The year 2015 is upon us and that means we will now finally have the time again to focus on our fitness and try get into shape for the warmer months. Every January, gyms across the country fill with a multitude of New Year Resolution-ers looking to get their bodies back on track after a stressful and nutritionally extravagant holiday season. While there's certainly nothing wrong with getting back into the gym, the vast majority will walk through the doors with no exercise plan, no nutrition plan, and no support system. Unsurprisingly, by February 1st, many will walk right back out again as they get frustrated with their lack of progress and give up.
It doesn't have to be this way! During my time as head trainer at a Gold's Gym, I had more New Year weight-loss challenge winners than any other trainer, every single year. My repeated successes were not by accident; I had a strategy I executed with every client, which brought excellent results every time I used it. If you're making a training plan for the new year, incorporate the five strategies I've shared below into your strategy to make this year your best fitness success ever!
- Strive for a plant-based diet. Without a doubt, this was the biggest advantage I had over other trainers in the New Year weight-loss challenge. While most were advising their clients to avoid carbohydrates and eat lean animal protein, I was pushing for more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains and limiting or, ideally, eliminating animal products and processed foods as much as possible. Eating dramatically more whole plant foods supercharged my client's metabolisms, led to feeling fuller sooner (reducing caloric intake), and gave their diets an ample supply of nutrients for performance and recovery. And the results spoke for themselves!
- Intensity. Harder is better than longer. Rather than assigning clients to perform easy, slow and steady cardio for hours on end, workouts were focused on short and intense cardio intervals and heavy-weight circuit training. Focusing on intensity allowed us to get more done in less time, and provided an awesome fat-burning effect for hours after workouts.
- Progression. Having a good workout on paper is fine, but without progress, every plan will lead to plateaus, and quickly. If you can start off running a mile in 12 minutes, strive to get that time down to 9 minutes. If doing ten dumbbell lunges with 10 lb weights is tough, work your way up to 30. By constantly striving to do more while maintaining perfect technique, you will avoid plateaus and see better results, faster.
- Accountability. A huge benefit to anyone entering a weight loss challenge is the sense of working towards a goal and having regular check ins. Set yourself targets for every month, being as detailed as possible, then assess yourself each month to see how you're progressing compared to expectations. If accountability is something you struggle with, I strongly suggest investing in a personal trainer, or utilizing some other form of support system.
- Support systems. Everyone's motivation will falter from time to time. Prevent a setback from becoming a surrender by engaging with other people. Join group exercise classes to meet others on the same path as you, start a pool at work to keep each other motivated, or do your workouts with a group of friends to prevent anyone from skipping out or falling off track. In my experience, team environments can make or break results for those struggling to balance their fitness goals with the rest of their busy lives.
So now that you know my secrets for successful weight loss in the new year, put them into action and make this year your best yet. Not only will you improve your health and get into excellent beach shape, you will undoubtedly inspire others around you to take their own goals more seriously, and you may even wind up with some new gym buddies! Now that's a win-win!
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