How to Actually Get in Shape This Year

By Fiona Ewing | 1/12/17 10:00am

After that last slurp of eggnog, you probably told yourself that this year was going to be different – that you were going to keep your New Year’s resolution (that’s four years running) of finally getting in shape. But it’s a week into the term and you’ve probably already started to deviate from that rigid training schedule you set for yourself. To be fair, walking to the gym in subzero temperatures when you have a bunch of other stuff on your mind is probably one of the last things anyone wants to do. But I’m here to give you a few tips on how to get back on track because trust me, it will all be worth it.

1. Set clearer goals than just “getting in shape.”

I once heard that if powerlifters are athletes training for competition, bodybuilders are like artists sculpting themselves from clay. I bring that up because 1) maybe it emasculates the life’s work of those meatheads in the gym who you might be intimidated to work out next to. But more importantly, 2) if getting in shape is an art, you’ll need to know what you want to look like. Once you set specific goals like losing five pounds or building muscle in your arms, you can tailor your routine to guarantee you reach them.

2. Do your research.

While bodybuilding may be an art, fitness is also most definitely a science. In other words, once you’ve set your goals, you have to realize that there may just be certain ways of reaching those goals that are more effective than others. Sites like Bodybuilding.com are a great place to start, but to save you time, here are lessons one and two: Get off the elliptical and into the squat rack.

3. Drink lots of tea, coffee and water.

You may hear the faint cry of “drink me” every time you walk by KAF, but it’s time to shut off those voices in your head. And maybe see a therapist… at least once the spurned caramel soy latte starts invading your dreams. Kidding aside, it’s best to stick to these drinks if you’re looking to get in shape. They’re all calorie-free, for one, but you’ll also need them to stay awake, because let’s face it, in the winter, 5 p.m. for some reason always feels like 9 p.m. and the temptation to go to sleep before you’ve done any work is all too real.

4. Track your progress.

Some research says that weighing yourself every day induces some kind of self-regulation that helps you stick to your diet. Others prefer to take progress photos and post them to Instagram. You do you; what’s important though is that you’re somehow tracking your progress, so you can make adjustments, but also so you can see how far you’ve come.

5. Order your first pair of Lulus.

via Business Insider

I’ve never owned a pair these magic leggings before, but every female gym-goer on Instagram seems to love them. Like the jeans from “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” these things flatter everyone. I hear they’re ridiculously comfortable too. The only catch is that a single pair now costs almost $100. But take the plunge and you’ll find yourself in the gym twice as much as you did before (if only to get rid of your buyer’s remorse).

6. Bundle up.

As I mentioned, ten times out of ten, you’re going to think it’s way too cold to go to the gym. But you can’t let that stop you. See Angela Zhang’s Winter Gear Guide and be on your way. Then come spring term, you can emerge from your cocoon of puffy jackets and thermal layers to reveal the new you.

Looking good is great and all, but at the end of the day it’s all about finding a form of exercise that really speaks to you. I started seriously weightlifting more than a year ago now, and while I’m proud of the physical changes I’ve seen, the mental benefits have been unreal (and it’s more than just the endorphins). Seeing that I can stick to a schedule and reach my goals has made me more confident that I can conquer other areas of my life as well. And that’s what I wish for all of you too in 2017.


Fiona Ewing

fiona@ewing.com