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It’s a New Year and you want to kick things into high gear and set some new attainable goals for yourself! 

Sticking with activities you love to do, so that exercise isn’t a chore, is so important when making a plan and being consistent with exercise. 

Instead of overhauling your whole life this year, consider making small adjustments to what you currently do to help you achieve new goals. Build bigger muscles, boost your confidence in the gym and get out of your comfort zone to spring forth new changes in your body composition and mental health. 

5 Ways to Incorporate Small Changes for Big Results 

  1. Use “New to You” equipment. 

Do you usually stick to using dumbbells and gym machines for your workouts? Consider branching out and using kettlebells, the landmine, medicine balls, resistance bands, a BOSU or the battle ropes to change it up. Keeping your muscles “thinking” requires using your muscles in a new and different way. Start by adding a new piece of equipment to a basic exercise, like squatting on top of a BOSU. 

  1. Hire a personal trainer to work on a specific skill or muscle group. 

Maybe you have been doing the same old, same old and you have plateaued, or maybe you are too intimidated to use a barbell, but would really love to learn how to safely front squat, deadlift or even do a pull-up.  

Hiring a trainer for a few sessions could be worth the investment. A certified trainer can also build you a self-directed program specific to your goals. You can elicit a session to have those exercises demonstrated and get your personal form checked, which could prevent injury from working out on your own. You may choose to hire a personal trainer for virtual sessions or in-person, making it convenient and accessible. 

  1. Change your lift format. 

Do you lift the same number of reps and sets every time you hit the gym? Try switching up the format of your lift. 

Rather than straight setting your reps, try the drop set (reduce weight during an exercise and work that exercise to failure), superset (two or more exercises in a row with no rest), compound sets (two or more exercises in a row of the same muscle group from different angles and no rest) or pyramid sets (start light with higher reps and end with heavy weights and fewer reps).  

  1. Easy on the cardio. 

Cardiovascular training is very important and necessary for a healthy heart, but if you don’t challenge your body with strength training you are putting yourself at a disadvantage for aging.  

Maybe weight lifting in the gym really doesn’t interest you. Join a strength training fitness class, or try a power yoga class. Being sweaty doesn’t mean you necessarily accomplished more. 

  1. Incorporate flexibility training and rest. 

If you experience chronic tightness or nagging pains, it may mean you are neglecting to incorporate enough rest or flexibility training into your wellness regime.  

Taking a restorative or yin yoga class could be one of the greatest resets for your nervous system, helping to bring you back to a state of calm and reduce cortisol levels in your body (the stress hormone which can stall your body composition goals).  

A Pilates or Barre class could help loosen out tight hips and hip flexors, which can inhibit good form in lower body strength training. Strengthening your core and releasing your hamstrings, lower back, and your side bending muscles could help reduce poor posture, which can compromise form in strength training and provide some relief from aches and pains.  


Chantelle Erickson has been a personal trainer/group fitness instructor for 9.5 years in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and was a 2021 recipient of Impact Magazine Canada’s “Top Fitness Instructor.”   She currently owns and operates her own pre and postnatal fitness business, Be Well Chantelle, where she instructs moms through her Be Well Baby Mama and Muscle Mama classes, as well as offers virtual personal training programs and monthly fitness challenges. Chantelle won bronze in the City of Lethbridge Community Votes awards in the “best personal trainer” category. Chantelle is also a certified running coach with Personal Peak (Calgary, AB) and a freelance writer for Canadian Running magazine. You can follow Chantelle @runningmama85 and her business @bewellbabymama