How to Follow Through with Your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions

The following is a guest post written by Dave West of Koko Fitclub and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercisebasics.

Every year like clockwork on January 1, people across this country make a commitment to lose weight, get fit or stay healthy.

Do you know how many people reach their New Year’s resolutions? Not many. According to, only 8 percent of people successfully achieve their New Year’s goals.

As an owner of fitness and health clubs in Scottsdale, Arizona, I see this process first hand. I’ve seen people fail. I’ve seen people succeed. In my opinion, what separates success from failure is ATTITUDE. The people who stick with their New Year’s fitness resolutions tend to have a positive outlook on life.

Sure, these people experience speed bumps along the road to their fitness goals. But they look at them as learning experiences.

Having a positive outlook on life can do so many great things for you. The Mayo Clinic says a good attitude:

  • Increases your life span 
  • Improves psychological and physical well-being 
  • Decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases

In my personal experience, it also helps you reach your New Year’s fitness goals. So how do you carry a positive attitude throughout 2013? It starts by following these steps.

Step #1: Have a Plan – Too often people are set up to fail because they don’t have a plan to reach their fitness goals. It’s important to establish a fitness plan that meets your objectives. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when setting up your plan.

Step #2: Keep It Real – Know your strength and fitness levels. Setting unrealistic goals is going to make it tough to reach your goals.

Step #3: Monitor Progress – It’s going to be tough to reach your goals if you don’t monitor them. Monitoring progress helps keep you on track. It also builds confidence and momentum as you start to inch toward your goals.

Step #4: Always Be Learning – Knowledge really is power. Get help from fitness instructors. Read blogs like Exercise Basics or the Koko FitClub Arizona Fitness Blog. The more you know, the more confident you’ll become.

Step #5: Have Fun – It’s tough to stay positive if you’re not having much fun. Find a gym and do activities that make you smile. You’ll see an improvement in your confidence and fitness levels.

Following these tips will help you improve your attitude when it comes to fitness. Before you set any weight or fitness goals for 2013, make it a priority to stay positive.

Former professional baseball player Wade Boggs put it best: “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.”

Dave West is the owner of Koko FitClub gyms in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can find out more about Koko FitClub by visiting

Improve Your Posture to Increase Performance and Avoid Injury

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercise basics.

As well as leading to a number of detrimental health issues, like chronic back, shoulder, neck and knee pain, a poor posture can have a big impact on your exercise performance. While we all know that a bad posture can have a negative effect on our health and well-being, not everyone is familiar with what they can do to improve it. Below are some simple exercise tips that can help you gradually improve your posture and reduce the risk of developing a long-lasting injury.

Strengthen Your Core

In order to effectively adapt and improve your posture, it is important to understand what constitutes ‘correct’ posture. In general terms, good posture is when the body’s muscles and joints align properly – which allows for more efficient movement. When you are not well aligned, the muscles and joints (e.g. shoulders, hips, spine, knees etc…) are not working in unison – which results in some muscles having to work harder than others.

The first step to a good posture starts with strengthening the core, which gives you a strong and solid platform to build on. To do this, you need to focus on the abdominal muscles, obliques, lower back and hips. To get you started, here are some basic core strengthening exercise you can work into your normal routine:

Basic crunches (without sitting fully up) – these help to develop the rectus abdominals
Crunches with twist (alternate the crunch left to right) – these help the abs and obliques
Back extensions 
Side plank – works the obliques

Fix The Hunchback

Once you’ve strengthened your core, you can start tackling the rounded shoulders that have developed thanks to all that slouching at your desk, in the car or while watching TV. This can be rectified by strengthening the weak upper back muscles and stretching the tight muscles in your chest, shoulders, lats and hips:

Reverse fly exercise – to help the upper back
Resistance band seated row exercise - more upper back strengthening
Chest stretch
Standing quad stretch

Incorporating the above exercises into your normal exercise/stretching routine will see your rounded shoulders improve over time and create a more efficient posture.

Correct Tilting Hips

One of the signs of a poor posture is tilting hips. To check if you have tilting hips, look in the mirror side-on when you are wearing a belt. Is the belt at the same level all the way around your waist, or is it higher in the back? If it’s not level, then you have tilted hips – which are commonly caused by sitting down with bent legs for too long. Here are some exercises that can help strengthen your hamstrings, glutes and abs to correct tilting hips:

Bridges – strengthens the hamstrings and glutes
Swiss ball hamstring curls – works the hamstrings and glutes

Just as a poor posture doesn’t happen overnight, a correct and efficient posture takes time to develop. The above exercise guide will help you gradually strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. To speed the process up, you can also change certain aspects within your daily routine e.g. make sure you sit upright and resist the temptation to slouch at your desk or when driving, get a firmer and more supportive mattress and make a concerted effort to stand more upright.

This is a guest post from Luke Glassford of physio supplies seller Physio-Med.