It's the start of a new year once again! For most people, that means a fresh start. A clean slate with a list of things to achieve over the coming 365 days.
That's a very good thing. Why? Because it usually coincides with high motivation for getting fit and achieving health goals. Don't know how to get there? Relax, that's exactly why we penned this article.
Below you will find the greatest fitness tips to get that bang for your buck, or if you're short on time, to make the most of what you have available. Ready? Then let's dive into surefire ways to make your 2022 great!
1) Make A Plan
Planning should really be a life skill taught to every single person during their school life. So too is it necessary to make a sensible fitness plan.
Why? Because having a target makes knowing where to go much easier. Just think about it- you want to get fit, but haven't set any targets, and haven't started planning how to get there.
So what do you do?
You do an internet search for how to get fit. You sign up for some fitness classes. You may even copy some programs found on the web, or buy a cheap eBook online about it.
Anything that improves your understanding of what you need to do and where you need to go will help you start making inroads. Don't get too tied up about not being the best; nobody starts off being the best.
Set small goals. If you are overweight, a modest goal of one pound per week lost will help keep you motivated and build sustainable habits. If you are just starting out, your goals needn't be too severe.
2) Know Your Obstacles And Weaknesses
Whether you're trying to lose weight or get fit, there's one thing that will always get in the way- other people. You need to know how other people can affect your fitness journey. If you don't, then you'll be in for a rude awakening.
We're not just talking about your friends, family, or loved ones either. We are also referring to the general public, who may not have your best interest at heart. Public transport is a good example of this. If it's rush hour, don't expect to get a seat easily if you're carrying extra pounds.
You also need to realize something important- your mind is a powerful thing. If you don't believe in yourself, you will not achieve anything worthwhile. Again, this ties into planning. Planning should have an element of emotional intelligence in it too. You should plan for potential setbacks and obstacles that could hinder your progress.
3) Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. It's also a great way to start planning your fitness goals too. We tend to follow this wordy criterion for achieving anything in life.
So what does it mean? It means setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds in three months you will need to reduce your daily calories by 500. If not, the likelihood of you failing is very high because it's hard for most people to lose more than one pound per week.
As you can see, your goal is measured by the target pounds lost. It's achievable as losing one pound per week is a realistic and time-sensitive goal.
Here's another example- if your goal is to run four miles over the course of four weeks (26 days) then you need to run at least 1 mile per day. More importantly, you will need to measure your progress by completing each run. If not, then there's nothing stopping you from giving up or getting distracted mid-way through the program.
We recommend using a fitness tracking app to log your progress and fulfill the 'measurable' part of this acronym. Finally, it is important that your goal is achievable, you are essentially setting yourself up for failure otherwise.
4) Be More Active
Most people aren't active enough. You can make small changes that will compound into big benefits over time. For example, if you sit several hours every day in the office, why not mix things up with a standing desk?
A standing desk is a great way to be more active and it's also a practical investment. It will pay for itself in the long run too- you'll burn off extra calories and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you like using public transport then why not leave the car at home? If you work close to where you live, do the journey on foot or bicycle instead. Going on foot or by bicycle is a great way to be more active and it's also free!
Finally, you can always find new ways to incorporate activity into your daily routine. For example, if you have kids then why not go for a walk with them instead of watching TV? This might sound like a chore but spending time with your family is a great way to de-stress too.
Better yet, find a family-friendly game like Just Dance! and dance away those extra calories.
5) Upgrade Your Diet
If you've been slacking off on your fitness goals for a while, then you need to upgrade your diet too. You can't expect miracles overnight because changing old habits can be hard. The good news is that it gets easier every day as the old bad habits get replaced by new healthy ones.
Always think about what you can do to upgrade your diet to reflect your fitness goals. If you want to lose weight, try avoiding sugar and carbohydrate-dense processed foods which offer little real nutritive value.
However, don't be afraid of carbs because there are good carbs too- whole grains and vegetables for example. If you want to build muscle, make sure you increase your protein intake as well.
Gradually replace poor quality dietary fats with healthful fats- Omega 3, monosaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
6) Get More Sleep
It's easier said than done, but you need to get more sleep and aim for at least 7 hours every day. Why? It's because lack of sleep is a big problem nowadays due to the long-hour culture that most people have grown accustomed to.
In fact, not getting enough sleep has been linked to lower life expectancy as well as health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This is bad news if you're trying to lose weight or improve your overall health.
The good news is that there are often simple ways to get around any problems related to lack of sleep. For example, you can turn off all electronic devices before going to bed so they don't affect your sleeping pattern.
