It is no surprise that resolutions related to weight loss and fitness are the most popular ones to make at the start of the new year. Body transformation is regarded by many as the best metaphor for new beginnings.
However, it is also no surprise that weight loss and fitness resolutions are the most frequently broken. The reason is that attaining weight loss and fitness goals takes hard work, constant determination, and effort. This journey can be very uncomfortable and can have many unpleasant stops along the way.
However, if others can do it, why can’t you? Accomplishing fitness goals is not just physical; it requires mental, spiritual, and emotional stamina as well.
Here are 16 simple ways to reach your fitness goals:
1. Define the Purpose of Your Program.
Every venture starts out with a purpose. Why do you want to start a fitness program?
The reason can be as honorable as countering the effects of a debilitating disease or as mundane as wanting to fit into a new dress. Whatever it is, your purpose sets the direction of your fitness goals. It gives you focus and clarity on what you want to achieve.
Your purpose can be a powerful influence in attaining your fitness goals.
On days that you don’t feel motivated because of fatigue or stress, simply remember your purpose and it should get you moving once again!
2. Identify Your Fitness Goals.
A gym has two types of people. One is an individual who comes to the gym to exercise. He/she feels that exercise is an activity that he/she HAS to do to be healthy. He/she is usually the one who simply goes through the motions and has the tendency to socialize too much.
Then, you have the person who comes to the gym to train. He/she feels that training is an activity that he/she WANTS to do to hit his/her fitness goals. This person knows what to do the second he/she enters the gym. He/she has a program designed to meet those fitness goals.
Having fitness goals is an effective way to stay motivated and focused in the gym. Make sure that your goals are realistic and doable. If you are bench pressing 100 pounds on Day 1, do not target a 300-pound bench press by Day 30! Instead, aim for a 20% to 25% increase in poundage.
3. Commit to the Process.
Remember those people who would say, “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger!” They are usually the first people who quit on their fitness programs.
Achieving body and health transformation takes tremendous work ethic and discipline. People make the wrong assumption that dedicating a few hours a week to exercise is enough to guarantee results. Exercise is only a part of the equation. You also have to factor in nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle.
Doing so is not easy! You have to make several sacrifices that involve family and friends.
When you embark on a fitness program to attain goals, keep in mind that this program is not a one-time thing. It is a lifestyle change. You have to commit to the process because the journey is not easy, and there are several challenges along the way.
4. Conduct Research on Different Methodologies.
Whether you have an experience on training or not, research should always be part of the process.
Exercise science has changed radically in the last 30 years, and it will continue to change, as sports scientists continue to find new ways to get results from your efforts.
Many resources can be found online. However, you should also reach out and consult with people who you know are valuable resources. Many fitness professionals and competitive athletes are gracious with their time and knowledge. For them, sharing information is a way of giving back to their love of fitness.
5. Get Yourself Medically Cleared.
The old advice is that you must see your doctor before you start any exercise program.
This advice rings plenty of truth and is still very much valid today. Getting a medical clearance is of particular importance for those who have never exercised a day in their lives.
Before you can start an exercise program, your trainer should know what your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are and if you have any preexisting condition. Safety should always be the first and foremost concern.
In case the doctor has to prescribe a medication for you, your diet and supplement programs may be influenced.
6. Earmark Your “Place of Work.”
If you are going to spend 1 to 2 hours a day to work on your fitness goals, you have to make sure that the place has the ideal conditions to accommodate the demands of your fitness program.
Not all gyms are built alike. Over the years, the gym has been divided into two types. The first type is its alter ego called “fitness centers.” These places are not hardcore; they carry more machines than free weights. A significant portion of their work area has been allocated for aerobics classes. They offer rows upon rows of cardio equipment.
Then, you have the second type, which can be referred as “iron pits” or “dungeons,” where the walls reverberate with the crashing and clashing of metals. Machines scarcely exist here. The only cardio equipment here is an exercise bike. People who train in these gyms flip truck tires, push front-loaded sleds, yank heavy kettlebells, and carry dumbbells that look like fire hydrants for 25 meters instead of doing cardio.
The procedure defined as “cardio” in the fitness center is redefined as “conditioning” in the pit. Choose the gym that has the tools and the culture that suit your fitness goals.
7. Consult a Certified Personal Trainer.
If you’re a beginner or if you haven’t worked out in a long time, consulting and hiring a certified personal trainer are always advised.
Certified personal trainers have the experience and expertise to design a workout program that can help you achieve your fitness goals. They can also guide you through proper techniques. They also ensure that you won’t hurt yourself in the gym. Best of all, they can motivate you to succeed in your program.
8. Consult a Certified Nutritionist.
Consulting a nutritionist who can make you a diet and supplementation plan that is aligned with your fitness goals is also a good idea.
Nutrition is a significant part of your success. You have to know what to eat, as well as when and in what quantities. Adhering to a diet and meal plan is probably the hardest part of a health and fitness program. Many people abandon their fitness goals because they cannot keep up with their diet.
9. Buy New Gears!
Another good way to stay motivated is to buy new gears. The behavioral component plays a huge part in the success of a health and fitness program; “if you look good, you feel good!”
However, buying gears is also for safety reasons, especially when it comes to footwear. If you plan to focus on running as your main fitness activity, you should invest in a good pair or running shoes. Otherwise, you may strain tendons, bones, and ligaments.
If you plan to lose weight, why not buy an expensive pair of pants that is a few sizes smaller? It should inspire you to exercise intensely so you can wear the pants of your dreams!
10. Stock Up on Clean, Healthy Foods.
As I mentioned earlier, achieving your fitness goals is a long-term commitment. Becoming healthy and fit is not simply a function of adhering to an exercise program. You also have to overhaul your eating habits and adopt a sound nutrition plan.
