Becoming the healthiest version of yourself is a two-part process. You need to first know what nutrients your body needs and eat the right foods to gain them, and then you need a regular workout routine to get fit and maintain good fitness. It’s not an easy process, but there are tremendous resources available to help you take your fitness to the next level. Here are some steps to becoming a better you this year.

 

Healthy Eating

Mixed salad with greens

 

The first step to feeling fit and fresh is eating fit and fresh. Check out these eating tips for good health.

 

1. Eat Healthy Snacks Throughout the Day

Snacking is important! Eating small, healthy bites between meals is essential for sustaining energy throughout the day — and doubly important for anyone looking to build muscle or gain strength. Healthy snacking can improve overall health. It helps curb cravings, fight weight gain, and regulate mood, but it’s important to choose the right things to eat. Look for snacks that equal about 100 calories. While the 100-calorie snack packs have the right idea, opt for something with more nutrients like cheese and crackers, carrots and hummus, or peanut butter and apple slices.

 

2. Collect Quick and Easy, Healthy Recipes

One of the hardest parts about eating healthy is the time commitment and preparation work. It’s often easiest and faster to purchase premade lunches or eat out, but taking the time to meal prep at home and choose the healthiest ingredients for your body and weight goals will transform your health. Here are some great blogs where you’ll find delicious, quick and easy recipes:

  • Eat Yourself Skinny: This blog offers simple, incredibly tasty recipes promoting wholesome ingredients — and the occasional chocolate indulgence.
  • Pinch of Yum: Go here for lots of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian recipes. You won’t miss meat after a bite of the loaded caprese grilled cheese.
  • Love & Lemons: You can search through their massive database of recipes according to season, special diet, and even specific ingredient. Browse through more than 30 recipes incorporating arugula!

 

 

3. Keep Track of Your Diet and Calorie Intake

Once you decide to be dedicated to a healthier diet, keep track of your meals using a food diary or app. As you start to change your eating habits, you’ll notice your personal trends, likes, and dislikes. Some of the best apps for dieting and weight loss are Lose It!, Fooducate, and Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal.

 

Fitness and Weight Loss

Guy flipping tire for exercise

 

4. Start a New Fitness Program

There is a tremendous amount of fitness programs to choose from. Here are some of the most popular fitness programs right now:

  • CrossFit: Chances are you’ve heard of CrossFit. It is essentially high-intensity interval training focused on a core set of movements, and designed to build muscle and increase muscle gains. Expect to climb ropes, turn over tires, jump on boxes, and lift a lot of kettlebells.
  • SoulCycle: Pedal to the metal with this cardio program. Classes are 45 minutes long, take place indoors, and are focused on high-intensity cardio and strength training. They are known for their one-of-a-kind playlists, making this cycling fitness program anything but boring.
  • Yoga: Yoga is one of the most popular exercise programs. This Eastern practice has a strong emphasis on spiritual wellness and meditation, while intending to stretch, strengthen, and tone the body. Yoga classes vary from basic beginner lessons to uniquely styled practices combining cardio or Pilates. Simply Google “yoga near me” to find all of the studios available to you.
  • Zumba: If you like to dance, check out a Zumba class. This aerobic routine is inspired by all the powerful movement seen in Latin American dance, and is a lot of fun for participants!
  • Insanity: Insanity workouts are similar to CrossFit, but include a lot more cardio. It’s a rigorous, full-body workout that includes all your favorite body-weight exercises like squats, push-ups, lunges, and burpees. This is a 60-day DVD program, so choose this workout if you have a lot of space to workout at home.

 

5. Develop a Fitness Routine You Enjoy

If you aren’t a runner and hate to run, don’t sweat it — literally. Choose a fitness program that is fun for you! Opt for cycling, swimming, or Zumba for your cardio exercise. You can also spice up your usual gym routine with one or two days of putting your muscles to practical use with an action sport you enjoy. Try going to a rock climbing gym, take surfing lessons, or enjoy a day of lake or ocean kayaking.

 

No slippin’ around here. #Spartanrace #SpartanElites

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6. Set an Attainable Goal to Achieve

The best way to stay motivated is to have a tangible goal. Go ahead and purchase a racing bib in your local marathon toward the end of the year, and spend the next six to eight months training for it. Having already committed the funds and intention can help motivate you to put in the time and work necessary to succeed come race day. Sign up for a rigorous obstacle course like a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder to see how all of your dedication to health and fitness pays off.