By Aly Teich
Today, and especially here in NYC, there are more choices than ever for ways to get fit and stay fit. The barrage of information on what’s the “best” way can often be daunting — especially if you are starting a workout routine for the first time, or are getting back into a routine after a long hiatus.
However, as I have stated many times in the past, I don’t believe there is any “best” way to get in shape — there is only what is best for you. How do you know it’s best for you? It should be something you feel a physical change from (getting stronger, gaining endurance, weight loss — if that is your goal, and a mass amount of energy!). Your routine should also be something you enjoy enough to actually stick to, because if you don’t stick to it — well, what’s the point in doing it in the first place?! If you still feel lost, here are 5 simple fitness rules I try to live by:
1. Move every day
This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon, or even run at all. Moving your body comes in many forms. Whether it’s just 5 minutes of stretching in the morning, doing a set of 10-20 pushups, squats, or some ab work, going for a walk around the block in the middle of the day, playing with your kids, or skipping the elevator to take the stairs. Just move your body and get your blood flowing! Every. Single. Day.
2. Challenge yourself 3-4 days a week
While stretching for 5 minutes every day will offer more positive results than you may expect, it still isn’t enough to really get you fit in a way that will help strengthen your heart, your lungs, your immune system, and your body. Which means at least 3-4 days a week, your daily movement should challenge you for a period of 20-40 minutes. What does that mean? That means your heart rate should be elevated, you should be slightly uncomfortably out of breath, and you should be breaking a sweat.
3. Find something you love so that you'll stick to it
As previously mentioned, if you don’t find a challenging workout that you actually enjoy, you are just not going to stick to it. For some, the enjoyment comes from how you feel afterwards, even if it feels like “torture” while you are doing your workout (raising my hand). However, for many, if your workout is something you really don’t look forward to, you are going to end up finding a way to avoid it — and I don’t blame you! But with so many different ways to break a heart-pumping sweat, I promise you can find something you like if you take the time to look for it. From spin class to dance class, to recreational sports, to outdoor activities, and even personal trainers that show up on your smart devices — just pick your poison, break a sweat, and HAVE FUN!
4. Let go of the guilt - don't be scared to get back on the wagon
I have spoken to so many people about (and also experienced myself) the difficulty of getting back onto the fitness wagon when you have fallen out of shape. Unfortunately, guilt is not on our list of easy tricks for getting healthy. So just let it go. If you fell off the wagon, don’t be scared to get back on. If you fall off again, well just keep trying! Life happens, we are human, it’s all okay — just keep trying at it! I know it’s like that friend who you haven’t called in so long, you don’t really know what you would say if you would pick up the phone and call now — so you let more time pass, and that call just becomes harder. I get it! But are you not always thrilled to hear from a friend who you haven’t heard from in quite some time?! I am! Why wouldn’t someone feel the same about you. Getting back into a workout is similar. You are always welcome back — no matter how many times you fall off the wagon — and you are the only one getting in your way! Lastly, I know there is a lot of fear about either where to start or being the most out of shape person in a class or at the gym. Again, Let. It. Go. Nobody cares! I repeat, NOBODY CARES! Who do you think other people at the gym or in class are looking at in the mirror? Themselves!
5. Make the time
One of the other common excuses I hear from people as to why they don’t workout is that they don’t have time. Sorry guys, I’m not buying that one. There is always time, you just have to carve it out. I don’t care how crazy your job is, I don’t care how many kids you have, I don’t care if you barely have time to wash your hair (again, raising my hand). This is your life, and despite what others around you may tell you, your time is yours to do with as you please. Please don’t mistake this as me somehow encouraging you to leave said job or neglect said children, but carving out 20-60 minutes in the day is completely possible (perhaps minutes you may otherwise spend sleeping or watching TV) — the time is there, and it’s up to you how you are going to spend it. I promise you the time you spend working out is time you will actually get back in your day. Even if it’s an hour of sleep lost, the energy you will gain from working out will give you more health benefits and energy than an extra 40 minutes of sleep. It will also offer mental clarity and stress relief, which will make you perform better at work and be more present with your kids. If I can’t convince you any other way, then I will say — if you sacrifice your health, you are at risk of sacrificing everything else you seem to be able to make time for. So put it in your calendar, set your alarm, and just make the time to invest in your health!
Aly Teich is Founder and Host of The Sweat Life.
Aly is a native New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She left Manhattan for Madison, Wisconsin to become a proud Badger for four years, and since then has lived on both coasts, traveled around the world…twice, and found herself right back here in The Big Apple.
Aly has always been an active kid, and now grownup (although she still acts like a kid.) She danced her way through the School of American Ballet until her teens, competed on horseback at a pre-Olympic level, lettered in three varsity high school sports, and completed three marathons and numerous triathlons. She’s also an avid skier, golfer, aspiring surfer, and can do a mean belly flop.
Following a ten-year career in television and media — including the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS Television, Tribeca Film, and Conde Nast — Aly switched her focus to health and wellness five years ago when her mother was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. Trading in her Late Show with Letterman badge for Nikes, Aly made it her goal to help people live healthier lives. In the fall of 2013, she decided to bring all of her experience and passion to one place, The Sweat Life.