But with the new year approaching, many people hope to start — and stick with — new fitness regimens, despite busy schedules or a fear of the gym. Richards-Ross, 31, has a few expert tips to help you finally keep those resolutions.
If you feel like you don’t have time:
1. Work out first thing in the morning.
“When you’re making plans for your day, prioritize your fitness because working out is your gift to yourself,” says Richards-Ross, who has partnered with the MyQuest app as an online running coach. “It’s about staying healthy and having a healthy lifestyle. For the working woman or busy mom: Get your workout in early, because otherwise your days can get lost.”
2. Do at-home workouts.
“There are so many ways that you can do workouts at home in only 30 minutes — functional training, core training — that are just as effective as going to the gym,” she says.
3. Focus on your nutrition.
“You lose just as much weight focusing on your diet as you do going to the gym and working out,” explains Richards-Ross. “Don’t eat too late at night and drink lots of water — those things speed up your metabolism, and also help you to lose weight.”
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If you have never hit the gym before:
1. Start with at-home prep work to ease yourself into it.
Lifting weights or attending group exercise classes can be intimidating if you’re new to working out, so Richards-Ross recommends focusing on fundamentals at home first. “There are things you can do outside of the gym that can prepare you for the gym,” she says. “There are lots of functional exercises, like push-ups, dips and core training, that can prepare your body.”
2. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
“A lot of times it’s more daunting in your mind than it is in reality,” says Richards-Ross. “Don’t be afraid — even an Olympic champion has to go to the gym for a first time! Working out should be fun, so keep trying different things until you find something that you really like. It shouldn’t feel like a job. There are so many options to stay active and be healthy: yoga, Zumba, biking, climbing, dance. Try something — and if you don’t like it, try something else. Let go of that fear, and be willing to give it a try.”
3. Find motivation in the reason for your workout.
“Even as an Olympic champion I don’t always love going to the gym, but knowing the benefits of what you are doing should inspire you to do what you do,” says Richard-Ross. “It’s not going to be easy, but even if you hate it, think about the benefits and how good it is for your body. That will allow you to push through it.”