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5 tips to get your fitness back on track in 2021

Life Time's Lindsay Ogden recommends easing back into a routine with consistency and accountability.

We all know that 2020 has been a challenging year on multiple fronts, but turning the page to a new year gives all of us a chance to review, tweak, and renew our health and fitness goals.

"This has been a tough year for a lot of people when it comes to staying in shape," said Lindsay Ogden, personal trainer and Small Group Training Program Experience Manager at Life Time. "Spending more time sitting while working from home or watching the kids has made us more sedentary. Recent studies have shown that there’s been a 32% reduction in physical activity this year and another poll says 53% of people have struggled with their mental health due to the pandemic. At Life Time, we’re firm believers in the power of movement. Exercise can reduce stress, boost your immune system and benefit your mental health right now, which a lot of us need!"

Ogden offered five tips for getting back on track with your fitness goals in the new year:

1. Revisit your goals and determine your “why”

"If you made a goal at the beginning of the year to lose 15 pounds, why did you want to do that?" Ogden said. "Once you find that why, write it down on a post it note and put it somewhere where you’ll see it each day for motivation."

2. Find accountability

"Find a personal trainer or exercise with a friend. This makes it much more likely you’ll follow through. We find this is very true with our group fitness and small group training offerings at Life Time," Ogden said. "There are also groups and communities online on Facebook, or on apps like Strava."

3. Ease back into your routine

"If you’ve been out of your health club for weeks or months, you can risk injury if you go straight back into what you were doing," Ogden said. "Do this by focusing on your breathing, form, and control of movements you haven’t done in a while. If it’s been several weeks since you’ve done barbell movements, approach your first session with reduced loads and renewed attention to technique."

4. Let consistency reign over intensity

"Decide how many days per week you’re going to exercise, and then do it — even if it’s only 10 to 15 minutes or four to five sets," Ogden said. "Something is better than nothing. We’re creatures of habit, so if you can get yourself into the routine first, you can then build the intensity over time."

5. Make one change at a time vs. doing too much at once

"Instead of big and vague goals, aim for something more specific. 'Work out three times a week' or 'meditate for five minutes a day' – those are much more helpful and achievable," Ogden said.

Learn more about setting and maintaining fitness goals on Life Time's website.