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Tips to Recharge Your Motivation for Your New Year’s Fitness Goals
A month into 2024, have you hit the wall with your New Year’s fitness goals? Alena Anthony, associate director of fitness programs with the Barnes Center at The Arch Recreation, shares ways to get back on track—and ways to create and launch your plan (if you’re just starting out).
In this Q&A, Anthony, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, advises individuals to keep it practical and find a workout that works for them, and reveals what keeps her motivated.
01How does a person get started with making a fitness plan and figuring out what exercise/physical activity will work for them?
Consider the ways you enjoy moving your body! Explore how much time you can commit to completing the activity (best time of day to workout, how often per week, etc.), along with goals and implementation.
Don’t be afraid to try new things—group fitness is a great space to explore a variety of activities. At the Barnes Center, we have over 65 group fitness classes each week, ranging from strength training to cycle to aerobic to mind and body options. These are great options if you’re looking for a set workout, guided by an instructor at the same time each week.
If you’re looking to work out on your own, the Barnes Center at The Arch is open seven days a week, over 100 hours/week.
Utilize the CREATE concept to break down the steps to:
- Consider what you love doing.
- Realistically think about how often you can do it.
- Explore the resources you’ll need to succeed.
- Apply gratitude for the fitness journey that is about to begin.
- Take action and get started!
- Examine your set up—what’s working/what’s not/what can change (give yourself grace!).
If you’re interested in mapping out your fitness journey and reflecting upon your current lifestyle, check out our Cuse Fit Chats to meet with a personal trainer to discuss goal setting and resources to help you begin your fitness journey.
If you’re interested in more of a hands-on tutorial specific to fitness equipment, check out Fitness Center Orientations! If you’re looking to get acclimated to strength training within the weight room, check out our Lift and EmpoWer: Women on Weights and our Lift and Learn programming. All of these programs are located on the Wellness Portal.
02What’s a good way to track how you’re progressing toward your goals?
Workout journals/weekly self-reflection check-ins are a great way to track progress and revisit goals regularly.
If you’re jumping right into strength training, I recommend a workout log (Excel works great for this!) to track your exercise, sets, reps, weight and volume. This will allow you to track the specifics of your workout, recognize when to increase volume and track your overall progress.
If you’re looking for a less formal tracking method, try a once a week 20-minute reflection. Each Saturday, I take a few minutes and jot down my goals for the week (workout schedule, meal plan, attainable goals, etc.) During this time, I reflect on the past week’s progress: what worked and what didn’t, did I feel like I put too much pressure on myself, do I need to scale back based on fatigue, etc. Remember—both can be true—we can be proud of our accomplishments, while also acknowledging accountability!
This is a great time to practice gratitude and grace—it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
03What are some tips for staying motivated if you don’t feel that drive you felt at the beginning of the new year to stick with your fitness goals?
We use the term “just move” here in fitness. If you feel as though your motivation is beginning to dwindle, choose one habit that you feel like you can keep up (parking farther away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a fitness class once a week, blocking off 20 minutes on your calendar to step away from your desk to walk a couple times a week).
There is also something to be said for being practical vs. optimal. If it’s practical for you to only get to the gym two days a week, schedule those two days within the time block you have and do what you can. The key is to create a practical habit that leads to consistency.
Another factor we discuss is a mindset shift. Instead of saying “I have to work out,” what would it look like if you said, “I get to work out.”
Coming from a gratitude lens, appreciating what you can do, exactly where you are, rather than what you can’t, will create space for self-love, which leads to empowerment and productivity.
04What keeps you going? What’s your favorite way to stay physically active?
Strength training has always been my passion; my background is in strength and conditioning. Throughout my time coaching at the high school and college levels, and working as a Division III strength and conditioning coach, the constant in multiple settings was getting to witness the impact that strength training had on building confidence not only within a fitness setting, but in life.
Regardless of where life has taken me, I have always found some of my most confident and empowering moments in the weight room. Over the years I have had the opportunity to serve as a role model in multiple facets—exemplifying the importance of creating space to build muscle and gain confidence through strength training, which extends far beyond the weight room.
From a personal standpoint—I’m a planner. I meal prep on Sundays in preparation for the upcoming week, along with planning out my workout days, aiming to get to the gym three times a week, along with one yoga class a week. I love a good morning workout (shoulder day is my favorite)! Additionally, I enjoy hiking and kayaking.