The New Year's workout rush is as predictable as popping a champagne bottle at the stroke of midnight.
Signing up for a gym membership in January may get you motivated to break a sweat for that swimsuit-ready figure to welcome the balmy summer months, but chances are you’ll be over that resolution to get fit by February.
Whether it’s laziness, frustration over not losing the pounds fast enough, or simply because dessert is too tempting, many people give up on their New Year's weight loss goals shortly after they make them. And several trainers say it’s the lack of constant motivation getting in the way of making smarter choices daily and embracing the idea of making exercise part of your routine.
If you’re set on heading to the gym, eating more fruits and veggies, or stocking up on workout DVDs, you’re already on your way to achieving the body of your dreams. For that extra pick-me-up, we asked several celebrity trainers for their best tips to get (and stay) motivated all year long:
Have a Deadline
You may be motivated to get in shape before spring, but New York City-based celebrity trainer Joel Harper, whose clients range from Dr. Oz to Olympic medalists, says the key to success is having a deadline and sticking to it. “Make sure your deadline is concrete,” says Harper. “For example, ‘Lose 15 pounds by my high school reunion on May 15th.'” To maximize your determination, he suggests putting sticky notes reminding yourself of the deadline in key places, such as the inside of your fridge, the bathroom mirror, or closet door.
Step Up Your Fiber
Want to avoid snacking on jean-busting treat? Savor foods rich in fiber, which will keep you fuller longer. “One study found that even with no other dietary modifications, people who added 14 grams of fiber lost an average amount of four pounds over as many months,” explains celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of “The Virgin Diet.” “I recommend gradually working up to 50 grams daily. Easy fiber sources include raw nuts and seeds, raspberries, non-starchy veggies, and avocado.”
Ditch Your Scale
“Often people get stressed out and frustrated by the number they see on the scale,” says BUTI fitness founder Bizzie Gold, who has trained Julia Roberts and Jennifer Love Hewitt. “When you are changing fat to lean mass you will often gain weight even if you’re dropping whole sizes. Check in with a mirror, a trusted friend/partner, or take a photo once every two weeks to accurately track your progress.”
Keep a Food Journal
Tracking down everything you eat throughout the day may sound like a time waster, but this handy trick will help you track down how many calories you’re consuming daily, as well as any minor mistakes you’re making in maintaining weight loss goals. “This will keep you accountable,” stresses fitness expert Simone De La Rue, who has helped sculpt several celeb bodies. “Often you don’t realize just how badly you are eating until you see it written down in front of you. There is no point working out for an hour every day only to go home and eat pizza.”
Surround Yourself with Positive Thoughts
Having positive thoughts about losing weight may not sound like it will do much physically, but model-turned-trainer Kristin McGee, who has worked with Tina Fey and LeAnn Rimes, says you’re more likely to drop the pounds this way than punishing yourself by starving. “The goal is to start adding positive habits and reinforcements along the way,” says McGee. “Always state the positive ‘I will incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet in 2014’ instead of ‘I’m never eating candy again.’ Chances are the more fruits and veggies you eat the less room you’ll have for junk food.’”
Set Up a Reward System
Rewarding yourself doesn’t mean devouring a chocolate bar after breaking a sweat, but treating yourself for every success will easily motivate in a fun, positive way. “Many people are motivated by the reward of getting fitter and seeing changes in their body. However, when first starting out, this sometimes takes longer than we’d like and can be discouraging,” explains Jennifer Cassetta, who holds a black belt in VSK Jujitsu and has trained Jenny McCarthy and Bethenny Frankel. “By setting up a rewards system, my clients have been successful at sticking to their programs. For example, if you stick to your program for all of January, you can treat yourself to a manicure. By the end of February, you deserve a message. Keep amping up the rewards so the stakes get higher.”
Slipped? Don’t Stress
Whether you were too lazy for that gym session or you just decided to savor that juicy bacon cheeseburger for a late-night dinner, if you slip up, don’t waste time making yourself guilty over it. Just make sure to focus on your goal the next day. “We are human and we’re going to make mistakes, so if you fall off track, forgive yourself and don’t beat yourself up over it,” says Jennifer McCamish, a former Radio City Rockette who currently owns the Dancers Shape barre fitness studio in Austin. “Self-induced guilt will only make you feel further from your goal and can continue to keep you off track. Get over it and give yourself a chance to do better the next day.”
Nothing kicks off cardio like running to your favorite store, but this isn’t what we’re talking about. Instead, a simple way to make that visit to your gym more exciting is by showing off your new sneakers or cute leggings. And while shopping can be a fun weight loss motivator, this doesn’t mean you should empty out your wallet either. “Go out and buy some new workout gear when on sale,” says Michelle Bridges, lead trainer on Australia’s “The Biggest Loser.” “You need to feel good in the gym and rocking a new outfit will make you want to go there more often.”
Put the Brakes on Eating 2-3 Hours Before Bed
Does your stomach rumble right before you hit the sheets? It may be tempting to serve yourself a plate of snacks, but think twice before indulging in this calorie buster. “Take a hot bath and read a trashy novel rather than take a late-hour kitchen detour,” suggests Virgin. “If you’re hungry before bed, make sure you did dinner right. Increase your protein if you struggle with late night cravings. A glass of water can also help.”
Eliminate One Thing From Your Diet
The easiest way to have a healthier diet? Simply get rid of one thing at a time instead of completely eliminating all your guilty pleasures. This will make the transition easier without sudden binges. “Try and eliminate one thing from your diet, like replacing dairy milk with almond milk in your coffee or cereal,” says De La Rue. “Going cold turkey usually ends in breaking the rules two days later.”
Eat Before You Go to a Social Event
Don’t let those greasy, fattening appetizers and sugary cocktails lure you away from your weight loss goals. Eliminate the temptation without compromising your social life by eating before attending an event. “If you fill up with healthy treats before you head out to your event it can help reduce the amount of calories you would normally ingest with less desirable high calorie treats,” says McCamish.
Schedule Your Workouts
“Go through your diary and schedule in a workout every day,” says Bridges. “Just like you would pop in a dentist appointment, put in an appointment to train. Aim for six days training and one day of rest.” Not only should you mix up your workouts to avoid falling into a predictable exercise slump, but you should start your regimen slowly before completing six days every week. Bridges also suggests checking in every week or two on a scale to see how far you’ve come along.