First of all, happy new year everyone! It’s that time of year where we all get into the New Year, new you mind-set! It happens every year but not everyone sticks to it. Maybe this year is your year?
In order to make the most out of the New Year, you need to establish what you want or need in your life to become a stronger and more experiences version of yourself. Start the year by setting yourself a goal of what you want to achieve as this will make it much easier for you to monitor progress and to keep on track. Maybe you want to improve your fitness or increase muscle mass or lose those extra mince pies you ate over Christmas? Here are some tips and tricks to help you along your journey:
Want to improve your fitness?
Cardiovascular fitness is a major determinant of your health. If you can train your cardio fitness even for just 2 days a week then this will go a long way in improving your health! There are many different forms of exercise that you can do to improve your fitness it just depends on your current ability as to where your January needs to start. Not exercised in months/years? Then don’t do too much too soon as this can demotivate you in the long term! To ensure sustainability start off with small goals such as going for a brisk walk or maybe even a jog around the block. Within just a few weeks you will see improvements as you will be able to go round the block a few more times. From here you can start to jog different and longer routes, or venture to a swimming pool. You could invest in a skipping rope to spend some time skipping in the garden. You could use the battle ropes, cross trainer, bike, rower and many more!
Want to increase your muscle?
Aim to participate in resistance training at least 2-3 times a week. You want to execute 8-12 reps with 3-5 sets depending on your current abilities. Ensure you consume plenty of protein and allow at least 24 hours recovery for each muscle group you train before retraining the same group otherwise you will regress rather than progress. To start off with you can use free weights and machines and gradually progress onto using resistance bands and cables to vary your training by supplying different stimuli to your body. Remember, NO PAIN NO GAIN, feel like you can’t do any more reps? Then do one more. Your body can sustain more load than what your brain convinces you.
Want to lose your mince pie weight?
Quite commonly people will diet for a week and won’t see any results so they give up. This is why it’s so important to understand what’s required to achieve your goal before you begin. To lose 1 pound of fat you need to burn 3500 calories more than you consume. Therefore, by cutting down 500 calories each day, it will take you 1 week to lose a pound. Most importantly, you need to cut down on your fat consumption and focus on carbohydrates and protein. Consuming protein burns nearly ¼ of its energy just to digest it! Your body also doesn’t store protein like fats and carbs so ensure that you consume plenty of protein on a daily basis!
The utmost important aspect of the new you is consistency! No matter what your goal is, you need to be consistent in order to progress/maintain your goals. If your goal is fitness or muscular orientated you need to know this top tip. For EVERY week that you stop training, you go back TWO weeks’ worth of adaptation. So if you’re training a couple of times, then having a break, and then training a couple of times, you will struggle to see progress.
On the other hand, if your goal is to lose those extra mince pies the same rule applies. If you have a deficit (more calories burnt than consumed) of 2000 calories within your diet Monday to Friday but then you hit the town at the weekend and have pizza (this can easily contain 1000 calories), a nice cocktail (can easily contain around 300-500 calories) and a nice chocolate pudding (at least 600 calories!), within just one meal here is that 2000 calorie deficit you made already blown. Not to mention all those extra snacks that might be in your cupboard calling your name. To establish sustainability and increase the likelihood of you having long term benefits to your diet you do need a treat every now and then but it’s choosing these treats wisely. Instead of choosing all three treats, just choose one. And get rid of all those unhealthy foods sitting in your cupboard that you might snack on when you’re peckish before you start your New Year program.