Therefore, you have to conduct an inventory of your current stock of groceries and discard food that only contributes empty or junk calories. Popular junk food around the house includes chips, cookies, and candy.
Restock with healthy choices for your daily macronutrients. The following are a few good sources to consider:
- Carbohydrates: Brown or wild rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots
- Protein: Chicken, fish, beef, eggs, soybean, mushrooms
- Fats: Nuts, avocados, seeds
Please do not throw away your junk food! Donate them to shelters or foundations that need any food for impoverished children.
11. Prepare Your Supplement Stack.
When you exercise, your metabolism goes up and burns more calories at rest than the average, sedentary person. Thus, your caloric and macronutrient requirements are considerably high. This area is where supplements come in.
Supplements are exactly what they are; they supplement your daily requirement of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. A good supplement stack, to begin with, should include the following:
Whey Protein: Many types of protein can be found in the market, but whey is the most valuable because the body utilizes it right away.
When you ingest protein, it is broken down to amino acids that are needed for muscle repair and recovery. One of the best brands of whey protein powder is Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Gold Standard.
It is my tried and true whey protein supplement I take. It has 24 grams of high-quality whey protein per 28-gram scoop and only has 2 grams of carbohydrates. ON Gold Standard is fortified with branched chain amino acids or BCAAs plus glutamine. BCAAs are the essential amino acids.
ON has won several awards as the best whey protein powder in the market.
Don’t forget to use a shaker. It is the fastest and most convenient way to prepare whey protein. The only shaker cup I use and trust is the Cyclone Shaker. It has the patented “cyclone cup,” which allows quick, thorough mixing. It also comes with a 6-ounce storage compartment for your whey powder and can fill up to 20 ounces.
Vitamins C, B, and D. These vitamins can protect your immune system. Vitamin D has the added benefit of protecting your heart, and in combination with calcium, it could strengthen bones.
There are other supplements in the market, but you can get good results with this basic stack.
12. Buy a Log Book.
Not many people know that the secret weapon of many fitness experts is always tucked in their gym bag.
A log book can take your fitness program to the next level. It archives not only the details of your program but also everything about your training. You should view your log book as a diary and note down nuances, such as the following:
- How you felt before, during, and after training
- What you ate before and after training
- Your feelings: frustrations, elation, and disappointments
- Daily affirmations to maintain confidence: include inspirational quotes, pictures, and comments from your support group
The power of a log book comes from its ability to help you unburden yourself of feelings of self-doubt, self-limiting beliefs, and other fears that can demotivate you and hinder progress.
You have to be totally honest when you vent in your log book! Doing so sounds so high school but the returns on your progress can be off the charts.
Again, this is a log book! It’s pen to paper! Technology has no value as a training log book. Don’t use your smartphone or tablet. Putting pen to paper establishes a strong link between mind and body.
13. Find a Training Partner.
Many people find great value in having a training partner because it takes away the monotony of training, and an individual can be assured of safety while lifting. A training partner can also be a good source of motivation.
However, be conscientious when it comes to selecting your training partner. Ideally, you want a training partner who is more advanced than you because he/she can push harder and understands what it takes to achieve one’s fitness goals. Don’t get someone who likes to talk too much, gets distracted, and is less motivated than you.
14. Put the Scale Away!
Trying to hit your fitness goals can be stressful. You subject your body to different forces, adjust your schedule to accommodate training time, and forego foods that give you pleasure. The last thing you need is a device that reminds you the whole process takes time.
A weighing scale is an excellent way to keep track of results. However, you don’t have to weigh yourself every day. You can weigh yourself every Sunday morning on an empty stomach. Then, note down the figure as reference.
If you keep checking on your weight, the scale will play tricks on your mind and may serve to demotivate you. Remember that your total weight is the aggregate total combined weight of water, fat, blood, bone, and muscle.
If you weighed 160 pounds today compared with 155 last week, most of these excess numbers could only be water weight because your sodium intake has been probably on the high side lately.
15. Firm Up Your Training Schedule.
Find the best time of day to train and stick to it. The time of your training in the day has advantages:
- Daytime, before breakfast: You speed up metabolism and feel well and alert throughout the day.
- Afternoon: If you’re on a low-carbohydrate diet, training in the afternoon makes muscle cells increasingly insulin sensitive. You can eat an increased amount of carbohydrates, and most of them will be stored as glycogen.
- Evening: Training at this time can give you a restful sleep, but make sure to forego the caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
16. Have Fun!
Trying to attain your fitness goals is not easy work, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. Here are some tips to make you training programs exciting:
- Try a different training program, such as Body Beast, for an entire cycle. Body Beast is the program that I’ve used from my first 90 days of my fitness journey.
- Join an exercise class.
- Train with light weights with many repetitions if you’ve been lifting heavy weights.
- Train with heavy weights with decreased repetitions if you’ve been lifting light weights.
- Play sports.
To become fit, what is paramount is to get physical activity. If going to the gym becomes monotonous, try training at home with body weight movements. Instead of running 5 kilometers, play a 2-hour full-court game of basketball.
Reach Your Fitness Goals and Progress Further
Your journey does not end once you’ve attained your fitness goals. In fact, it has just begun!
By reaching and accomplishing what you set out to do, you have proved your resilience, determination, and commitment to meeting your goals. However, if you end there, then there is nowhere to go but down!
Are you willing to sacrifice what you worked so hard to accomplish simply because you already attained it?
Your next step is to progress further. Review your performance, relive the experience then establish high fitness goals for the next go round. You must always strive to improve because the health and fitness benefits become increasingly great. Never think in the short term. The benefits of a health and fitness program can be enjoyed for several years.