As the new year begins, millions of Americans are hitting the gym and the produce section of their local grocery store, looking to make healthy changes to their lifestyle. Forbes Health found three of the top five resolutions for 2024 are related to health, with improving fitness, weight loss, and diet changes rounding out the list.
Still, while making these fitness resolutions is popular, Wallethub found 40% of people believe health resolutions are the hardest resolutions to make and stick with.
"If you kind of go out and all-out sprint right out the gate you're gonna lose that steam fairly quickly," said Katie Gallagher.
The Los Angeles-based personal trainer and professional dancer has firsthand experience pursuing a healthier lifestyle. "I was fresh out of college and 40 pounds overweight and just very unhappy," Gallagher said. "I knew that it was going to be a slippery slope if I stayed on the path. I introduced a balance that I was able to sustain long-term and it has been absolutely life changing."
The shift was so transformative, Gallagher left her corporate job and started working to help others with their fitness journeys.
"Buns and Guns 12 Week Transformation" is a fitness e-book Gallagher published to give healthy-hopefuls a solid head start. It has workout videos and detailed exercise explanations to help people feel confident about heading to the gym. "Don't be afraid to be seen as a beginner. Put aside your pride and remember that nobody was born in a squat rack," Gallagher said. "You want to find ways to make it enjoyable."
Licensed dietitian and running coach Chrissy Carroll agrees. "Think about what lights you up and what's going to encourage you to get out there," the Massachusetts-based triathlete said, emphasizing the key to making a resolution stick is to pick something specific that also excites you.
"I think playful exploration is a great way of embracing fitness."
She suggests trying something new to get moving, like ice skating, indoor rock climbing, or even joining an adult kickball team. "If you can be consistent with your plan and go ahead and tackle that workout, you will likely start to experience the benefits and as those benefits come, it's going to snowball the motivation for you," Carroll said.
Still, even when you find something you enjoy, both Gallagher and Carroll want you to be prepared for setbacks. "My favorite saying is: 'consistency trumps motivation.' There will be days it is going to be cold and 20 degrees out and you're laying in bed and the alarm goes off and you just don't wanna get out there and do anything," Carroll said.
Gallagher suggests having some form of accountability in place for when that happens, like a workout buddy or a tracking app to motivate your progress.
"Just come back to your why and just know that you're capable."
Carroll suggests stacking your habits to get in a fitness groove. An example she shared was doing ten push-ups every morning after brushing your teeth. "That will help you build those new habits into your routine" she said.
Carroll posts all kinds of fitness and food tips on her website, SnackinginSneakers.com. She hopes to make health accessible to everyone, while also helping others take their fitness to the next level. With a focus on her passion for training, Carroll wrote the book "Eat to Peak: Sports Nutrition for Runners and Triathletes," which is available online.
Finally, both Gallagher and Carroll encourage everyone to remember exercise has more to offer than just physical and aesthetic benefits. "When we can kind of disconnect those societal narratives about what fitness should look like, we can start to appreciate the other benefits of it," Carrol said. "Feeling like we're embracing a challenge, anxiety relief, mental health."
It's a sentiment Gallagher echoes. "It could end up being that exact type of workout that you fall in love with," said Gallagher. "It could change your life."