2020 was a strange, stressful year for everyone. But for those of you looking to improve your mood, it's time to get moving. Exercise has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to improve mental health by releasing feel-good endorphins – something we could all use more of now.
I've been exercising for as long as I can remember, but like everyone else, some days are easier to move than others. Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, it is vital that your health is a priority. And with 2021 already on our doorstep, now is the perfect time to prepare for the fitness train.
To help turn your resolutions into reality and start a healthier New Year, I've compiled a list of my top fitness tips below. Remember, it's best to start small so that the next day you wake up tired and fine with yourself, but not so sore that you start apologizing and stop exercising.
Movement builds momentum and setting goals and tracking your progress is key. With Performance Inspired Nutrition, I love seeing all the pictures of customers showing their pride in exercising. Last year we invested in an Australian fitness chain, F45, and I can't tell you how inspired I am with others taking care of their health and wellbeing.
I love mixing up my workouts to challenge myself and keep it interesting. I got addicted to the F45 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and added it to my strength training. This year I've also added a lot of indoor cycling and trail riding for my very physically challenging role in Arthur the King, which we'll be shooting in January. Shocking the body and changing the workout help me stay in tip top shape and make improvements. I listen to my body and rest when I need it, but I also work on minor injuries with my Power-Plate massage gun and increase my use of our Branch Chain Aminos (BCAA) to aid recovery. Diet is always the key; You can't overwork the fork!
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Diet is essential to feeling great, and I've found it helpful to get used to looking at food as a healthy fuel. I switched to my performance-inspired plant-based protein and a mostly plant-based diet in 2020, which has contributed to my overall health. Every workout begins with my pre-workout to ensure I get the most out of my fitness time, and each workout ends with a protein shake (within 20 minutes of finishing my routine) to refuel my exhausted muscles. I use a lot of my products and as I get older I rely on our natural products and a super clean diet to keep me feeling good. Moderation is key and I adjust my eating and treating to achieve optimal balance.
To avoid long-term injury, it's important to listen to changes in your body and take steps to change your diet, take a day off, work on an injured body part, or even see a doctor to properly assess an injury . Following these eight fitness and health tips will help you stay on track and be ready to start the new year.
My top tips to get back in shape in 2021
- Getting started – Stop apologizing and wait for the perfect month or day to begin – today is the perfect day! Go to the gym, go for a walk, watch your diet, and focus on health and fitness! In three months, you'll be glad you started!
- Set baseline – Look in the mirror, snap photos, record your measurements, set goals in writing, and keep a fitness log. Using a fitness tracking device and sharing your goals with friends and family are also proven ways to stay on track. If you sign up to run your first marathon or have vowed to go to the gym seven days a week, it can happen later. However, stick to something simple to start with – say 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes. Eventually, you will face challenging goals over time.
- Don't let excuses about your commitment to health overwhelm you – If you cheat on your diet or miss a few days of training, do it again! Your mind is your most powerful training tool.
- See nutrition as fuel – So many people offset a great workout by overeating and eating sugary foods as rewards for exercising. Moderation is key and start reading labels on the foods you eat. You will be surprised how much sugar and artificial ingredients are in popular foods!
- Listen to your body – Rest as needed, but don't fall back into bad habits! Falling off the diet or exercise plan is NOT a reason to give up. You are the CEO of your health so stay focused and stay on top of things.
- Variety helps you stay motivated – Change your workouts to include HIIT training, biking, lifting, hiking, etc. Exercise can be fun and soon you will hate missing even a workout or overeating junk food!
- Surround yourself with healthy choices – Take the blender out from under the counter and leave it out. Make low-sugar, high-protein smoothies instead of grabbing something unhealthy when you're hungry and lazy. Check out the recipes for smoothies as a meal replacement and better meal preparation. I keep protein bars handy and travel with my supplements and anything I need to keep on track when I'm walking around. It takes extra planning, but it's worth it.
- Celebrate the start and be proud of your progress – Share both your progress and your struggles to keep you updated. Join and follow fitness groups on social media. Post selfies, diet tips, and workouts. The fitness community is so passionate and supportive that you will stay inspired as others make progress! It also inspires others to see your fitness journey and that is a great feeling. It has been proven that by sharing your goals, you are more likely to keep reaching for them. So don't be afraid to share your healthy habits and ambitions on social media and tell your friends and family about them – you might even inspire them or find a workout buddy!
I hope my tips will inspire you to get better! While it's nice to leave 2020 behind, we've learned that prioritizing our health and wellbeing is vital to our immune systems, and that being healthy is a gift we must work for. Share your healthy journey with me and Performance Inspired – let's make 2021 the best possible year!
Mark Wahlberg is an actor, producer, and businessman. Mark co-founded the natural health food nutrition company Performance Inspired and Municipal, a sports utility gear and apparel company, and a manufacturing company Unrealistic Ideas. He is also an investor / owner / partner in F45 gyms, Power Plate massagers and of course co-founder of Wahlburgers restaurants with his brothers. Look for WahlStreet on HBO Max in 2021 which shows all of Mark's stores!
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