Many people start a new year with self-improvement and fitness goals in mind. However, the cold weather often puts a chill on motivation. There are still several ways to maintain your fitness momentum into 2022.

Set simple goals

FireLake Wellness Center Director Leslie Cooper said setting simple goals is the key. Everyone should consult with their doctor before starting an exercise program.

“One of the biggest factors in staying motivated is to set your own personal goals. Your goals need to be realistic because when they’re realistic, they’re achievable,” she said.

Cooper said a goal as simple as working out two days a week is easily attainable and does not have to involve using weights or attending a class. Walking, housework, yardwork and playing with your children are all activities that can add up during the day.

Keep it fun

It is also important to pick activities that are fun, she said. Motivation is easier to maintain if the workout is enjoyable.

“If you enjoy waking outside, then go outside,” Cooper said. “It doesn’t mean you have to go outside and walk for an hour. Walking for 10 minutes twice a day is easily attainable.”

Make it routine

Fitting exercise into your day is easier than people might think, she said. Even during the workday, they can usually find time for 10 minutes of walking, pushups or squats.
For those who hesitate to go outside when the weather turns cold, they find focus in changing up their daily activities.

“Make exercise and physical activity part of what you do every day,” Cooper said. “Moving your body should be part of your daily routine. For example, when you go to the grocery store, you can park further away from the store than right up front. You can get in some extra steps. It doesn’t have to be like, ‘I’m going to the track, and I’m going to walk a mile and a half.’ Just keep moving.”

Adding exercise to household chores builds a simple indoor routine, such as taking a few minutes to do 10 squats or pushups in between folding laundry, washing dishes or dusting.

Find a partner

She also encourages people to find a workout partner.

“It’s a lot easier when you have somebody to be accountable to,” she said. “If you have a best friend, your spouse, your kids, a coworker, it doesn’t matter. Just find somebody that enjoys doing something active too.”

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed many aspects of fitness, Cooper said.

“There’s so many types of exercise programs and workouts that you can get on the internet. For example: yoga classes, stretching classes, HIIT classes, which is a high-intensity interval training class. If you have little weights at home, you can do strength training exercises. There’s all kinds of things that people now have access to that are not in-person, all because of the way the fitness industry has changed because of COVID,” she said.

Not seeing results

Sometimes during their fitness journey, people find they are not seeing the results they had hoped to see. Cooper advises consulting with a doctor, a dietician or nutritionist, or a certified personal trainer.

“If they’re consistent about their workouts, and they are not seeing or feeling any changes, I would want to talk to them about their nutrition habits,” she said. “Nutrition is 98 percent of weight loss.”

Cooper recommends cutting out unnecessary fast food, processed foods and sugar to spur weight loss. Sugar can also show up in unexpected places, like beer or wine. Drinking a beer or glass of wine after a good workout can be counterproductive.

Increase water intake

Cooper said increasing water consumption can help people achieve fitness goals as well. People should be drinking half their body weight in ounces.

“Water consumption plays a huge role in physical fitness and overall health,” she said. “It just helps the body function. So, working out or not, everybody should be doing that.”

Change it up

After assessing nutrition, Cooper then evaluates whether the workout itself might need modifications.

“Are you working hard and breaking a sweat?” she said. “You can come in and workout five days a week and just walk. Ask yourself this: are you just leisurely walking like you’re shopping at the mall or are you walking with a purpose? You have to have a purpose. Say, ‘I’m going to break a sweat today.’”

She also considers other reasons for stalled weight loss, such as hormonal imbalances, which is why it is important to talk with a doctor about exercise plans.

Expertise is available

Staff at the wellness center also use some of the latest technology and add their own expertise to fitness routines. One of the trainers uses a boxing app and carefully monitors the participants to ensure their health and safety.

Cooper urges caution when selecting or following online workout programs. The person performing the exercise may not necessarily be an expert or certified trainer. It is important to use the right form when working out in order to avoid injuries, she said. Imitating moves from an online workout could possibly lead to permanent or persistent injuries that could require medical intervention.

She said one of the advantages to visiting the FireLake Wellness Center and consulting with the staff is that they are certified trainers who can help individuals design a workout program with specific needs in mind. They can evaluate form and make suggestions, possibly preventing an injury or even improving the effectiveness of a workout.

“Do you have any specific joint injuries that we need to work around? Do you have heart problems? Have you had any surgeries? Probably 75 to 80 percent of people have some type of injury that they have to work around. They don’t understand or know how to adjust their activity around their injury. It’s confusing to people because a lot of what you’re seeing on Instagram or TikTok is not being done by someone that is qualified or is a certified trainer,” Cooper said.

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, many people stopped going to a gym and opted for at-home workouts using apps or online workout routines. Cooper said that trend will probably continue as many have now adapted to the changes and found new routines they enjoy.

Meeting those goals

Overall, staff want Tribal members to find an effective routine and stick to it, even if that routine isn’t at the FireLake Wellness Center.

“Of course, I’d love to see you in the gym,” Cooper said. “But our job is to help people meet their fitness goals, no matter where they’re at, whether it’s at our gym or not. We’re just here to help no matter what, no matter where they are.”

Find out more about the FireLake Wellness Center at