Made any New Year’s Resolutions to get fitter and healthier in 2023? It’s coming up to June and if you are still in the process of getting started on that resolution – hold that thought.
While such resolutions — and the very act of making them — reflect what is most important to you in life, going after them can be an entirely different beast. Some goals are more likely to be successful than others, and at some point, you’re likely to need support to achieve them. We spoke to fitness coaches and personal trainers at some of Dubai’s best gyms catering to women to share their tips and advice on post-holiday season recovery, getting back into fitness, and setting realistic goals for 2023 you can actually achieve. Plus, read on to know what their own resolutions for 2023 are.
1. Don’t Try to Change Everything at Once
Ease yourself into a routine that includes exercise, healthy eating and, most of all, rest, says The Platform Studios star coach Megan Leach. “Routines are easier to establish if you are accountable to something or someone and eventually that becomes a long-term, healthy habit that feels good for you. Once you feel good, you will want to stay on that path.” Leach also recommends getting a fitness tracking device for motivation and tracking your progress.
“Set small, realistic goals because if they are too drastic, you are less likely to succeed,” says Nora Hameidani, founder and creative director of Barre Effect. For example, if you haven’t worked out for a few weeks, start with working out a few times a week rather than every day; that way you won’t get put off when it all feels too much. And then try to keep it fun: this might mean working out with a friend, or doing a type of exercise you really enjoy.
2. Prepare Yourself
So much of setting out to achieve your goals depends on planning ahead, whether it’s planning how you move or changing how you eat, so take some time to think through how you’re going to tackle it all head on, and keep your goals in sight. Plan and prep your meals in advance so that it’s easier to stick to your goals instead of falling back into old habits.
“Get some meal ideas written down and prepared when it comes to the food shop,” says coach Munroe, so that you’re making mindful choices where necessary, but still enjoying what you’re having. “Plan when you can work out or get a class in, or go for a long walk instead.”
“I am a visual person so I find that writing [my goals] down in a place I see them often is an extra layer of commitment and a daily reminder,” says Hameidani. “Stick them on your fridge or on your nightstand!”
And because exercise is incomplete without consistently eating well, Leach recommends signing up for a meal plan if you’re constantly on the go or need some help in the kitchen. “If you have a busy lifestyle, meal plans are so effective to help get you on track with healthy eating. Make sure to choose the meal plan wisely though, look out for ones with a varied menu, macro splits, and calorie counts to ensure you’re not getting bored or over-eating.”
After the festive holiday season, the start of the new year is a popular time for ‘cleansing’ and ‘detox’ centred around abstention with Veganuary and Dry January, but whether you’re trying to recover or just trying to change to healthier habits, a detox is really not necessary.
“Typically, a ‘detox’ isn’t necessary as our bodies are naturally designed to detoxify themselves via the liver,” says Leach of The Platform Studios. “The most important thing you can do to help your body get rid of toxins is to take care of your liver, and this is especially important after indulging during the holidays.”
Still, Leach recommends going without alcohol for a full month — “It’s hard but your body will thank you for it” — as well as juicing. “This will help you feel healthier by increasing your intake of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure to focus on more vegetables than fruits as you don’t want to have too much sugar intake.”
Skip the fad diets and so-called juice cleanses, which can be extremely restrictive, recommends founder and coach Cyrus Rustom of Boxica. “Don’t do anything extreme, it does not detox you. Eat nutritious meals, sleep enough, exercise three to five days a week, and your body will take care of the rest.”
Hameidani agrees. “Detoxing does not need to be as drastic as it sounds. We can cut out little bad habits and feel better immediately. This might mean reducing sugary drinks like juice and swapping for water, and swapping caffeine for herbal teas.”
Speaking of caffeine, Hameidani also suggests reevaluating your relationship with the stimulant. “Many of us drink tea and coffee multiple times a day without considering that caffeine is a powerful drug that alters the body. It is interesting to see how you feel when you start to cut it out.”
Take the detox a step further, says Barre Effect’s Hameidani, and also reevaluate other aspects of your life and daily routine to judge whether they’re truly serving you. Simply focusing on diet or exercise is not enough; consider your media consumption too, social and otherwise. “When we talk about health, we should also be thinking about our behaviours as well as what we eat and drink. Reducing screen time and swapping it for reading or meditation can really help settle the mind as well as aid better sleep.”
In the evenings, swap out scrolling on your phone for a book, or take advantage of the more pleasant weather and go for a walk in the neighbourhood.
5. Rest and Hydrate
For a full detox after the holiday season, prioritise sleep and commit to healthy sleep routines. Munroe advises getting plenty of sleep so you’re well rested for the day. “Start your day with water before anything else to rehydrate.”
“Drink a lot of water. This is an easy way to get your body working at its best,” says Hameidani. “Many of us do not drink enough anyway, and then we lose more during exercise. This will keep our bodies, minds, skin — pretty much everything — happier.”
6. Trust the Process
Commitment is key, and simply making a resolution for the new year is not going to cut it, according to Boxica’s coach Cyrus. “New Year’s resolutions statistically don’t work. Build a solid foundation of nutrition and training long term, stay on the path, get a little bit better each day. Don’t rush the process.” For those days where motivation alone is not enough, you’ll need to rely on discipline and accountability to stick to your goals.
“I always start from the inside out. What makes me feel good is knowing my goals are coming from a place of positive intention for me to feel good,” says Leach. “As a trainer, I encourage my clients to do the same and I have seen incredible results in my life and theirs from implementing health habits towards achieving their goals.”
“Remember your why,” emphasises Munroe. “Set a date, measure your progress and tell your friends and family what you’re going to do.”
Goals for 2023
Read on to find out what the coaches have on their list of new year resolutions and goals for 2023.
Coach Megan Leach, The Platform Studios
- Focus on mindset and meditation
Nora Hameidani, founder Barre Effect
- Spend less time on unnecessary social media
- Read one book a month.
- Practice more yoga, with the goal of at least one session per week.
- Drink at least two litres of water a day
Coach Carissa Munroe, Boxica
- Complete a marathon
- Try new meals, bring more variety and colour to my diet
Coach Cyrus Rustom, Boxica
- Trying some new exercise classes and workouts to improve my overall flexibility
- Build up flexibility to do handstands and beyond