“Welcome back” can have a multitude of meanings such as coming home, rejoining a social group, or returning to a healthy lifestyle. Those two little words have more gravity in recent months as we slowly return to a feeling of connection to one another, and to our better selves. 

Through the holidays it is common to enjoy more sweets and have interruptions in our regular schedules due to traveling, a busy social schedule and holiday revelry. If you are re-starting a fitness program this year, here are a few important things to keep in mind: 

Enthusiasm is an important ingredient to a successful fitness program. The famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson says it best, “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” If there is one thing I have learned, it is that we are consistent with those activities we look forward to doing. Ask yourself what physical activities in the past you most enjoyed or what new ones can you explore? Is it hiking, yoga, golfing, swimming, or dancing? Once you find that regimen, you look forward to it and it is all downhill from there.  

There are some staple exercises you should throw into the mix such as pushups (which no one seems to like). The key is to discover what you enjoy and use that as your incentive. For example, I really don’t look forward to doing core exercises, so I do my planks and ball crunches first, then I get to swim or hike which are two physical activities I really enjoy. 

Inspiration is another important element to a successful exercise program. We are inspired by the people around us, and we are always better together. Try finding a group class, a walking partner or personal trainer to keep you consistent, which is key to reaching your fitness goals. Another way to stay inspired is to register for a marathon or tournament to support a great cause you believe in. What a perfect way to give back and get fit!

Consistency is a third ingredient for success. That can mean finding a day and time that works best for you and your busy schedule.  Maybe you run out of steam on Friday afternoons from a long work week, so try exercising Monday mornings. It is important to book your workouts in your calendar like any other appointment. 

Perseverance is a vital ingredient as well. Try making short-term goals to keep yourself motivated, and long-term goals to keep you inspired. Some inspiring long-term goals might be playing in a tournament, running a marathon, or losing weight for your summer beach body. In the beginning, it is wise to focus on your short-term goals such as walking an extra 15 minutes more per week, losing one pound per week or performing three extra pushups each week. 

I leave you with this quote from John D. Rockefeller, “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

Michele McCord is a personal trainer/yoga instructor, nutritional consultant, certified music therapist and founder of the Michele McCord Method. She can be reached at (310) 923.3237 or [email protected]. For more information, visit www.michelemccordmethod.com.

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