Another new year has arrived and with it, thoughts of finally getting the body in the best shape since strutting those high school halls in a pair of Levis 501 jeans.
Like most Decembers, I received a lot of emails asking for advice on getting in shape. People take those New Year’s Resolutions quite seriously in December. That’s great, as having a plan is winning half the battle – but following through with those resolutions in January is what separates the men from the boys.
Let’s make a resolution to put aside any excuse or reason that might get in the way of a fitness goal that we set for ourselves. Success is really nothing more than following through. Let’s make a practical plan and get it done. Make three months your goal. There’s not a person alive that won’t see substantial results in three months of working out. Three months is nothing! The time will be gone before you know it. Embrace the challenge. Embrace fitness and eating right. Make it fun and watch what happens.
Here are some very practical tips to make 2015 the year you finally got in the best shape of your life.
1. Write your goals down. If you don’t, you won’t stick to them. You won’t even remember everything you promised yourself you would achieve. Write down what you truly think you’re capable of and list a “best case scenario”. Shoot for it. Make it happen. Surprise yourself.
2. Count calories. Rather you want to lose fat or gain muscle, you’ll likely fail unless you know exactly what you’re putting in your body. If you’ve never counted calories before, I can almost guarantee you that you’re eating far more calories than you think you are – probably by a couple thousand a day.
3. Ignore the diet pills and metabolism boosters. Diet pills are a scam. They always have been. There’s nothing a diet pill can do to offset excess calories or a bad diet. Metabolism is another catch phrase in the industry. There’s actually little you can do to improve your metabolism so be sure to be aware of metabolism myths and quit worry about revving the engine to burn more calories. As your diet gets in check and you exercise more regularly, your energy levels will increase and you’ll lose fat but your metabolism is what it is.
4. Focus on getting mostly protein, average amounts of fat and keep carbs to a minimum. Carbs aren’t evil. It’s just that you only have so many calories a day you can eat before the wrong kind of weight is added. A diet heavy in protein is going to keep that muscle that makes every body look better and fats are essential to keep the body running its best.
5. Don’t believe the hype that some foods are better than others for body composition. If your goal is losing fat, substituting 16 grams of coconut oil for butter every day of your life isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference. Mixing your food supply up is going to contribute to your overall better health, as you’ll get a wider variety of vitamins and minerals but this makes little difference in shaping your body. Once you understand how many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats you need in your diet, you can enjoy any kind of foods you like to meet those requirements and the fat will still melt away. It sounds almost too good to be true but it’s a fact!
6. Cheat once in a while. You’ll go crazy if you don’t enjoy life once in a while but don’t plan a weekly food-fest. That’s self-defeating. If you’re eating the foods you enjoy and staying within your limits, you’ll still progressively move forward. If the guys from work want to hit the pizza joint on a Friday, do it once in a while and have a beer while you’re at it. You’ll enjoy the rest of your work-day a lot more.
7. Get to the gym when you plan on it. Write it down on Sunday and don’t make excuses. Getting to the gym can be a difficult habit to get into but once accomplished, you’ll enjoy it more and more. Once you start skipping the gym regularly, you’ll likely soon give up on all your fitness goals. Stay focused!
8. Drink water, black coffee and diet colas. Obviously, water is best for you but if losing weight is the goal, then not getting extra calories is the most important goal. I’m a Diet Mountain Dew addict myself. I make sure to get plenty of water as well but I enjoy the fizzy stuff in the evening. Coffee supplies a great source of caffeine. No calories. No problem.
9. Clean out the cabinets. Calories consumed is the number one determining factor in losing fat. It’s more important than hitting the gym every day and it’s not going to be easy to hit your goals with junk food staring back at you every time you walk into the kitchen. Stock up the fridge and cabinets with high-protein foods, fruits and vegetables.
10. Eat “one-ingredient” foods. When you hit the grocery store to stock up and try to buy one-ingredient foods, you’ll realize that it’s quite difficult buy anything bad. These foods are typically the most natural and provide the greatest nutrition.
Here’s hoping everyone has a new year better than any before. Take charge of every aspect of your life. Set goals and aim high.Lose fat. Feel great.