12 Steps of Fitness: Strategies to Thrive

12 Steps of Fitness: Strategies to Thrive

by Rosie Malaghan, MS

It’s that beautiful time of year again when your barbell starts to look like a daunting roll of wrapping paper and your dumbbells resemble giant cake pops. Happy Holidays! Your group fitness class may be filled with those desperate to keep off the extra holiday pounds or it’s a ghost town…members lost to the hustle and bustle of family events, shopping, and the acceptance that this is what life is, until after the New Year. For some, this can be a dark and lonely time, due to anxieties and unattainable expectations. As fitness professionals, we need to recognize the need to create an inclusive space and encourage our members to approach their training with an open mind.

This season, the goal is not to tread water or simply get through each day, slapping on a smile or stuffing processed snacks into your face while running from one place to the next. The goal is to THRIVE!  A powerful word with appreciation for oneself, space, and others. The goal is to feel the magic, connect with family and friends, and empower the mind-body experience of being human.

Under the leadership of Ann Gilbert, Owner/Operator of Shapes Fitness for Women in Tampa Bay, we asked Master Trainers in the area for their recommendations on how to thrive this season. We would like to share these 12 Steps of Fitness: Strategies to Thrive.

  1. Master the basic squat. If you are going to make the effort to train, make it worth it. Spend time learning how to drive your hips back, keep your chest up and not collapse your knees.
  2. Drink no less than 50% of your bodyweight each day. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs, drink no less than 80 oz each day. Not only will hydrating your body balance your blood sugar, promote cardiovascular and digestive health, and keep your muscles and joints ready for action, but your choice of water means fewer empty calories from other beverages, and a more satiated feeling.
  3. Travel with a workout essential. Even in the smallest of suitcases or duffel bags, you can fit a resistance band or tubing! This option is not only cost-effective, but you can perform a full-body workout on the road.
  4. Learn to make your walk really count, no meandering or dallying. Pretend you are walking a straight line, step one foot in front of the other, striking with your toe first. Toe-ball-heel. This method can activate muscles in your foot, minimize impact on bones, and it requires more energy per step.
  5. Stand Up, Sit less. Push away from your desk, get off the couch, and engage your core and pelvic floor. Not only will you lengthen your spine, but your heart works harder when you are standing, which means you’ll burn more calories. Make it a goal to stand up every 10-20 minutes.
  6. Use travel to your advantage. Flight delays and waiting in line can be beneficial. Learn to exercise using the stairs or chairs around you at the airport or bus station. The following are examples of movement that can be done with just a chair: lunges, squats, calf raises, chair yoga, push-ups, triceps dips…what else can you do?
  7. Eat a mini-meal before you attend the holiday party. Fuel up and choose a quality protein (such as lean meats, hard-boiled eggs, or tree nuts) and fiber (such as veggies, lentils, oats, and legumes). Not only will you feel confident that you ate something healthy, but you will make smarter decisions at the party.
  8. Choose a backpack. Alleviate tightness and stiffness in your upper body muscles by balancing weight in a backpack versus a one shoulder option purse or tote bag.
  9. Write S.M.A.R.T. goals for the new year. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound goals will lead to a genuine action plan to help focus your efforts and increase the chance of achievement.
  10. Incorporate 30 minutes of movement daily. Plan it in advance. Schedule it, write it in your planner, share with a friend and hold each other accountable.
  11. Carry a loved book or object in your purse, briefcase, car or backpack. Even in the darkest of moments, having a tangible object that reminds you of happy memories can bring you out of a funk.
  12. Drumroll… Take time for self-care, preservation and whenever possible, a 6-second HUG! Did you know that in just 6-seconds you can boost the flow of oxytocin, not only promoting a better mood, but a more connected bond with the person you are hugging.

Share these tips with your clients and your students. Add your own and perhaps even turn them into a new holiday poem or tradition.  Remember, the goal this season is to THRIVE. May you enjoy the magic, connection, and gratitude that comes with our incredible position as coaches.  The light in me recognizes and celebrates the light in you. Happy Holidays!



About the Author

Rosie Malaghan is a Master Trainer with Shapes Fitness for Women. Rosie holds an MS in Human Development and Family Studies, is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, SCW Group Fitness Instructor, SCW Strength Coach, Precor Queenax Instructor and Piloxing Instructor. As a Registered Yoga Teacher and Children’s Yoga Teacher, she brings a holistic approach to strength, mobility and lifestyle training.