With the start of the new year, there comes a horde of newly motivated people to make big changes in their lives. For many, this big change is to lose weight or to get fit. While these goals are admirable, people tend to go about achieving them in the wrong way and fall off the wagon due to either burning themselves out or becoming discouraged with a lack of results.
First thing is first when establishing a resolution to get fit: You need to be realistic. Many people get it in their head that by the end of week one, they will have the physique of a Greek god. Attaining that level of fitness is very possible, but it requires months to years of training and conditioning. So when starting fresh with a "get fit" resolution, start small. The easiest place to begin is to plan everything in your day from when you wake up to when you catch some Z's. For some people, establishing a set schedule may be difficult due to various obstacles in life, and that happens. In these instances, make sure you have "detour" plans.
Detour plans are "emergency" situation schedules if you ever have something unavoidable come up. Obviously, some things supersede the importance of training such as family emergencies, so don't skip a hospital visit to get a quick thirty minutes in the gym. But in other cases, you can squeeze workouts in other times of the day. Ideally, you will want to workout in the earlier part of the day to afternoon time. If you work out too late, you may have trouble falling to sleep. However, if things happen as they inevitably do, it is perfectly fine to adjust the timing of your training. Sometimes, if the unknown event is significant enough, you can skip a day altogether. Just don't let that turn into a habit. The one thing you cannot skimp out on, however, are your meals. Your diet is the most important part of getting fit. So, emergency or not, you always need to eat and eat right. McDonald's may be convenient, but you will regret it later on down the road. Keep snacks handy in your car, like lean protein bars or a can of almonds for such events. They may not have the allure of a fully prepared steak dinner, but they will hold you over and provide you with those ever so necessary calories.
While everything in a day must be routine and scheduled in a successful training routine, the most important aspect of schedule is finding time to eat. If meals are not scheduled and planned (meaning calculated into a balanced diet), it becomes very easy to either over eat or cheat yourself out of valuable calories. At first, the biggest step is to establish a set time to wake up and eat a healthy breakfast to kick start your metabolism. After that, you should be eating every one to two hours, depending on your level of hunger. You never want to wait until you are incredibly starved, but you also never want to eat until full. The rule of thumb to follow is to eat until you are no longer hungry. As far as what you should eat, it varies for every person. I highly advise seeing a nutritionist to establish a healthy diet for your needs, as every body needs something different.
Now on to the coup de grace of the fitness resolution: workouts. Being long time gym member, I've seen the massive influx of patrons on the treadmill during this time of year, and they are always gone by early February by the latest. That's because they burned themselves out. Doing the same workout routine every day just gets really boring, and that's just one more thing to turn you away from the gym. A successful training regimen has a separate day for different muscle groups depending on what you want to do. For instance, you can do shoulders and arms on Mondays, legs and back on Wednesdays, chest and back on Fridays, and do basic resistance workouts (push ups, sit ups, pull ups or lat pull downs with bands) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. You'll also want to add cardio in either every day or every other day, depending on what your body can handle. You want to push yourself, but you want to be smart about it. It's all about getting results, not about hurting yourself.
This article is very generalized and by no means does this constitute a formal training program. This is here to let you know that it is indeed possible to stay committed with the proper mentality and the right tools. Arm yourself with knowledge and resources and achieving your resolution's goal will be no problem at all. Feel free to comment on your routines and workouts below! Make sure to include notes about your dietary schedules as well!