It’s no surprise that losing weight remains one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. During the holidays and long winter months, it’s easy to put on a few extra pounds without even realizing it. But how can you go about getting fitter in 2016 in a healthy and sensible way?
According to Mike Dolce, a retired mixed martial artist, MMA trainer, and weight loss specialist, losing weight requires a combination of a few core principles, including eating right, exercising, and staying mentally healthy. Dolce, who has worked with MMA champions like Ronda Rousey and Johny Hendricks, believes that the process of getting and staying fit is virtually identical for pro athletes and people who just want to shed a few pounds.
Here are his best tips for getting fit in the New Year:
- Set a specific goal. “The most important part of a resolution is having a specific goal in mind: a number of pounds, a date to finish, or an event to work toward,” Dolce says. “Starting with 10 pounds is perfect.” When you
set a goal, be sure to realize that healthy weight loss takes time and results won’t be immediate.
- Get 30 minutes of exercise each day. “You don’t have to jump over boxes or swing kettle balls. You just have to have a scheduled activity—one you do regularly, just like going to work,” Dolce says. “Make it a habit and make it sustainable. It can be as easy as walking away from your house for 15 minutes and then turning around.”
- Find an activity you love. “If you want to go beyond walking 30 minutes per day, start exploring to find an activity you really enjoy—something that will help you stay consistent and meet your goals,” he says. The activity can be anything that gets you moving, from weightlifting to ice skating. “I suggest trying a range of activities. Don’t have expectations and don’t go in biased. Do your best and don’t judge yourself. Just challenge yourself. If it’s not for you, it’s no problem.”
- Reduce your stress and get rest. Most people overlook two factors that can have a huge affect on their weight: stress and lack of sleep. “Stress and not getting enough sleep can cause hormonal issues, and hormonal issues
can affect your weight,” Dolce says. “Managing stress could involve sitting quietly for a few minutes each morning or taking a look at what is causing you anxiety at school or work.”
- Eat smart and drink water. “I recommend eating every two to four hours and eating based on activity,” Dolcesays. “It allows our body to digest food and it stabilizes our blood sugar levels.” Equally important is staying hydrated throughout the day, especially when you are active.
- Be accountable. “You don’t want to have to lose those 10 pounds again next year, and you don’t want to put on an extra 10, either,” he says. “The best ways to stay accountable are to tell someone about your goal, track your activity, and be honest with yourself.”
Gear Up For Your Goal
Check out the gear that Dolce recommends to his trainees to help them achieve their exercise goals:
- A 32-ounce water bottle. Carrying a water bottle throughout the day helps you stay hydrated, energetic, and ready to move. We like the Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle, which keeps your water cold for up to 12 hours and comes in a rainbow of colors.
- Great new shoes. “Some studies have shown that buying new shoes can actually help you become more active,” Dolce says. “Do your research and get the best shoes for your chosen activity.” If you are going to start out by walking or jogging, we recommend Nike’s Lunar Tempos for both men and women.
- A workout mat. A basic exercise mat can help you at home or at the gym. Dolce recommends taking 20 minutes each morning to think quietly; outline your goals for the day; and move your body with stretching, yoga, or simple strength moves like planks and push-ups.
- An activity tracker. “I love data,” Dolce says. “You can look back and determine your physical output. It also helps you be more accountable.” Dolce prefers the Garmin Forerunner GPS watches, but believes that any tracker can measure your fitness and motivate you to continue toward your goal.