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A Smart Fitness Plan Is a Good Way to Start the New Year

Patience and hard work can help achieve your goals. Tortuous diets won't.  

Many people include a commitment to a healthier lifestyle among their New Year’s resolutions. The process is not easy and requires strategy. The real challenge is not to embark on a sudden radical transformation, but to develop new habits.

The path to fitness is not simple — there is a natural physical, mental and emotional evolution. At first, adjustments are challenging, but they become easier over time.

Achieving big goals is doable when one begins with smaller objectives. Setting high expectations can become frustrating, since progress may seem smaller in comparison. This circle could lead to abandoning one’s goals.

For instance, one may decide to go to the gym. But choosing to go every day, three hours a day, isn’t smart. Three or four sessions a week is often enough, making sure to include days off.

A healthy diet could be the most important aspect of a healthy life. *** Una dieta sana podría ser el aspecto más importante de una vida saludable. (Jez Timms/Unsplash)

“A quintessential tip that I share with everyone is to clean up their lives,” said Farid Naffah, an expert in body engineering. “That begins by cleaning up the pantry: taking out all the processed, sinful and junk foods, including sweets, chocolates and cookies. All those things that we know are going to interfere with a healthy lifestyle.”

It is essential to replace junk food with vegetables, “good” fats and proteins.

Losing weight is not necessarily the primary goal of a healthy lifestyle. Working on one’s self-esteem, emotions and thoughts are essential, too.

How can we chart progress?

Measuring oneself every week or every two weeks is one way. Make sure there is a reasonable span between measurements. It is not healthy to live obsessed by your image in the mirror. Never forget that everyone has a different metabolism and improves in their own time.

Exercise is an important part of the routine. It strengthens our body and allows us to be in shape. *** El ejercicio es una parte importante de la rutina, para fortalecer el cuerpo y permitir estar en forma. (Hristo Rusev/Getty Images)

Also, don’t compare yourself with anyone else — be it friends or celebrities. Remember, everyone shows their best side on social media. Reality may be quite different. Having an imposed standard can discourage us from pursing our goals.

“Another tip is to follow profiles related to your goal on social media, such as exercise-centered profiles,” said Naffah. “But be careful. Do it to seek motivation and guidance, but do not follow any piece of advice blindly.”

When people enjoy what they do, they are likely to continue doing it. So try to make your new lifestyle a source of pleasure.

Losing fat is a consequence of a calorie deficit. However, following torturous diets is not the way to go. While limiting sugar and fat intake works for some, others may need to visit a nutritionist. Once you hit on the right course, discipline is essential.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle is not only about exercising and dieting! The body needs sleep. After exercising, muscles must rest to regenerate and grow. Sleep triggers the secretion of growth hormones, which are related to fat loss and muscle gain. The lack of sleep boosts the production of cortisol, which leads to weight gain.

Keeping a fit lifestyle may seem like a roller coaster, but with a desire to change and willpower, one can accomplish it. The beginning of the year seems like a good time to start!

(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Melanie Slone and Fern Siegel.)

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