Fitness trainer Mike Rankin shares his secrets for keeping you on 
track throughout the year

Let’s face it, keeping to our New Year’s resolutions isn’t a walk in the park. It’s an uphill both ways climb through heaps of snow with the wind at our face. We’re hitting the gym and we’re seeing less and less of our workout buddies, and we start to demote our fitness goals until they eventually fall off completely. The equipment gets daunting and our motivation gets soupy but, truth be told, we can do this.

Mike Rankin, fitness director at the Peak Health & Wellness Center Downtown, gives us some encouragement to keep on top of our health and fitness goals throughout the year.

We’ve made a workout plan and we’ve just begun. How do we stick to our goals and find the time to exercise?

The best way for someone to stay committed when starting a new routine is to make smart goals. Make these Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Time-tabled goals. Then share them with someone. Make them known to family or friends who can act as your support system and hold you accountable. Then, try to recruit a friend or family member to workout with you to get you started or, of course, hire a trainer. That is what we help people with the most—support, accountability, and making sure you are doing it right.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to lose weight?

The best exercises to help you lose weight are cardio-based workouts; however, if someone is really dedicated to losing weight, they need to get the nutritional piece straightened out first. We need to get to the root of the problem before getting to any kind of exercise program. What lifestyle nutritional habits contributed to the weight gain in the first place? If we can get to issues like that and start cracking those habits, then we can have good success with any weight loss goals. Consider it a two-for-one plan—exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand.

What’s the best way to stay on 
track with eating right?

The best way to stay on track with a healthy, low-calorie diet would be to join a support group, whether it be friends, family, or a group of like-minded individuals. At the Peak, we have a program called Lose It at the Peak or you can work with a trainer who can help you stay accountable to a healthier eating plan. A lot of people have good success using any number of calorie-tracking apps, too. They can be very helpful in tracking and monitoring your nutritional goals.

How do we handle our sugar cravings?

Sugar cravings are extremely difficult because of the habitual nature of the chemical response. Honestly, the best way to help yourself control cravings of any kind is by trying to control your exposure to that particular stimulant. Tough to do, but if you can limit your exposure or create a more positive nutritional environment, you will have a much better chance of controlling cravings.

What foods will make us feel 
fuller longer?

The foods high in protein and fiber. The healthy fats can also play a crucial role in satisfying your nutritional needs.

What’s the perfect meal plan for someone looking to better their daily nutrition?

Meal planning is so individual. The best meal plan is one that has been professionally designed for you and your specific needs or goals. The only person who would be truly qualified to design a specific meal plan would be a licensed dietitian. Professional nutritionists can work with you to make sure you have a perfect meal plan that’s right for you. Following it is the tough part, and that is the part where trainers and support groups come in.