Want to slim down or build a fitter physique in 2014? Then follow these tips from fit­ness guru Greg Cloutier, project man­ager in the Human Per­for­mance and Exer­cise Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory in the Depart­ment of Health Sciences.

  1. Your New Year's resolution to maintain or lose weight should include a diet plan and exercise regimen rather than one or the other. If you only diet, your weight loss will have a higher portion of muscle loss than if your plan includes exercise as well as healthy eating.
  2. Exercise to gain muscle, which helps boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Though you can eat many more calories than you can burn, there is a limit.
  3. Setting a new goal for healthy eating, exercise, and physical activity for the new year requires a plan. One of the best things to do is to schedule this plan into your day like a real appointment—and keep it. Start this plan slowly and tighten up the diet and increase your physical activity over time. Too many people fall into the pitfall of starting off with too strict or too intense a program—one that at first seems manageable but quickly starts to cause injuries or produce results that are not commensurate with the amount of effort you are putting in.
  4. Through practice and research, we now know that those who commit to a friend, family member, group, or any support team fare much better at reaching their fitness and health goals compared to those who do it alone. When we make a commitment to someone else we feel that it is a contract to the group. Use a planned pre-work, lunch break, or post-work time on most days of the week to get together for a walk, run, or bike ride. You could even spend a few minutes walking up and down flights of stairs.
  5. Northeastern has a large number of physical activity groups. Joining one could be a great way to maintain fitness, reduce stress, have fun, and network with some great people at the university. You can find these by going here and selecting the “Club Sport” category.