At the start of 2015, I made a decision to start working with a personal trainer. As New Year 2016 approaches, instead of a new resolution, I am reflecting on the resolution set a year ago. Looking back, I realize that as a wellness decision, it has been one of the best individual, long-term investments I have ever made.

Fitness is a desire that motivates me daily. If I miss a day of exercising, it clearly shows as a deficit in my mental and physical functioning. When you start an exercise program, it is essential to get to the point where you are craving fitness rather than loathing it. 80% of the population has a loathing of exercise, noting lack of time in their schedule as the main culprit. This 80% includes many who are not meeting the federal government’s physical activity recommendations of 2.5 hours of moderate exercise a week. Even though I did not need to be motivated by a trainer, working with one has made all the difference in changing my perspective and results.

For quite some time, my workout was to ensure there was cardio, cardio and more cardio in my daily regime. Activities such as hiking, biking, walking, and running were the focus to get my heart rate going. What had been missing were the weights and a motivator. As soon as I started a program of lifting weights, with assurance from a trainer that I had proper form, varied intensity, and more push than I would ever give myself through discomfort, I experienced noticeable results in muscle tone, improved posture, strength in cardio activities and enhanced confidence.

At 43, I learned that I was in an age range where there was the loss of 1% of lean muscle mass per year and that 30% of strength was going to dissipate between 50 and 70. Furthermore, another 30% of what is left in strength would diminish the decade after that. At this moment of clarity, I realized that cardio activity was important, yet weight training is the ticket to fighting against the atrophy that seemed apparent in the cycle of life.

Atrophy of muscle was not the only reason to show up at the gym and do this work in weight resistance, but also to burn off unwanted fat! One pound of muscle burns an extra 50 calories a day while at rest. If 10 pounds of muscle are gained, the resting metabolic rate soars to burning 500 calories extra per day! After obtaining all of this wonderful information there was no longer a fixation on burning calories through cardio. I started focusing on burning calories by building muscle, and it has made all the difference. My 2015 resolution will continue to be my 2016 resolution. More work can be done to build those 10 pounds of muscle!

Hopefully, there is a resolution from the past that worked so well for you that by merely continuing the same resolution, you’ll have a happy new year. If not, give weights and a trainer a try.

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