We recently discussed why New Years’ fitness resolutions typically fail and pointed to recent studies that discussed these reasons in length. Now it is time to list the top tips for success in 2016 so that you have every possible chance to succeed. Whether your goals are to trim down, to add lean muscle mass, strongman competitions, bodybuilding competitions, bulking, or cutting, these tried and true tips will start you on the path to success.
Define Your Goal
Before you reach your destination, you need to know where you are going. It is time to envision your ultimate goals. Are you looking to shed 20 pounds, or add 10 pounds of lean muscle mass? Are you looking to deadlift 400 pounds? Now that you know what you are looking to accomplish, write it down. A goal not written down is simply a wish.
Think about the path that you plan to take to get to your goal. If you would like to lose 20 pounds, you can realistically do that in 2-3 months safely. If you are looking at losing 100 pounds, that is not something that you will be able to accomplish in 2 months, so break that goal down into small chunks so that you have a few realistic goals.
No One Has the Time – We Make the Time
You should strive to workout every day without fail. Make it a habit and it will stick. Think about working out for an hour a day. It does not have to be 60 minutes of heavy lifting every day, but it should be physical activity. Even a brisk walk is a nice workout sometimes. Of course, at the beginning, you will need to work up to a tough workout, so take a brisk walk for 30 minutes and strive to improve each time.
Find Like-minded People
Surround yourself with people that you admire and look up to who share the same goals that you do. If you hang out with friends who eat horribly most of the time, you will find your journey much tougher. This is not to say that you have to dump your existing friends, but talk to them about your goals. Most of the time, they will be your ultimate support staff. True friends want you to succeed and feel better, so they will understand and support you. This is a good time to also find people who enjoy the same activities as you. A journey taken with others will ultimately be more successful with multiple people than you going at it alone.
Learn, Learn and Learn Some More
In this game, you never stop learning. Those who think they know everything end up knowing the least. Those who know that there is always more to learn are the ones to learn from. Read books from people you admire. Read relevant fitness blogs and listen to podcasts. Do not assume that everyone is an expert, but do assume that you can learn something from anyone.
Limit Eating Out
This one hurts people a lot, but the truth is that eating out typically leads to eating less than optimal meals. Cook meals ahead for yourself and take them with you to parties, friends houses, etc. What seems odd at first, becomes second nature to people. I rarely get asked why I bring my own meals any longer, but I still get asked why I always carry around a gallon of water everywhere I go.
Learn to Cook
Who says you have to eat bland chicken and brown rice every day. My meals are surely never bland. I have always had a desire to improve my cooking skills, but there is not much skill involved in putting chicken breast in a slow cooker with some measured spices. There is always a way to make something taste better, but you will not understand how to cook food if you do not learn how to cook first.
Learn to Eat Right
Following the path of learning how to do things, learn which foods are good for you. These foods should be the ones that make up the majority of your diet. Opt for brown rice instead of white. Opt for lean cuts of steak over fatty ones. Learn when to eat the majority of your carbs and when to eat specific proteins. Learn about the foods that are safer to eat at night.
Take Advantage of Software to Log Your Meals and Workouts
Keep a running log of what you eat and when you workout. These invaluable metrics will come in hand, so start collecting them now. Years ago, we logged everything on paper and guessed on a lot of our macros whereas the software out there these days is very good for the most part.