in your journal. Add up the calories and see what you take in per day.

EXERCISE JOURNAL. Keep a daily record of your physical activities and the caloric expenditure. This tool is very helpful in rewarding yourself with a chunk of self-esteem. Every entry is a big positive because it basically says “I DID IT!!!” and did not skip the workout.

PARTNERS make the exercise world fun, and they help immensely with consistency and adherence. Find a group exercise class that you enjoy! You will have instant workout partners and accountability heroes!

PERSONAL TRAINING in small groups of two or three is a wonderful way to stay focused. It also can be viewed as “Intensity on a Budget” as you save lots of money with small group training and get a great workout, too.

PATIENCE is a virtue that the fitness world embraces. For weight loss, the ideal goal is to lose a maximum of 2 pounds in a week. Remember that a “slow and steady pace usually wins the race” of weight loss and fitness. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. Memorize this number!

READ food labels and be a wise consumer. If weight loss is your goal, get into the habit of reading food labels to see the fat content and calorie content of each serving. Did you know that whole milk is 48 percent fat, 2 percent milk is 38 percent fat and 1 percent milk is 19 percent fat? Read and learn!

GOALS. Make sure they are realistic and attainable. Don’t get frustrated if you miss a workout or have a piece of cake occasionally. We are human and not perfect. There will be ups and downs on your fitness journey.

I wish you success as you continue your fitness journey in 2014.


A Conway resident, Karl Lenser is the director of wellness programs at Hendrix College. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. An accomplished runner, he can be reached at [email protected].