Odds are, you’ve set a few different New Year’s resolutions over the years. And by now, you might love or hate the practice.
On one hand, as Los Angeles-based CPT Simone Tchouke points out, why wait? At Paceline, we believe any time is a good time to set out on a fitness journey, or to set new goals. With that said, we also totally understand why January 1 might feel especially meaningful to you.
“A lot of people like to have a start date—a chance to start over,” says Amanda Hudock Hoffman, CPT, who is based in Cleveland, Ohio. “In that sense, I think they’re great.” (But take note: She cautions against looking for instant gratification. The new year can be a starting point, she says, but you have to stay consistent.)
All in all, we’ve got your back if you’re planning on making resolutions this year. In fact, to help you start the process, we asked Hudock Hoffman and Tchouke for their favorite fitness New Year’s resolutions. Read on for all their recs, and remember to choose a realistic goal that suits your unique fitness level—when in doubt, you can always ask a healthcare pro for help.
What makes a good fitness New Year’s resolution?
Before we dive in, a quick word on best goal-setting practices. Hudock Hoffman advises creating specific, time-bound goals, while Tchouke suggests that they should be realistic. (Sound familiar? Read more about setting SMART fitness goals here!)
7 Fitness New Year’s Resolutions, According to Trainers
- Set a strength training goal.
“I’m always going to say that everyone should have a strength training goal,” Hudock Hoffman says, adding that she preaches this type of exercise for obtaining aesthetic, physical, and mental benefits. An example the trainer offers is to target a certain number of pull-ups—in a realistic timeframe, of course. If you’re not sure what that timeframe looks like for you, you might consider working with a personal trainer.
- Take three to four fitness classes per week.
This might be a good fitness goal, per Hudock Hoffman, because it’ll get you moving throughout the week. And, if you aim to make two of them strength-based, it will likely help you meet the CDC’s recommendation for physical activity (150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus two days of muscle-strengthening activities each week). It’s especially suited to those who really enjoy group fitness, she adds. Her advice? Aim to do two strength-based classes (think: a kettlebell or barbell class) and two more vigorous cardio classes (think: indoor cycling). If you can, spread the higher intensity classes out by a few days.
Also, make sure to actually schedule the classes for the week—or even the whole month. That can help you to plan for (read: actually attend) each one, she explains. And she’s not alone in this idea: Tchouke also backs the idea of getting your goal on the calendar so that it feels more set in stone.
- Walk for 30 minutes three to four times per week.
This specific resolution comes from Tchouke, and ICYMI, walking can offer plenty of benefits—like supporting your heart health. And if half an hour sounds like a big block of time, have no fear: A study suggested that three brisk 10-minute walks completed throughout the day are at least as effective for reducing cardiovascular risk as one 30-minute walk. Intrigued? You can get a few trainer-approved walking workouts here.
- Sign up for a race.
Runners, take note! Hudock Hoffman recs this resolution for you. But here’s the deal: It’s not quite as simple as clicking “sign up.” You also need a plan for reaching your goal (including both a run schedule and strength training for injury prevention), she explains, and she adds that there are lots of options available to you. For instance, you might turn to a trusted online resource (see Paceline’s 5K training plan here!) or hire a running coach to personalize your plan.
- Train three times per week—and work up to hour-long sessions.
Tchouke recommends this resolution for those who are new to working out. She notes that you might choose Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as your days devoted to movement, since for some people, skipping Mondays can set the wrong tone for the rest of the week.
You can start with 30-minute sessions, the trainer says, and gradually work toward spending an hour on each workout. And make a plan for your workouts so you don’t waste time (or get overwhelmed if you opt to go to the gym), Tchouke advises. “You could definitely invest in [hiring] a trainer that you trust,” she adds. “They will make an elaborate program for you, and you don’t have to think—you just go and do it.”
- Branch out with your regimen.
This one from Hudock Hoffman is geared toward those who are already nailing a consistent exercise routine—and might be feeling a little bit bored. In that case, you might consider expanding your horizons in 2023.
“For myself one year, I was committed to learning boxing,” Hudock Hoffman says. She also suggests thinking about what you’re currently lacking in your regimen to help you decide on the specifics of this goal. For instance, maybe you’re someone who loves weightlifting and could use some additional cardio in your regimen. Or perhaps you sit at a desk all day, so you want to add some mobility work and movement to your rest days. And no matter what you choose, remember to make it fun! The more enjoyable you find the physical activity, the more likely it is that you’ll actually do it, Hudock Hoffman adds.
- Paceline Pick: Hit your Streak every week!
You know the drill: You nail your Streak when you rack up 150 minutes of elevated heart rate activity each week. And in return, you get rewarded with exclusive wellness rewards. So why not do it every week?