Fitness & Weight Loss
Find Your Fitness Focus for 2015

Find Your Fitness Focus for 2015

What will the New Year hold for your workout routine?
Katie Otto

By Katie Otto

It's officially 2015 and time to brainstorm your New Year's resolutions. If you're like most Americans, losing weight and getting fit are probably somewhere on your resolution list. The good news is that people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who do not, so you're on the right track. Unfortunately, 54 percent of those people give up on their resolutions within six months.

Why? Many times, people set themselves up for failure by choosing unrealistic commitments that don't fit their lifestyle or personality. It's easy to say, "I resolve to go for a run three times a week," but if you've never run before or don't have the right shoes, you likely won't stick to that plan for long.

This year, instead of jumping right into a new workout plan, consider some other factors first: your personality, other interests and routine of your daily life. Though they may seem unrelated at first, these aspects of your life actually hold the key to the best fitness plan for you. So grab a pen and take this quiz to identify your fitness focus for 2015!

After a long day, what would you most like to do?
A) Get some fresh air outside.
B) Enjoy a massage – work makes me pretty tense.
C) Spend time socializing with family or friends.
D) Crash on the couch. I don't have the energy for much else.

Picture yourself at the height of your physical fitness. What are you doing?
A) Completing a triathlon.
B) Mastering a yoga headstand.
C) Lifting weight at a new personal record.
D) Completing a TV series in record time.

If you went to the gym today, what would be the most difficult exercise for you?
A) Running.
B) Stretching.
C) Strength training.
D) Just getting to the gym is the most difficult.

Describe your perfect outing.
A) I don't need a crowd – I could have a great day at the movies, shopping and having lunch by myself.
B) As long as I've got a bunch of friends with me, I'm ready for anything.
C) I prefer to spend quality time with a few close friends, family members or a spouse.
D) Anything I don't have to plan or organize myself.

Physically, what does your typical day look like?
A) Sitting in the car, sitting at my desk and sitting some more.
B) Nothing is typical – I'm pulled in so many directions that each day is different.
C) Running around after the kids.
D) Whatever the day requires of me – no more, no less.

What motivates you at work?
A) Pushing myself to turn projects in on time and meet other deadlines.
B) Knowing that if I do my work well, I can help my team and improve the company overall.
C) Imagining what I can accomplish in the future if I do a good job today.
D) I'm in it for the paycheck.

What's for dinner tonight?
A) Something new – I like to try new restaurants and new recipes.
B) My favorite meal. Why not?
C) Something hearty.
D) If you'll make it for me, I don't care what it is!

Your friend asks you to join her for a charity 10K run this weekend. How do you respond?
A) I haven't really trained, but hey, it's for a good cause. Let's do it!
B) I'll cheer you on from the sidelines and make a donation for good measure.
C) Sure, I might be able to do it.
D) Nope. Call me when you're done, and I'll pick you up for lunch.

Pick your favorite vacation spot.
A) Anywhere with outdoor access, like the beach or the mountains.
B) Somewhere I can unplug and unwind.
C) Exploring a new city with a friend.
D) Home sweet home – I just want an easy break from the daily grind.


If you answered mostly As...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is CARDIO!
This year, you should focus on cardio workouts like walking, hiking, running or cycling. These workouts can get you outside, can be enjoyed on your own or with a group and can combat the negative effects of a sedentary desk job. Plus, you're always game for something new, so even if you're not big on cardio right now, this is your year to try it.

Your first step to cardio success is to get the right gear. Places like West Stride, New Balance, Phidippides and Big Peach Running Co. can guide you through selecting the best shoes for walking and running cardio workouts. Some stores offer programs that can take you a step further, such as West Stride's regular running groups or Big Peach Running Co.'s "Good Form Running Program," which helps both walkers and runners establish safe techniques.

If you need gear and guidance for other types of cardio workouts, Atlanta's retailers don't disappoint. High Country Outfitters can equip you for a hike of any difficulty level, and Endurance House can guide budding cyclists and swimmers through their first bike selection or wetsuit fitting. Many of Atlanta's indoor cycling studios also offer cycling shoes along with class registration. So whether you're ready to invest in workout gear or not, there's a cardio workout waiting for you!


If you answered mostly Bs...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is FLEXIBILITY!
You're a team player, always happy to support a friend or help out a coworker. Because of that, your days are busy, so your workouts should help you unwind. Take that team spirit to a group fitness class like yoga, barre or Pilates, where you can get a full body workout with a focus on improving flexibility.

And flexibility isn't just about how far you can stretch – it's also about being flexible in life and letting go of stress. Annelise Lonidier, owner of {Sacred} Thread Yoga, says that stress relief aspect of people's fitness routines is crucial. "Stress has incredibly detrimental effects on the body and can impact everything from sleep patterns and eating habits to our body's ability to metabolize food," she says. Including yoga in your regimen can help address all of those while improving your overall fitness and flexibility. Many studios offer a free first class and have mats available for use at the studio, so to be prepared for your first class, you just need to show up.

Other options are Pilates classes and barre classes across the city, which build strength and include stretching as an integral part of that process. Pilates and barre classes generally require no outside equipment on your part, so it's very easy to drop in and see if these workouts are right for you. Plus, the group setting makes these classes an ideal place for you to be fit, flexible and friendly.


DumbbellIf you answered mostly Cs...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is STRENGTH!
With a small, close-knit group of friends and an inner drive to do your best in all areas of life, you are a perfect fit for strength training. Training in small groups or one-on-one with a personal trainer will help you build the strength for your busy life with just the right amount of social support thrown in.

When learning to lift weights and other strength-building activities, it's a good idea to start with some professional guidance and safety tips as you begin. If you are a YMCA member, take advantage of their "Coach Approach." You can be paired with a personal wellness coach who introduces proper usage of all the gym's equipment and helps you begin your strength training with confidence.

For ongoing support with strength training, a personal trainer might be the way to go. He or she can identify exercises for the areas of the body you want to prioritize and help your fitness routine progress as your strength increases. Plus, building that relationship with one fitness support person can help you stay motivated to work out regularly and stay accountable.


If you answered mostly Ds...

Your 2015 Fitness Focus is MOTIVATION!
With one demanding day after another, you're getting a little burned out. It takes most of your energy to address your regular responsibilities, so adding another obligation – working out – isn't high on the priority list. But you already picked up this guide, which means self-care is important to you!

Start by considering your nutrition. Your body may need different fuel than you're currently giving it, which could be affecting you physically and mentally in terms of your energy levels and mood. To see if that's the case, consider reaching out to nutrition therapists like Dr. Elizabeth Young at B. Young Nutrition & Wellness. She takes into account each client's beliefs, emotions and behaviors in order to develop an individualized plan for better nutrition. That emotional side is particularly important if you feel like you're in a motivation rut.

Once you've given yourself a nutritional boost, try a workout setup like The Exercise Coach, which offers one-on-one personal training in just two 20-minute sessions per week. "We've created a workout for the average person that does not like the gym scene, hates exercise or does not have time to exercise," says Katie Sanders, owner of the Johns Creek location. The small time commitment coupled with an individual relationship with your trainer can help you overcome your lack of motivation and make 2015 your
fittest year yet.

Jump-start your healthy year! Turn the page for some motivation from Atlanta's fitness experts.