The new year is here and like many people, you probably compiled a list of fitness goals and resolutions for this year. Fitness-related goals such as weight loss, strength gain, or muscle gain seem to find their way on everyone’s list at one point or another.
If you have a fitness-related goal this year, there’s a great chance you fall into one of the following two categories:
- You were once a newcomer that signed up for a gym membership or fitness program with the intentions of achieving your dream body. You started exercising at a good pace but things started getting in the way. Late night at work, traffic, errands, and among other things got in your way of achieving your goals. Unfortunately, you quit working out at some point ultimately because of lack of discipline or procrastination.
- Or, you’ve never been able to exercise regularly and fitness has never been a priority for you. But you woke up one day, looked in the mirror and decided to change. You’ve firmly made up your mind to stop procrastinating and decided to live a healthy lifestyle and now you’re going all-in.
Regardless of which category you fall under, the following tips will help you stay motivated to sustain your resolutions throughout the year and get closer to your fitness goals:
1. Set realistic goals
The purpose of setting short, achievable fitness goals is to keep you encouraged on your fitness journey. Putting the burden on yourself to look like Brad Pitt or Megan Good in eight weeks is simply unfair and unrealistic.
People often fail by setting unrealistic goals from the get go. Regardless, if your goal is to burn fat or gain muscle, set a fitness goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Make sure you set a time-frame and manageable milestones along the way will help keep you motivated on your mission and provide reassurance that you are making steady progress.
- Here is an example, I want to go from 18% to 12% body fat by December 2017, which means you need to lose about 0.5% body fat per month. So you set milestones for you to calculate your body fat at the end of each month to keep yourself accountable to your fitness goals.
2. Make a workout plan
Making a workout plan is a good way to ensure that you aren’t just going from machine to machine in the gym, wondering around like a zombie.
First, you will need a strategy, which will be your fitness goal. Then having a plan helps ensure you stay on track and know exactly what needs to get done to achieve your end result. In fact, having a plan helps ensure that you are giving certain muscle groups the adequate rest and not neglecting the ones that need work. It’s too easy for us to focus on the body parts we like the most or the ones that are easier to work. Make sure you workout plan includes all upper body, lower body, and abdominals. Ultimately, a regimented workout plan will help you stay motivated to reach your fitness goals.
- Make sure to split your workout plan to include all body parts. Here is an example: day 1 = Push day (chest, shoulder, and triceps), day 2 = Pull day (back and biceps), day 3 = Lower Body and abs (legs, calves, and abs), day 4 (rest).
3. The scale is not always an indicator of progress
One of the most common mistakes that rookies make in their fitness journey is relying too heavily on the scale to measure their level of success in their fitness journey. While weight loss (or gain) is typically a solid indicator that you’re making progress on your fitness journey, it is by no means definitive. It’s best to utilize your current weight measurement along with your body fat percentage. This will help you figure out the amount of lean mass versus fat mass.
Additionally, other factors such as stress, sleep, how much food you’ve consumed recently, and other things unrelated to working out can affect what the scale shows. It is important to be patient, stick to your workout plan, diet specifications, and make adjustments in moderate increments if you truly feel that you’re stagnating.
Adopting this philosophy will help ensure that you stay motivated despite what the scale says.
- Adopt body fat % as an indicator of progress and set your goals around it. It’s crucial to understand that muscle weight helps you burn calories and fat weight doesn’t. So ultimately you want to “lose weight” but also work on building muscle mass. Don’t get caught up with your scale because at the end of the day it’s all about how you feel.
4. Rome wasn’t built in a day
Too often, we are tempted to push the pedal to the floor and cut out every single sweet, carbonated drink, and snack in addition to working several times a day.
When it comes to your diet, the 90/10 rule is one that many workout fitness experts in the industry have strongly advocated. This rule dictates that you should have a strictly healthy diet 90 percent of the time while allowing ‘cheating’ or eating the ‘bad’ foods 10 percent of the time.
This helps make your diet more manageable and prevents you from slipping into a spiraling relapse. If you do happen to succumb to the temptation to get one donut from the store on your way home from work like you used to. It also should not have a very detrimental effect on your overall fitness goals.
Do yourself a favor: Remember the 90/10 rule and treat your exercise regimen like a marathon rather than a sprint and you’ll have no problem persevering throughout the entire year of 2017.
- Remember diets don’t work, lifestyle and habit changes do. Replacing your bad habits with healthier ones and making it a lifestyle will make the difference. For example, drink 1 cup of water 30 minutes before every meal and I guarantee you will feel less hungry. This tip alone can help you lose weight, have more energy, and detox your body.
5. Find a partner
One of the best ways to stay motivated on your fitness journey is to be friends with another person with the same fitness goals as you.
A partner can provide positive exterior pressure for you to stay motivated and continue your workout plan. They also provide a set of outside eyes that will keep you accountable and honest on your journey, whether it be through your workout or diet. In fact, a University of Pennsylvania study also concluded that having a workout partner can accelerate weight loss.
- Just make sure to keep your conversations to the minimum during your workouts to maintain your workout intensity.
- Leave your cell phone in the locker room so you both can focus on your workout.
6. Do your homework
Doing your homework is one of the most overlooked aspects of anyone’s fitness journey. Knowing exactly how to eat, how frequently to workout, what techniques are most effective, and having knowledge on what will help or hinder your progress will provide a substantial benefit for you.
For example, you may not understand why you’re struggling to lose weight until you read that the Chick-Fil-A sandwich nutritional facts, which you might be eating daily. There are over 600 calories by itself and the bun is made up of simple carbohydrates while the patty includes many grams of harmful trans fats.
This knowledge can help you eliminate foods that don’t align with you fitness goals. This will help you stay motivated as it gives you the reassurance that you are making all the right decisions.
- If you are truly serious about losing weight cut all the proceed sugar and high fructose corn syrup out of your diet. Here are 5 ways to lose weight by reducing your sugar intake.
7. There is no such thing as a wasted workout or good food choice
It’s 7 p.m., you’ve had a long day and you’re tired. But you still have another workout to complete before the evening is over. You think to yourself, “Eh, I won’t be able to have a great workout. I might as well wait until tomorrow.” Don’t! Every workout makes a difference. As a matter of fact, once you’re at the gym or in the middle of your workout, you tend to do a little more than what you originally intended.
The same goes for food choices as well. If you spent a day consuming terrible food, don’t feel that it is too late to eat a salad for dinner. Every positive choice and decision you make.
This can help greatly in staying motivated, often individuals quit their fitness goals because they ‘fell off’. Your journey does not stop until YOU decide that it does. In the worst case, you just took a small break.
- Set yourself up for success by always having a healthy snack on you. Another idea is to bring your own lunch to work, which will also help you save some money.
- You can always opt for a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, If you are running out of time.
You can achieve your fitness goals
Don’t wait any longer, make this a successful year. It’s never too late to right down your personal goals and start a journey towards a healthier self.
Remember, it’s not about what you have done, it’s all about what you are doing to better yourself.
I hope you find these tips valuable in achieving your fitness goals.