We're into another New Year and another chance to make fitness one of your priorities. Research has shown that over 42% of us fail on our New Years resolutions every year! That's a scary thought if you're just starting out.
A lot of people might be against them for this reason, but not me. I think New Year's resolutions are great; it's a fresh start straight after the holidays and a chance for you to build momentum.
Over the years I've managed to stay on top of my fitness goals, here are five tips that I've used myself for fitness resolutions.
(Image owner: Lee Constantinou)
CONSISTENCY OVER PERFECTION
Let's say you're off to a flying start, you're nailing your diet, drinking plenty of water, getting in regular exercise but 10 days in you're faced with your best friends birthday party who has your favourite cake.
You give in and have your first piece of cake of the year. Now most people would fall off at this point, that slice of cake then turns into another and because you've fallen off your diet in that moment you carry it on for the rest of that day and into the next... You've now accepted that you can't do it, you can't keep up with your healthy lifestyle.
But you didn't failed. If you accepted what happened and left it at that, knowing that it hasn't 'messed you up', then you'll have far more success with staying on track. Preventing the small mistakes becoming big ones is the start.
Nobody is perfect, we'll all slip up from time to time but it's staying consistent that will get you closer to your fitness goals.
CALORIES ARE KEY
Most people have some sort of weight loss goal in the New Year. Not surprising after the abundance of calories consumed over Christmas and New Years. I'm always one for wanting to drop a few pounds too so I've started a 30 Day #LeanWithLee challenge this year (follow my video series if you like).
Above all knowing how many calories you're consuming on a day-to-day basis is key. Macronutrients, micronutrients... none of it matter if you haven't first addressed your calorie intake. Yes it all does really matters, but if fat loss is the goal and you're not aware of how many calories you're consuming, you'll fail to see the results you want to see.
DO WHAT YOU ENJOY
You read somewhere that 'long steady jogs are the best form of training to lose body fat'. Let's assume you don't enjoy running but you give it a shot anyway and start going on a one-hour morning jog before work. You don't see the results you're hoping for and soon after you give up.
Aside from the fact that jogging isn't necessarily the best answer to losing weight, why do something that you don't enjoy in the first place? You prefer shorter, high intensity training that you can do in 30 minutes? Do that.
Yes there are more optimal training styles (depending on your goal) but the main thing is doing something that you enjoy and can stick with for a long time. Strength training, cycling, swimming, bodyweight training, HIIT, classes or whatever it is, choose one or two styles of training that you enjoy and you're more likely to succeed.
MAKE YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
I've succeeded with my fitness goals time and time again and something I didn't realise was how powerful it was to share my goals with other people. I told my brothers, friends, and family and even shared it on social media through weekly blogs and vlogs.
Putting myself out there made me hugely accountable to the goal, which inevitably lead to my successes. It kept me on track and focused through the tough days and motivated as the journey went on.
As human beings we don't like to fail on our goals. Failing our friends, family and our selves is one of our biggest fears. Make yourself accountable by sharing your goal with somebody close to you. If you're feeling really bold go that step further and share it on Facebook; you'll be amazed at how much support you get.
PROGRESSION VS ALL-OUT
A lot of people make the mistake of sprinting out gates, that is, going from zero exercise to highly intensive training every single day of the week. Committing to no less than seven days training and hash tagging #nodaysoff. While it may seem 'hardcore' to have this approach, you can't sustain training at high intensities without burning out; especially if you're getting back into your routine after a short time away.
The smarter approach would be to layer your training. Start small and build up gradually. Commit to a realistic amount of sessions each week; be fair and go for the lower end; maybe that's two or three sessions per week at first. Remember, you can always add sessions the following week, but where do you go from training seven days a week?
Once you know you can commit to more and need an extra session, add that layer into your week. Over time you'll build momentum and avoid the usual 'burn out' that a lot of people face.
Even after all these years exercising, in the New Year I always start small and build it up from there. Smart training is safe training.
(Image owner: Lee Constantinou)
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