“I’m going to start working out at the gym and eating healthy once the New Year starts.” ?
If many January Firsts have passed and you’re still struggling to stick to your fitness-oriented goal, you’re not alone. New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously difficult to adhere to; in fact, studies show that up to 20% of resolutions are broken within the first week of January! Now, you know why the gym is always packed in January, but gradually empties out toward the end of the month.
This year, though, do better than the last; make 2020 the year you persevere and achieve your fitness goals! Here are 5 practical tips to help stack the odds in your favour.
#1 – Set specific and measurable goals
It’s not enough to say, “I want to get fit.” How fit? How do you quantify being fit? How would you ever know if you’ve reached your goal? This year, force yourself to sit down and list down specific and measurable goals. Looking to gain muscle mass? How much? Also, where? As troublesome as this sounds, this step is crucial. Do make use of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound) model when you’re going through the process. So, a SMART goal example would be something like: “I want to gain 2KG in muscle mass in 3 months.”
#2 – Make resolutions manageable
Remember that a resolution is not a fantasy. If you’ve never lifted weights before, attempting to deadlift five times a week is (most likely) setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. If you’re like most people, upending a lifetime of habits can’t happen overnight – even if that night happens to be 31st December! The key to sustainable resolutions is to make small changes gradually. So, if your goal is to lift five times a week at the gym, you could ease into the routine by doing the following:
· Monday, Thursday – Gym
· Tuesday, Friday, Sunday – Bodyweight exercises (Gym or home)
· Wednesday, Saturday – Rest day
Don’t look down on bodyweight exercises; not only are they fantastic for building up strength and coordination, but they’re also excellent for when you’re in a pinch for time and have no time to wait for someone else to finish up with the bench.
By the way, here’s a shameless plug: go check out the new version of the GymStreak app – we’ve included lots of new bodyweight exercises into our exercise library. Also, we’ve managed to render many of our augmented reality animations with motion capture trackers (yes, the ones used by Hollywood studios for blockbuster films) so you get true to form motion to perfectly execute every exercise! Exciting, no?
#3 – Pre-empt the barriers
It is inevitable that you’ll face barriers in your fitness journey. You’ll get busy, sick, or worse, unmotivated. There’s bound to be a week where things don’t go according to plan or you’re just not feeling it. Now, the key to reaching the year 2021 as a fitter, healthier you is to identify these pitfalls in advance and accept that willpower can only take you so far. If you know your schedule is hectic, then plan your work out days around it. Can’t make it to the gym after work because you’ve got to pick the kids up from school? Well, why not get up early in the morning to get a quick one in? Or – how about a mid-day workout? Make completing your workout for the day a priority.
#4 – Track your progress
Many people lose motivation if they don’t see results quickly. And it’s understandable why; anyone would be discouraged if they put in the hours in the gym and ate more healthily, but don’t see any visible changes in their bodies. But see, our bodies take time to adapt and adjust; it could be weeks (or even months) before we notice any differences in our weights or waistbands. And this is where progress-tracking comes in. Tracking your workouts allow you to see the progress you’re making in other ways. Are you squatting 20KG more than you did when you first started? Or – are you now working out more frequently than you ever thought you would?Get GymStreak
Whether you choose to track your progress with an app (like GymStreak, ahem), fitness band, or good old pen and paper, you’ll get a sense of satisfaction when you see the numbers increasing. And that can keep you motivated – even if you aren’t seeing progress in your body.
#5 – Don’t neglect your diet
As difficult as this may be to stomach, here’s the truth: you can’t achieve your fitness goals if you aren’t also taking care of your nutritional needs. In addition to providing you with the crucial energy that sustains you during work outs, food can also play a role in your physique. Or more specifically, you should eat with your fitness goal in mind. And an easy way of doing that would be to tweak your diet’s macronutrient (protein, fat, and carbs) profile. Not sure how you can do that? Read our previous articles, ‘Mystery Solved: Lose Fat And Gain Muscle At The Same Time,’ and ‘Secrets To Getting Lean Body Mass.’
Also, there’s another reason why you’d want to make changes to your diet: the transfer effect. According to researchers, this phenomenon is where improving in one area of your life automatically triggers a desire for improvements in another. And in this case, it’d be that of healthy eating triggering your need to go work out. This, therefore, becomes a positive cyclical effect in your life!
So, ready to make those New Year’s Resolutions and stick to them? No? Well, why don’t you give a listen to GymStreak’s new podcast on ‘Transforming New Year’s Resolutions Into Lifelong Habits’ for more motivation and inspiration?
Yes – we’ve got a podcast now! We release new episodes every Monday - Main episode, Wednesday – for that much-needed mid-week push – and Friday – a special Q&A segment where we answer your burning questions – so be sure to check it out!