The new year is going to hit us within a month and a bit. In that month we’ve got some festive eating to do, chocolates, cakes and all manner of unhealthy goodies.As a result of this, a lot of people have a tradition of making new year resolutions and a lot of the time ‘getting fit’ or ‘getting a flat stomach’ or ‘getting healthy’ is one of those resolutions.I don’t like to leave it to the new year. I think it’s better to start before the holidays are in full swing. So here are my 5 favourite tips to fitness success in 2013.
Tips to fitness success in 2013
1. Setting Realistic Goals
A resolution is a resolve to reach a goal but the tradition of new years resolutions is often followed by a tradition of failing to adhere to them. That’s because the resolutions that most people choose tend to be wishful or extreme. Or perhaps they set them really easy so they reach them (but don’t make any changes or push themselves).
So you have to set realistic goals.
Say your goal is to run a marathon and you’ve never run a mile before. I’d set that particular goal back to the year after 2013. There are ways and regimes to running from 0 miles to a marathon in a year but let’s be honest, most working family folks won’t be devoting that time to it.
The flip-side of this is when you’ve never ran before and you set yourself a goal of running a mile in 2013. Come on. You can do better than that. That first mile will take some work but there’s no reason (barring medical reasons) you can’t go from 0 – 1 mile in under a month – and that’s taking it really easy. What are you going to do for the other 11 months? Rest on your laurels?
No set realistic goals. If you’ve never ran before set yourself a target of running 5 – 8 miles regularly by the end of the year.
2. Form A Strategy
The only proper strategy for getting fit is to develop a fitness routine. This is going to vary based on your age, sex, body type, goals, free time and so on, but some elements are always going to be the same.
Set daily goals as well as your long term goals. This is basically a commitment to doing your daily workout and a guarantee of that feel good factor of a task completed. Eventually you’ll be exercising by habit but in the early stages, daily goals are important. Make them (again, realistically) and stick to them.
Plan those goals a week in advance or more (or less, whatever suits). Knowing what you have to do the week coming to reach your fitness goals lets you adjust other commitments in your life.
Make some lifestyle changes as part of your routine. For most of us, this means means saying NO to a lot of bad habits we’ve picked up.
Do you eat whatever is made for you by family/significant other/dude at the local fast food chain? Start taking care of your own meals – fuel yourself appropriately.
Do you snack a lot at work? Make sure to create a healthy packed lunch the night before.
Do you indulge in alcohol more than a light drink once or twice a week? Cut down on the days or the intake.
Do you like lying in but staying up late? Get to bed earlier and up earlier and use the extra time before work or your daily tasks to workout.
3. Adjusting Your Expectations
One of the main obstacles to fitness is our modern western world. People expect fast food, fast internet, fast interactions with friends, fast cars, fast travel, fast results a fast, fit body. When it comes to fitness you won’t get fast results without risking injury or over indulging to the point where you put your long term fitness in jeopardy.
Focus on your goal and less on your body shape. With a sensible goal and plan you will see results just slower than your modern, fast paced lifestyle has conditioned you to.
4. Consciously Focus On Food And Adjust Your Diet
Your body is a machine and it needs fuel. The better the fuel, the better the performance. To really appreciate that you will probably have to adjust your eating habits and menus.
But it’s so worth it. Diet is probably more than half the battle when it comes to fitness. I know people who work out and train hard but hit plateaus easy. When you ask these people what they had to eat or drink the night before you find out the rubbish they’re fueling themselves with – no wonder the complex machinery of their body is sticking or catching!
Keep a diary of what you eat for a week or two. If you don’t you’ll underestimate the bad and overestimate the good. You’ll be shocked at what you read I promise you.
Eating healthy isn’t rocket science. So once you are fully aware, fully switched on when eating, adjustments should be easy. Eat vegetables and fruit; lean meat and fish and clean sources of protein; keep your carbs complex; avoid rubbish.
5. If You’re Active But Want Better Results: Change Things Up
If you’re a keen cardio enthusiast but want more results and don’t have the time to run/bike/whatever for more hours in the week you need to change things up.
If you’re into resistance training but feel that you aren’t lifting more or achieving the body you need, you need to change things up.
The human body is a master of adaptation. It wants to use the minimum resources to accomplish what it needs to. It’s one of the reasons the western society has a weight problem. The body is excellent at storing fat and the subconscious has evolved to minimise effort expended for fear of starving before the next meal arrives.
We’re long past those ancient worries though and what we need to do to keep our bodies burning hotter than they want to is add variety to our workout routine.
If you run plenty your lungs and heart will be in good shape. But when you sit at work, or in front of the TV or while gaming, your body will burn less than someone with more muscle.
Cut out 2 runs a week and make them weight lifting sessions. Mad changes will come your way.
If you weight lift 5 days a week, make sure you are working all your muscle groups. Don’t neglect cardio either. You get more bang for your buck during an intense weights session of 40 minutes next to a light jog for 40 minutes but endurance training is important too.
Most weight lifting doesn’t work your heart and lungs. You need these organs to be in tip top shape to be healthy.
A good test for a fan of weight lifting is to go for a jog. How good or bad did it feel? If you are wrecked ask yourself “Is muscle more important than overall fitness?” I don’t think so.
I hope you learned something from my 5 favourite tips to fitness success in 2013. I like to stay on top of fitness because fitness is fun, but even I will be indulging a little over the holidays. I just don’t beat myself up about it. I remember these 5 top fitness tips and get to work in the new year!