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posted: 10/3/2011 6:00 AM

Don't let end-of-year bustle sidetrack your fitness goals

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As the weather turns colder, you may feel your energy levels dropping with the temperature. This causes many people to abandon their workout routines until New Year's resolutions come around in January. Don't be one of those people who let things slip during the last few months of the year. Try the following tips to keep your health on track through the remainder of 2011.

Set a new goal: The "lose 10 pounds to look good in that swimsuit" goal has probably been outdated since July or August, so now it's time to get creative again. Maybe you'd like to run a 5K with a co-worker or you've always wanted to try kickboxing. Now is a great time to set a goal that forces you to try something different -- something that challenges you mentally as well as physically. Make this the time of year where the pressure of a certain weight or pants size just isn't as important as conquering a task that you've never done before.

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Re-evaluate your diet: Just as certain food availability changes with the seasons, your diet should never be the same year round. Getting tired of the same old foods day after day? Now is a great time to introduce local seasonal foods into your diet that you may not have eaten throughout the summer. Get out to a farmers market and check out the best foods of the autumn season.

Keep a journal: It's been shown that keeping a food and exercise journal can significantly help people reach their fitness goals. Sometimes we don't realize what we eat until we write it down or we're just too embarrassed to write down the things we do eat. As far as exercise, how can you progress forward if you can't remember your workouts from last week? Keeping track of all this keeps you moving in the right direction.

Get a friend involved: It feels great to inspire someone to lead a healthier lifestyle, but the unexpected outcome is that while you're inspiring others, they are inspiring you as well. Support and accountability from those closest to you is a great way to build your relationship while keeping each other on track. Getting a friend involved in that 5K will be helping you as much as it helps them.

Have fun with it: If exercise seems like a chore, it won't take long for you to make excuses about why you don't have time for it. If you hate doing traditional cardio on the treadmill, get into a sports league or join a martial arts class. Exercise should be an enjoyable part of our lives, not something we feel like we have to do. Active people understand that exercise is just part of their lifestyle and they make it as enjoyable as possible.

So while others are making excuses about why they can't exercise as the year winds down, don't lose sight of how important a consistent routine is for your body and mind. Keep your energy up and your health in check.

Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at PushFitnessTraining.com.

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