Are your health goals flagging? Here's fitness blogger and YouTube star Carly Rowena on how to stay in shape throughout 2016...

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What do a lot of websites, magazines and people have in common? Becoming obsessed with fitness in early January, only to drop the ball in Feb. In fact, around 80% of New Year’s Eve resolutions are forgotten about by the second week of February*. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that you’re more committed than the average Joe.

So we’ve spoken to fitness trainer, blogger and vlogger Carly Rowena for some tips on how to keep your New Year regime running and running…

‘Make one change each day’

“I’ve always wanted that ‘dream career’,” says Carly, explaining how she first donned her gear and entered the world of fitness blogging and vlogging. “After spending seven years working in marketing I just knew there was something else out there for me, but didn’t know what it was. A friend suggested I started a YouTube channel in hopes it would show me any talents I might possess, and voila: three months in and my fitness videos were the ones generating the most interest.

“Soon after, Women’s Health wrote to me asking me to have a column, and I screamed. It was a magazine I’d been reading since I was a child, so you can imagine my excitement! Unfortunately I had no fitness qualifications, so that was the push I needed.”

Six months later Carly had passed her PT Course, quit her job and become a full time Personal Trainer. “It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made, and one I never would have thought of had my followers and Women’s Health not pointed my passions out to me.”

But from there, her follower numbers have grown hugely; Carly’s fitness-focussed Instagram feed, for instance, has over 64,000 followers, while her YouTube channel has over 230,000 subscribers (and counting).

And that makes her perfectly placed to help us answer some age-old questions: Why is it so tough to keep our exercise regimes going past January, and how can we stay consistent?

“Being honest? It’s because we expect too much, and we change our approach too much,” she tells us. “We’re a nation of extremes. We overeat or undereat, punish ourselves over something, or never give it a second thought. It’s the same with fitness, January comes and everyone joins the gym, cuts down their carbs and vows to never eat sugar again, then three weeks later they’re tired, stressed and binging because they’ve dropped too low.
“We need to teach people that fitness is a journey, not a destination.” That’s a strong message, but how do we take that and turn it into fitness gold?

“Aim to make one change each day, whether it’s making the time to get off your butt, or aiming to up your water intake…”

“Take it day by day,” Carly says. “Aim to make one change each day, whether it’s making the time to get off your butt, or aiming to up your water intake, or go from having three sugar filled snacks to two sugar snacks. If you focus on each day you won’t feel trapped and want to sabotage yourself. You will, however, look back and realise you made lots of little changes over several weeks that lead to a big change with little effort.”

And luckily, the tech in your pocket or on your wrist is on your side:

“Technology is incredible for keeping you on the right track, with apps like Daily Water Free to remind you to have another glass, MyFitnessPal to teach you all about Macros and Calories, or training apps like PumpUp or NTC which are like having your own smartphone-sized personal trainer. It makes everything more accessible and a million times more affordable.”

Some handy app tips there, but Carly’s a firm believer in the importance of finding exercise you enjoy doing, rather than letting the tech do the work for you, or letting your workouts become staid:

“I feel like Fitness needs to become a little less about losing weight and more about feeling epic,” she tells us, “so I’m hoping that 2016 and beyond is going to be more about just keeping moving, and epic classes that expand on functional movements instead of just ‘I can lift a bar’ or ‘I can run 5k’. 2016 needs to be more about exercises that help people in their daily lives, and that make them want to move more in free time – not just because they want to be a size or shape.”

So what does that mean Carly’s 2016 goals are for herself?

“My goals are always changing but I’m focusing on reminding to give myself time to train! People think that because we’re personal trainers we must be training all the time, but in reality I’m back-to-back with clients, and if I’m not training them I’m filming workout videos or writing blog posts.

“I’d like to do the unspeakable and be a little more selfish – work on my own flexibility, calisthenics and, beat the boyfriend in some sort of fitness challenge!”

You can pick up loads more helpful advice at carlyrowena.com, or at youtube.com/carlyrowena.

The right tech for you… If you’re looking for the perfect gadget to help you lace up and get out there, Wareable.com’s editor Michael Sawh has 2016’s top contenders.

*https://www.quora.com/What-percentage-of-new-gym-members-in-January-stop-coming-after-February