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FitLink Newsletter: January 1, 2009 - It's a New Year... put down the leftovers and get back in gear.

January is the most popular month for goal setting because of the start of the year, and the chance to turn over a new leaf and begin anew. In order to ensure that your new year resolutions don't go unnoticed, follow these five steps to help you reach your goals:

1. Decide on a realistic goal that you are willing and ready to commit to then tell someone.

Creating an unrealistic goal that you cannot reach may lead to disappointment which can in turn lead to feeling like you lost your chance to make a change; creating a goal that you think is a good idea and is something that you should do (such as quitting smoking) but are not truly ready to do sets you up for a bad habit of not following through with your goals. If you choose to make more than one resolution or goal, make sure that the collection of them are attainable; most experts recommend a maximum of five goals at one time. Telling someone what your goals are will help hold you accountable. It is easy to scratch our goals and let ourselves down for a variety of reasons, but we hesitate to bail out of a plan if we have told someone. So pick someone you trust with your goal then tell them about it so you have someone else who is counting on you to keep your word.

2. Write down the goal or goals.

Write them down in a way that you will use every day. If you use a computer on a daily basis, the "journal" in FitLink is a great place to do this because you can easily see your goals every time you log in to record your daily activity. If you do not use a computer on a daily basis, write them down in a journal that you keep in your briefcase or purse so that you look at them often and can add journal entries every day in order to record your progress.

3. Create a plan.

Most new year's resolutions get derailed within a few weeks even with the best intentions. Break your goal down into small steps that you can manage. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, aim for one pound every week. Physicians recommend one or two pounds per week at most to ensure you are losing bodyfat instead of muscle or water. Losing too much weight at once slows your metabolism so that your body requires less energy to do the same tasks. The result? More weight gain in the future which be even harder to lose (i.e. yo-yo-dieting effect) since losing weight too quickly convinces your body that it needs fewer calories to survive.

4. Set deadlines.

Set a short-term deadline with a firm date, then a long-term deadline. You may want up to five short-term deadlines if you have a big goal, such as 'Lose 50 pounds' or 'Run a marathon'. Make short-term deadlines either once-a-week, twice a month, or monthly depending on the size of your goal. Pick a date down the road (April 1, July 1, or even December 31) to keep you focused on the long-term picture.

5. Celebrate your progress along the way, and your success upon reaching your goal.

Acknowledging your progress is essential to staying motivated. Do something to celebrate each victory. If you run farther than you've ever run before, or if you exercise every day that you said you would, tell a friend or gym buddy and then go out for a cup of tea, a smoothie, or anything that makes you feel like you are treating yourself. Once you reach your main goal, celebrate on a larger scale: invest in a new pair of workout shoes, or get a new technical t-shirt that will give you something to look forward to in your future workouts.

New Years Resolutions 2009 Discussion Thread

Cecharlier - 2009 Resolution

"My New Years resolution for 2009 is to run my first IronMan, the Ford Ironman Louisville! I may need to wear my inflatable giraffe around my waist to make sure I don't drown, but we will both wear matching goggles."

Proctor - 2009 Resolution

"My resolution is to run a sub-4 hour marathon. I also want to run a sub-22 minute 5k, a goal I was not able to accomplish last year."

Jcborro - 2009 Resolution

"My new years resolution is to appreciate gravity. It incessantly tries to pull me down and sooner or later it is going to win. I should also stretch more."

Start working towards your goals and support others: Start by adding your resolution to our discussion thread.

Focus muscle: Glutes

This edition of the FitLink newsletter is featuring glutes. Listed below is a ten minute workout that you can do with no equipment or with resistance if you have it available to you.

The glutes' most powerful action is to cause the body to return to an erect position after stooping by drawing the pelvis backward. It is assisted by the hamstrings and inner thighs (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and adductor magnus).

The Glutes help you walk upstairs, get out of a chair, and many other pushing actions. The gluteus maximus is one of the largest and most superficial of the gluteal muscles (the other two are the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius). Its' large size is one of the most characteristic features of the muscular system in the human body. It helps maintain erect posture.

New FitLink Workout: Ten minute Glute workout

Do ten repetitions of each exercise, rest one minute, then do 10 more reps of each exercise. Do each rep slowly and to your maximum range of motion. Click the exercise name to read full instructions on how to execute each exercise.

Lunges on each leg Squats Standing Glute Press Kneeling Hip Abduction

Strong glutes not only look good but help your body feel better. Strong glutes will make it easier to stand for longer periods of time, walk on an incline, and move from a sitting position to a standing position. There are many ways to help build glute strength with or without weights. They include squats, lunges, hip extension, and deadlifts. These exercises should be done every other day and can even be done every day. Walking on an incline on a treadmill or using the stairmaster with good technique (by not bearing weight down on your arms by leaning on the handrails) will tone the glutes and help burn intramuscular fat and subcutaneous fat so that you can see the definition in your glute muscles. Set aside 30 minutes at least three times a week for cardio workouts.

Shapely Tip: Stop early

Give yourself a boost in energy and burn extra calories without having to make a big production out of it. When riding the elevator, get off two floors early and walk up. If you drive, park as soon as you can instead of driving around looking for the spot that is closest to the front door of the store. If you ride a subway or bus, exit one stop early or walk around the block once you exit at your stop. Every little bit helps!

Easy Recipe for Kick-Start Smoothie

  • 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. Kefir (any flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. soy protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (whatever is in season)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup ice

Blend well in a blender-add a splash of 100% pure grape juice or apple juice to make a little sweeter and a little thinner. Then, let the brain-freeze begin!