According to a recent article published in the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent report successfully achieving them. Losing weight was the No. 1 resolution made in 2012, and staying fit and healthy was No. 5. We know keeping health and fitness goals are even harder for business travelers, who often eat on the run and don’t have access to their home gyms. That’s why AVE spoke with New Jersey fitness coaches Paul Newell and Scott Shearer to discuss ways to keep your resolutions on the road.
1. Start Small –“Short activity sessions throughout the day are just as, if not more, effective than one long session,” Newell says. Instead of hitting the gym for 45 minutes to an hour, three to four times a week, start out with 20-minute sessions, twice a week. “Starting small will build confidence and establish a habit, so fitness will be a part of your lifestyle, not something you start and stop throughout your life,” he says. Shearer also recommends toting small, convenience snacks. “Pack beef jerky, cheese, nuts, vegetables and fruits to eat on the run to avoid gorging and going overboard at a business dinner and to stay on track with your lean dietary needs,” he says.
2. Find an Ally –“People that have long-term success with fitness and wellness goals have support and someone to help them stay on track,” Newell says. Find a fitness/health coach, co-worker or fellow AVE resident with similar goals to keep you on track. “This will establish camaraderie, accountability and even a little healthy competition,” he says.
3. Breathe – Shallow breathing creates tension throughout the body. When the body is tense, it releases a stress hormone called cortisol, resulting in high blood pressure and increased belly fat. “Breathing is even more important to your fitness program because it will bring nutrients to your muscles and remove toxins,” Newell explains. “Most people hold their breath throughout the day and throughout their workouts, which does their body a disservice.” To practice breathing properly, Newell recommends placing your hands on your belly button in a seated, standing or lying position. As you inhale, press your belly button into your hands as you expand your stomach, and as you exhale, try to bring your belly button to your spine until you feel a mild contraction in you midsection. Repeat this exercise for a couple minutes every day.
4. Make Complex Moves – “A complex is a collection of exercises combined into one movement,” Newell explains. “This shortens fitness workouts, increases cardiovascular benefits and enhances coordination and neuromuscular efficiency.” One of his favorite complex movements to assign his business clients is a “squat and press” that can be executed with a dumbbell or a resistance band, for easy packing. “These types of movements can also be a quick energy boost for those sluggish afternoons and will keep your brain active so you can handle whatever your role demands,” he adds.
5. Schedule It – For most of us, if it isn’t in our schedule, it doesn’t exist. “Schedule time for your activity so it becomes a part of your life, rather some dreadful task you have to do at the end of the day,” Newell says. For beginners, he recommends scheduling 10- to 20-minute walks a couple days a week outside or around your office building, or climbing the stairs in your office building. “Scheduling and blocking out time helps you reach the outcome rather than putting it off until you have time for it,” Shearer says.