Getting fitter takes time. Whether your goal this year is to increase strength, lose weight, or compete in sport, you need to stick at it to see success. These 10 tips will keep you focused throughout 2016.
Create a solid routine:
1) Treat your training like a business meeting. Put your sessions in the diary and show up. If you think you might struggle with accountability to yourself, find a workout buddy for the gym, for running, or for classes. Agree a time and place to meet and then don’t let them down. You wouldn’t leave a colleague waiting, would you?
2) Create a routine for meal planning, grocery shopping and food prep. You could plan your week’s meals on a Saturday morning, shop on a Saturday afternoon, and set aside an hour or so on Sunday to prep your lunches and snacks for the week.
3) When's your worst time for eating off plan? If it’s in the afternoon, make sure you always have a healthy snack which will keep you on track. If it’s the evenings relaxing at home, plan your meals (make them something you enjoy and look forward to) and consider preparing them in bulk using a slow cooker. Give yourself fewer excuses and more opportunities to succeed.
4) Don’t try to do too much all at once. Remember that your fitness goal is long-term. Getting fitter and losing weight takes time. Plan your training programme (if you need help with this, ask a PT or coach who understands your goals). Only do as much as you need do to, and don’t use all the tools in your fitness toolkit at once. Rest, recovery and days off are an integral part of getting to your goal.
Measure your progress:
5) Is your 2016 fitness goal specific? Can you measure progress as you go along? Measuring and tracking will make it much more real, and will give you the opportunity to congratulate yourself (or to see where you need to alter your approach).
6) If you love tech, use an activity tracker, an app, or an online social platform to track your progress and crunch the numbers in a way that will continue to excite you as the months go by. If you're doing a lot of cardio, you could try a heart rate monitor, activity monitor, or a community website which logs and tracks workouts and races. Strength athletes and gym goers could use apps for nutrition tracking, for setting strength workout blocks, or for monitoring daily activity including steps and sleep.
Re-evaluate your fitness goals:
7) If your goal starts to feel too big, don’t be disheartened. It’s not a sign you should give up, but it might be a sign you need to re-evaluate. Go back to your original goal (running a marathon, losing 2 stone, increasing your squat by 20kgs). Did you structure your path to success properly? Or can you break it down further into mini-goals? Smaller goals along the way are more achievable, and give you more reasons to celebrate!
8) What’s your “why”? You need a strong reason for setting out on any fitness, strength or weight loss goal. Make your motive very personal and very meaningful to you, so it will continue to drive you forward even when you’re tired, hungry and sore.
9) Keep evaluating your goals. There’s no need to stick with one single fitness goal all year. Don’t be too proud to admit (to yourself and others) that you don’t actually like running, so you’re going to cancel your marathon plans and try team sport instead. Or that you thought you wanted to lose exactly 14lbs but, actually, you like how you look now you’re 7lbs down. Any healthy changes to your lifestyle, food, activity and fitness will be hugely positive in the long-run. Don’t tie yourself to a goal that no longer serves you.
10) Remember, this is for life. There’s no need to battle with fitness. Find something you enjoy, and make your 2016 fitness journey something you can fall in love with. Do that, and you’re much more likely to still be doing it in December!
Find out more about New Level and how we can help you achieve your fitness goals.