Achieving change can be difficult. Here, our expert panel outlines the most meaningful upgrades you can make for your health, fitness and the planet in 2022
By: Tom Ward
Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Finally get that six-pack. Maybe it’s to travel more. Get that promotion. Drink less. All valid and noble aims.
Then again, maybe this year calls for something different. Maybe it’s time to make resolutions that will lead to lasting changes. Ones you can achieve without exhausting yourself in the gym or working endless hours in pursuit of wealth and social status.
From rethinking what you wear to the gym, to empowering yourself to feel better at work, to generally just letting yourself look and feel better, these are our expert-inspired tips for a better – and more fulfilled – you in 2022.
“Consider starting the new year as your foundation for building on. It isn’t the quick-fix time, where you suddenly ramp your training up to six times a week. Book in a weekly class or two with a friend to supplement your own training. The camaraderie and competitiveness is an added bonus. It also removes some resistance to get you in the gym, out for a run or on the yoga mat.” – Will Goodge, head coach at Puresport Run Club
“Starting new fitness programmes involving resistance or high-intensity activities can cause a delayed onset of muscle soreness, otherwise referred to as DOMS. This is not an injury and shouldn’t be treated as such. Keep moving, as light activities and stretching will ease the muscle soreness. Light intensity activities such as swimming, jogging, walking and indoor or outdoor cycling are great.” – Mel Thomas, PT at @melvthomas
“Decide what your non-negotiables are. These are the things that are really important to you. Do you need to finish work at 5pm on the dot every day so you can spend time with family and friends? Do you need to carve out time to exercise three times a week so you feel better both physically and mentally? Once you know these, you can set boundaries for yourself. Communicate them with those who need to know, and make sure you honour them.” – Erin Thomas Wong, business coach and podcast host at Life-Friendly Business
“Many of us suffer from anxiety before a big meeting. This is the amygdala part of our brain, which processes emotions and memories associated with fear and pleasure sending signals to the rest of our brain to prepare ourselves for flight or fight. You can get around this by box breathing. Breath in for a count of four, hold and out for a count of four hold and repeat.” – Sukhdeep Randhawa, transformation professional and mental health first aider @sukh_r
“When we send things to landfill, they release harmful greenhouse gases as they break down. But a lot of workout gear can be recycled, even if it's not in a fit state to be worn again. For example, Nike will recycle old trainers, even if they're not Nike branded; they get turned into basketball courts, carpet and even playgrounds.” – Sian Conway-Wood, author of Buy Better Consume Less
“Gyms that provide towels often go through dozens of loads of laundry per day in order to provide fresh and clean towels. That uses a lot of water and energy. If a user brings their own towel, this would decrease the amount of energy used for laundry.” – Anisha Desai at Planet Possible
“Going plant-based is good for your health. It’s good for body composition and will help you feel full, because protein is more filling than carbs and fat. There’s a sustainability aspect too; we need to move towards more plant-based food to combat climate change. The big stat is that if you switch one meal a day to plant-based, you reduce your food related carbon footprint by 35 per cent. If you do two meals, it’s 50 per cent. The main area around that is protein. Start by switching your red meat to white meat and fish, then start switching that to things like beans and pulses.” – Daniel Clarke, lead sustainable nutrition executive at Huel
“Let go of ‘diet culture’; it focuses on weight above all other health markers. Embrace whole, nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods to improve your happiness, support your immunity and reduce your risk of long-term chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.” – Rosie Martin, an NHS health and wellness dietitian, and an advisory board member for Plant Based Health Professionals UK
“Clients become derailed from a weight loss plan by constant cravings for sweet foods and this quickly becomes a downward spiral. A great way to limit cravings is to make sure you are eating a range of fresh vegetables and fruit and also eating a correct balance of macronutrients. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional sweet treat.” – Rachel Lines, PT and nutritional expert at RachelLinesFitness.com
“Whenever you feel yourself doubting yourself, or lacking confidence, ask yourself a better question: ‘How can I show up as the best possible version of me right now? How would I act, look and feel?’ Just by asking yourself an empowering question your mind begins to search for the possible answers and finds resources to support you with where you are right now.” – Rebecca Lockwood, neuro-linguistic and hypnotherapy expert at RebeccaLockwood.org.uk
“We're often extremely critical of ourselves. You need to flip that on its head: instead of being your own biggest critic, become your own biggest cheerleader. Instead of agonizing over your flaws, switch that focus to what you're doing right. Remember that bad times will pass, especially when things get tough.” – Harry Bliss, co-founder of Champion Health
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