Fitness expert Renato Guerrieri shares his tips for staying motivated to get in shape.
A new year means new goals. But while many Americans pick weight loss as a top New Year’s resolution, it can be difficult to stick to a diet and exercise plan.
Spin instructor Renato Guerrieri believes that remaining patient and creating realistic, flexible goals can help you stay motivated year-round. “It’s about committing to work out in a way that keeps you motivated. You just have to create challenges you can work toward. Once you have structure, you have a way to measure your progress.”
Guerrieri, who also teaches studio strength classes and small-group training sessions at Life Time, knows that when it comes to exercising, you have to find what works best for you and your physical abilities.
“Living in Houston, it’s so miserable and hot outside most of the year, so I found I wasn’t able to motivate myself to really exercise outdoors,” he admits. “Consistent exercise didn’t really happen until I discovered indoor cycling and going to spin classes. I joined a local studio and got on one of their memberships, and eventually, after a year of riding with them, I became comfortable auditioning and launching as an instructor with them.”
Spin classes can appeal to a wide variety of people because you work as a team with those around you to create camaraderie. “What appeals to many people is an environment where you’re moving together, pushing yourselves together, and working out together in one place,” he says. “It’s all about matching the rhythm and tempo.”
“It’s about committing to work out in a way that keeps you motivated. You just have to create challenges you can work toward. Once you have structure, you have a way to measure your progress.”
In fact, Guerrieri sees music as a great way for people to stay motivated while working out. “It’s really about the music driving the workout. That’s why spin workouts appeal to me. You can pick any genre of music so you can change the level of intensity to drive the workout. That’s how I got into spin, specifically.”
He also discovered that out of all the different exercise plans, spin classes were the most comfortable for his legs and joints. “It’s pretty low-impact on your joints. Just running on dirt paths is really hard on the knee and ankle joints. You don’t have to worry about that kind of impact from a spin class. Spin is a great way to increase your endurance and your speed.”
While it’s hard to stick to a workout plan and maintain it on a daily basis, Guerrieri encourages people to approach exercise as less of a chore and more of a mental relaxation technique. “That’s one major component. I find it allows me to focus on something other than work for a while. As a spin instructor, it gives me a physical, mental, and creative outlet.”
For those who have never regularly worked out before, Guerrieri suggests starting a regular exercise plan and creating tangible ways to measure your fitness goals. “My friend told me about this concept of ‘50 days of fitness.’ That worked for me. It’s all about keeping that commitment to staying fit and exercising. I found it was a way for me to become more intentional in scheduling my workouts. I thought it was a really neat way to stay fit. That’s the sort of structure that allows you to have something to work toward. You have your day zero and your day 50.”
Guerrieri sees people focusing on the wrong aspects of dieting when they decide to get in shape and start working out. “For dieting, it’s not so much about cutting back on any foods. It’s about being more intentional about the foods you fuel yourself with. I would instead suggest doing a food diary for one week every month so you can learn more about the fuel you’re putting in your body. It allows you to check in with yourself once a month to see if you’re getting enough of the right nutrition.”
While there are days when Guerrieri finds himself lacking motivation, staying on track is more about pushing through and realizing that the end result is worth it. “As Nike says, just do it. If you exercise, you will feel better afterwards.”
Anyone can get more fit and lose weight, but you have to try different techniques to find which workout is best for you, Guerrieri emphasizes. “Just try out different classes. As popular as spin classes have become, there are many who despise it. Just try out all different kinds of workouts. You will eventually find something that works for you. Once you find what you love, it’s much easier to make it into a routine.”
Keep up with Renato Guerrieri on Instagram @renato_guerrieri.
This article appears in the January 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.