Making New Year’s Fitness Resolutions Stick

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Young women stretching and working out

Did you make a New Year’s Fitness Resolution for 2012? How did that go for you?

Analyze this year’s goals and plans, and figure out how to improve that fitness resolution for 2013.

First of all, did you set a SMART goal?

S= Specific.

Don’t: “I’m going to exercise this year.”

Do: define exactly how much exercise to put per week in this year, including realistic settings for minutes per workout and workouts per week.


Don’t: “I’m going to lose weight this year.”

Do: Define how much weight you really NEED to lose (not necessarily your lowest weight ever), and then divide it up for your months and weeks. Do not set a goal higher than 2 pounds of weight loss per week. In other words, you could, realistically, lose 104 pounds in a year, if you have that much weight you need to lose.

A= Attainable

Don’t: “I’m going to fit into my high school skinny jeans again.”

Do: pick a date that you will be ready to purchase a new pair of jeans in your new size.


Don’t: “I’m going to lift the same amount of weight as my husband.”

Do: working out with your husband can be a great way to bond, but you may find that your actual weight lifted is different from his. All of us are created differently, and we have to find the weights that work for us.


Don’t: “I’m going to bench press 180 pounds.”

Do: define when you want to achieve certain goals. If bench pressing is one of them, and you are currently bench pressing 50 pounds, then set your goal to increase by 10 pounds per month, only if you are ready for it.

How to know when you are ready to increase weights:

When lifting weights, you should be able to hold correct form, lifting and lowering the weights yourself for a total of 8-15 times, depending on the exercise and hand and your personal goals. It should get difficult around #6 if you are doing an 8 rep set, or around #9 if you are doing a 12 set rep. If it is not getting difficult, or you can do your sets with ease, it is time to increase your weight by a small degree.

Do I need to do 1, 2, or 3 sets when lifting weights?

Some studies show that doing just 1 set per exercise, especially when performing many exercises for one particular muscle group in one session, is sufficient to build muscle strength. Other studies show that doing 3 sets has a bigger effect on the body’s metabolism.

SML TIP: When pressed for time, do each exercise once, but make sure you are lifting enough weight to feel completely “done” at the end of each exercise.

Try this New Approach to Weight Lifting: Make it a circuit and work with a partner!

Example circuit:

  1. Leg press
  2. Chest press
  3. leg extension
  4. lat pull down
  5. hamstring curls
  6. bicep curl into shoulder press
  7. smith machine squats
  8. alternate front and side deltoid lift
  9. deadlift
  10. tricep push-ups
  11. sit ups or roll ups
  12. swimmer

Short version:

You do #1-12, with 12-15 repetitions on each exercise, depending on strength and ability. The last 4 should be relatively difficult. Move quickly to the next exercise, maybe taking a slurp from the water bottle on the way.

Your partner does #2, 1, 4, 3, 6, 5, 8, 7, 10, 9, 12, 11 the same way.

Longer version:

Take each pair of exercises and alternate them, for example, alternate #1 with 2, 3 with 4, etc. Your partner alternates the opposite exercise from you. The differences are: you may have to go lighter on your weight and change your weight for later sets, depending on muscle fatigue. Also, take a 2 minute stretch break between every double set.

Timed version:

Really pressed for time and want to have a little fun?

You and your partner will be there to help move weights for each other and run the timer. The first partner sets up to do the first exercise, working with difficult weights. The timing partner is ready to reduce the weights when necessary. The timing partner times the first partner for one minute. The first partner does as many solid reps in good form as she can with that weight, having the partner change weights if she needs. The timer times the first partner for 1 minute, and then gives the partner 1 minute to rest and move to the next exercise. The first partner will be done in 24 minutes, and then the partners switch roles.

Which version did you try? What did you think? Did you make your New Year’s Fitness Resolution? Please share!

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