In the wake of the New Year many are more concerned with their bulging waistlines than the fiscal cliff. As the pressure mounts to turn over a new leaf at the start of the new year, the most important question is how ?
There are some brave souls that will undoubtedly dive head first into the proverbial pool of “Resolutions” and find themselves both unprepared and incapable of meeting the very real challenge of complying to a healthier lifestyle. While others will see instant but unsustainable gratification due to their adoption of intense over-training and inadequate diets. With such dyer outcomes looming why start the journey at all? There are numerous benefits to starting the year off healthy, but the key is doing it right.
Here are a 10 tips to help you succeed on the journey .
I. Plan Everything – And I do mean everything. Right down to a 15 min workout that you can do at home in case you miss the gym. Everyone always wants to know how celebrities manage to squeeze in a work and make it across the country for a interview ? Well it has more to do with organization than dedication. Make your workouts apart of your daily routine. If you work late, get up and hit the gym before work. Nothing great comes without sacrifice.
II. Prepare for Setbacks – Have realistic goals and realistic time frames to reach those goals. If you miss a workout or cheat on your diet DON’T let it snowball out of control. Yes, you missed a workout but that is no reason to give up. Yes you cheated on your diet but one cookie does not make you a failure. Do NOT give in to the “I might as well eat the whole pack” impulse. Failure is a part of success only if you choose to learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself the question why did I miss my work out, and did I have my 15 min workout ready in case this happened? Why did I have that cookie instead of fruit? Should I pack more fruit at work?
III. Immerse yourself in “FIT ” Culture – The greatest gift of social media is the ease of finding like – minded individuals. Join fitness groups online. Start a group with your friends. Need new workout ideas, or nutrition tips subscribe to a magazine online, follow them on twitter. Try Shape, M&F Hers, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, just to name a few.
IV. Embrace the Change- Make it a lifestyle, not a fad. That means no jumping on and of diet band wagons. You did that last year and look where that got you. This time try incorporating foods and training that you can enjoy. Involve your family and your friends. Don’t go for overhauls instead try to make weekly exchanges. Each week exchange one poor habit for one good one.
V. Diversify- Try mixing up your training to avoid peaking. There will come a time when you stop seeing results from that 30 minute run on the treadmill. That doesn’t mean you have to start running for an hour . Instead try Interval workouts , ladder drills, or sprints. Keeping your training progressive is the key to your success.
VI. Find a Friend / Personal Trainer- Working out with a friend is great for motivation but working out with a Certified Personal Trainer offers the additional benefits of accountability, expertise, and safe training. If you and your workout partner are both new to the gym try small group training. Many clubs offer small group training as an alternative to one -on – one personal training and group exercise classes. Small group training offers a more individualized focus than large classes but is also more affordable that personal training. Check out small group training at NYSC.
VII. There’s an App for That – Overwhelmed by the idea of counting calories? Need to find healthy options on the fast food menu? How about keeping track of your running routes and performance? Well in this tech age your cell phone maybe your best workout and diet companion. One of the most praised apps is My Fitness Pal. It’s been featured in The New York Times, and Shape Magazine, with over a million foods in its database it takes the pain and guess work, out of tracking calories. This free app is available with both Android and Apple phones .
VIII. Have a Backup- Pack extra meals and have 2 times available that you can go to the gym. Cook over the weekend and prep starter items for salads ; pack them in the fridge. Even have alternative workouts. If you go to the gym and have a leg workout planned but aren’t feeling up to it, that doesn’t mean you call it a day , do arms instead. When you have options it makes it harder to make excuses.
IX. Be Realistic / Don’t Over-train- The reason that most individuals fail to reach their weight loss goals is burn out. In the beginning they hit the gym for 3 hours a day, 7 days a week and with very restricted diets. The hectic training wrecks havoc on the body an ultimate leads to injury. Which halts training or stops it all together . The key is to look for gradual gains and not instant gratification. If you have a plan and remain consistent you will see the results you’re after. A rule of thumb is 4 , 8, 12. At 4 WEEKS you notice change , at 8 WEEKS others will notice change, at 12 WEEKS the world will see the difference.
X. Nutrition is The Key- Jillian Michaels is often quoted saying “You can eat your way through any workout “. What most people don’t realize is that with increased activity comes increased appetite. That means with all the extra calories that your body will need to sustain activity the options should be clean to avoid carrying those stubborn extra pounds. The key is eating clean, eating plenty of vegetables, and limiting processed foods.
Good Luck and Happy Training .