Steve Penn is the owner of Fitness Effects Training and Nutrition in Gilbert. He can be reached at

Are you feeling a little sluggish and out of sorts? Not sure how to have success this time around? Don’t fret, your not alone.

Your intentions are good, but you need to have a plan. Before you dive into the deep end with two feet, take some time and reflect on what is going to help you stick with it this time. Ask yourself the tough questions that will help your long-term success. How many days a week are you going to commit to? What kind of exercise do you enjoy (classes, weight training, running)? The last time you had success with a fitness program, what things did you do to help keep you on track? Are you going to go it alone, or are you going to work with a trainer? Those are just a couple of things you consider as you prepare to start you new healthy lifestyle.

After you’ve answered the questions, the next step is to set some goals. Not arbitrary goals, but SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, in a Realistic Timeframe).

If you want to lose 5 pounds, then decide how long you think it will realistically take and go for it. By setting and achieving your SMART goals, you will stay motivated for longer because you constantly are seeing results. Results are the best motivator out there. As long as you continue setting SMART goals through the duration of your training program and you will constantly have success. Remember it’s a lifestyle change not a short-term fix.

There isn’t a magic formula for getting you back into your healthy routine, however, armed with your new SMART goals, here are a few tips for easing the pain and guaranteeing that you will achieve some success rather than sputtering out in the next week, or next month.

1. Hit the water hard. Keep that water bottle with you all day, and refill often. Hydrating your body will rejuvenate you.

2. Do some form of exercise at least three days per week. Forget the excuses. All of them. Strap on your running shoes and at least go for a walk/jog. Remind your body and brain that exercising does make you feel great.

3. Say goodbye to the sweet and decadent foods. The holidays are over. Stay focused, on your SMART goals.

4. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption. Your body will feel much better once it is given nutrient-rich foods.

5. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you achieve one of your SMART goals.

It’s not all doom and gloom. When you reach a goal, celebrate. New shoes, new purse or a new belt because yours is too big. Whatever you decide, don’t let a goal go by without recognizing your success.

With these few tips, your on your way to health and fitness success in 2014.

If you would like a few more tips, or would like some help with your training or nutritional program, don’t hesitate to contact me at or

In good health.

• Steve Penn, owner of Fitness Effects Training and Nutrition in Gilbert, 4311 E. Baseline Road, can be reached at

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