Wouldn’t it be great if, for once in your life, you were able to stick to your New Year’s Resolution and become fit and healthy? It would, wouldn’t it? That’s why, in this article I am going to lay out everything you need to know in order to do just that.
BUT be prepared to face some harsh realities, take some difficult decisions and make sacrifices in order to become fit and healthy and, of course, stick to your New Year’s Resolution.
If you are not prepared to do that, you might as well leave this page now. Go on Amazon and get Lean in 15 or The Lean Machines: Eat Well, Move Better and Feel Awesome to make you feel as if you’ve tried. If that fails, get an overpriced gadget that promises to get you in shape quicker than you can click the “buy now” button.
Otherwise keep on reading to find out why we fail at New Year’s Resolutions and what you need to do in order to succeed in your quest of becoming fit and healthy in the New Year.
So why do we fail to stick to New Year’s Resolutions?
The reasons vary from one Resolution to another but, like everything else in life, your results depend on your expectations, time and motivation. All three of them are key to your success and here’s why:
- Unrealistic expectations
There is nothing wrong in wanting to gain 10 kilos of lean muscle mass in three months. If you are a “hard-gainer” though, you are likely to struggle to gain even a third of that weight in the specified time-frame. The same goes for losing weight too. That’s the reality of it. Just bear that in mind when you set your goals.
- Not enough time to achieve your goals
If your goal is to gain these 10 kilos of lean muscles, you better give yourself plenty of time to do that. Use the first three months to see how your body reacts to your training and nutrition, and then set your goals based on that.
- Demotivated by the lack of results
The chances are that it will take you much longer to achieve your goals than you think. You will be keen in the first couple of months and the noticeable changes in your body will keep you going. There is a point however, when your body adapts to your workouts and nutrition, meaning that the changes you expect become less noticeable.
Be prepared for that to happen and don’t give up. Change your workouts and nutrition in order to stimulate your body and cause it to change in the direction you want.
Gym vs Home Workouts
The answer to that depends on your goals, budget and personal preferences. If you want to really go for it and have the budget to afford the membership, then sign up for a membership at your local gym.
If the idea of going to the gym doesn’t appeal to you and you only want to improve your general fitness level, then start with home workouts. You can achieve so much by exercising at home or in the park. Do bodyweight workouts, go for long walks, run or cycle. All these are good and free alternatives to the gym.
Side-note: Most people get sucked into the “getting fit and healthy” fad after Christmas and the New Year. I suggest you spend a couple of weeks going for long walks in the park, running and doing some basic sit ups and push ups at home. If you feel pumped and excited about exercising and working out, then take this to the next level.
What do I do? I go to the gym because it’s a commitment which makes me more responsible and dedicated to working out and keeping fit. It gives me confidence and it makes me feel good about myself. I also like to relax in the sauna and steam room after a long workout session.
When I started Skinny Muscles, I used to do home workouts and cardio in the park. I didn’t have the confidence to go to a gym at that point.
Personal Trainer vs Doing it alone
If you join the gym, the next decision you need to make is whether or not you need a Personal Trainer (PT). If you already have some experience of working out and exercising, then perhaps you don’t need to spend money on a PT.
If you are a complete novice and not sure what to do, hiring a PT might be the better option for you. Just bear in mind that your PT needs to motivate you, not give you false expectations!
So if you are a 50kgs ectomorph but want to become a 90kgs shredded beast in 3 months and your trainer agrees to that and takes you on, stop and think: Does it sound too good to be true? Better still, ask your potential PT. Ask him/her to give you a breakdown of all the steps and milestones you both need to work towards and achieve in order to become the shredded monster you so desperately want to be.
Side-note: Don’t be discouraged by the lack of immediate results! Remember that your favourite fitness model didn’t wake up looking like that. They put an awful a lot of time and hard work into their diets and workouts. That’s their job and they are very good at it.
What did I do? I hired a PT when I first joined the gym. I didn’t have the confidence to do it alone and working out with a PT helped me overcome that issue.
Diet or just be sensible
Remember what they say about abs? They are made in the kitchen! In other words, you need to pay attention to your nutrition in order to achieve your fitness goals. There is no point working out and pushing your body to its limits if you are not prepared to fuel it with the nutrients it needs in order to change.
You can do that by subjecting yourself to a strict diet or you can just introduce some changes to reflect your exercise-driven nutritional needs.
Any diet is likely to deprive you of certain nutrients. That’s why it’s probably better and easier for you if you make some adjustments to the foods you consume in order to meet your fat/carbs/protein needs.
Side-note: If you really want to go on a diet, you need to do your homework. The worst thing you can do is to go on a diet recommended by a celebrity or a fitness model you like. Remember that everyone is different and what works for some may not work for others.
What do I do? Over the years, I have been on a variety of diets – high protein, low carbs, low fat etc. In my experience, they are much more hassle than they are worth. I have a vague idea of my fat/carbs/protein needs and I make sure I eat the right foods to meet my nutritional needs.
Meal prep or not
Unless you have a live-in chef, you need to go grocery shopping and prepare your meals. Otherwise you are likely to end up fuelling your workouts with microwaveable meals and energy drinks.
If time is precious, you can meal prep your food for a couple of days in advance, divide into portions and store in your fridge. If you work from home for example, you can prepare your meals as you go. This is the more laborious option and unless you enjoy cooking, you are likely to miss some of your meals.
Side-note: You can have the best of both worlds but it will cost you. There are companies that specialise in meal prep. You can save the hassle of shopping and cooking by just ordering a week’s worth of pre-prepared meals.
What do I do? Meal prep works best for me. It prevents me from eating anything and everything I want and it’s cheaper too. I normally meal-prep for three days at the time. That way, I only cook for a couple of hours (at the most) a couple of days a week. The seventh day is my “cheat” day and I eat whatever I like because there’s a limit of how much chicken and rice you can eat in a week 🙂
How to complete your New Year’s Resolution and become fit and healthy – the takeaway message
If you are still reading, then you have the determination to stick to your New Year’s Resolution and become fit and healthy. The important thing is to pay attention to both your nutrition and exercising and give yourself enough time to achieve your fitness goals. If you struggle to motivate yourself, then consider a short break from it or change your workout routines and food intake.