We all know it’s important to stay in shape, but as January 1 becomes a distant memory, distractions arise. Going back to school, the new television season, cupcakes—you know the usual list of saboteurs. Add on the fact that cold weather is ever-present, making it more difficult to stick to your fitness goals. So what’s the best way to stay motivated? Veg fitness guru and VN writer Christine Vardaros offers up a five-step strategy to staying toned, trim, and off the couch in the new year.
Step 1: Target your goal and tell the world
Setting a goal is always the first step to success, and a great way to commit to exercise is to choose a challenging and exciting sporting event to train for. The event—whether it’s a walkathon, 5K run, softball game, or triathlon—should be scheduled a few months down the road to give you time to prepare, and it should require registration to ensure your commitment. Next, tell everyone about your plans. Who knows, some of your friends might decide to join you!
Step 2: You are what you eat
Make sure your diet provides adequate nutrition to enhance your performance and support optimal recovery. Contrary to popular belief, muscle size doesn’t depend so much on protein intake as it does on your training and genetics. Too much protein can actually hinder your fitness efforts because it is tough to digest. Carbohydrates are the optimal nutrient for active bodies, especially if you want increased endurance during exercise. Ideally, carbs should make up 55 to 70 percent of your total caloric intake. Make sure you incorporate carbs into your pre-event breakfast to keep energy levels up.
Step 3: Slow and steady wins the race
When you start training, pace yourself and gradually increase the intensity. If your goal is a 5K run, start by going for short walks, and then start to incorporate short runs. Keep building until your body is ready to handle the distance and intensity you plan to conquer. Even though you may be eager in the beginning, a conservative approach will prevent injury, keep you mentally and physically fresh, and give your body time to recover and adapt.
Step Four: Amp up the H2O
Make sure you are hydrated before, during, and after your workout. Start sipping water the minute you wake up on the day of your event. About 40 ounces—the equivalent of two sports bottles—is optimal before an event, and you should keep drinking until an hour before it begins. During the event you’ll want to drink between 20 and 40 ounces of liquid and eat between 200 to 350 calories per hour to keep your energy high, even if you don’t feel hungry or thirsty.
Step Five: Congratulate yourself and stay motivated!
You set a goal, created a plan, stuck to your strategy and worked hard for your success. Now, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back! But don’t stop there. Make a commitment to continue your training routine, and if you need extra motivation, you can always find another event, sport, or workout buddy. Now go ahead and indulge in your favorite vegan dessert. You earned it!
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