You can also try relaxing herbs such as chamomile, valerian, and lavender before bed. They are safer alternatives if you don't want to use prescription medication.
Sleep simply cannot be replaced- there just isn't anything that offers the same restorative benefit. You can't 'catch up' on missed sleep either so be mindful of how much sleep you are getting. If you have to, try napping during the day too- experts recommend between 20 and 30 minutes.
7) Meal Prep
Meal prep is so effective, yet very few people are dedicated enough to follow through. That's a big problem because you can't expect to lose weight, build muscle or live healthier if you don't control what goes into your body.
This is where meal prep comes in-it makes calculating calories and knowing exactly what you're eating throughout the day extremely simple. The best part about this is that you'll be able to save money too because planning meals ahead of time enable you to buy groceries in bulk at discounted prices.
The only thing left to do now is to plan out your meals for the week and grocery shop! If you really want results then make sure that most of your meals are healthy by using fresh ingredients and lean protein sources. Also, remember not to overdo things with carbs as this will slow things down.
Many well-meaning diets fail due to hunger. In the spur of the moment, the odds are very low that you will prepare a healthy meal that takes time when hunger pangs strike. Feel free to eat as many veggies as you like to blunt your appetite, or use a high quality superfoods formula like Field of Greens.
Avoid this inconvenience by prepping and freezing your meals in Tupperware bowls on the weekend and off days.
8) Hire A Personal Trainer
There is a reason that even some of the most highly experienced and successful athletes hire trainers- it's because having a professional tell you what to do is incredibly effective. This can be proven statistically as well because personal trainers have helped countless people lose weight faster than ever before.
It may seem expensive, but the truth is that you have to think of it as an investment in your health and fitness goals. For example, how much would someone spend over their life on gym memberships? Some people spend thousands of dollars every year- which adds up fast! Would they have saved money if they had hired a personal trainer instead?
This isn't just psychological either- hiring a personal trainer has been shown to help reduce injuries too. This means that you'll be able to work out without fear of hurting yourself by lifting weights incorrectly or doing high-intensity exercise that you're not ready for.
If you can't afford a personal trainer, then be sure to choose the gym very carefully because it's better to pay more for a gym with experienced staff than poor service. For example- avoid the local YMCA and go for Gold's Gym instead if you want to improve your chances of success.
9) Find An Accountability Partner
Much like having a coach, hiring a personal trainer, or using meal prep services; finding an accountability partner is another excellent way to make sure you follow through on your goals. This is because other people simply help keep us committed by motivating us during our weak moments. The right person will even push us harder than we would normally push ourselves which means results are almost guaranteed.
Be sure to choose someone who is knowledgeable about health, fitness and nutrition though- not just anyone who wants to 'lose weight'. Remember that you're doing this for your own benefit so it's important to find someone who will be there with you every step of the way rather than quitting after a few days. This makes it much easier to stay on track and achieve your goals, provided that the person you choose is really willing to commit and help you.
10) Stay Hydrated
It may not seem like a big deal, but staying hydrated throughout the day is easy yet highly effective. Water is the most abundant compound in the human body making up 68% of your weight- and it's an absolute necessity to sustain life. What most people don't know is that being dehydrated can cause a metabolic slowdown which makes it much harder to burn fat, especially around the abdominal area.
The best way to stay hydrated throughout the day is by using a reusable water bottle such as a glass, stainless steel, or aluminum one. This is because regular plastic bottles contain toxins such as BPA that can leech into the water and cause adverse health effects.
Try to drink one gallon of water daily, and even more if it's hot and humid.
11) Master Weight Training
No great body was ever forged from cardio alone. If you want the physique of your dreams, then you have to lift weights to build lean muscle mass. This is because your body will always prioritize building muscle which requires more energy than fat- so the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn all day long.
Muscle is classified as a metabolically active tissue meaning that it uses energy, even when you're not working out. For example- the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be which means you'll burn more calories digesting food and just going about a normal day.
It's also been shown that strength training can help reduce the risk of type II diabetes while helping to maintain bone density, balance and coordination. If you want to be healthy in your older years, then make sure to build some lean muscle mass today by lifting weights.
12) Don't Let Failure Get You Down
It's perfectly normal to have a bad workout from time to time. In fact, I guarantee that if you're pushing yourself hard enough in the gym- you'll sometimes feel like quitting and heading home for a nap.
Although nobody is perfect, it's important not to let failure get you down because the only people who achieve their goals are the ones who don't quit.
You either win, or you learn- so just keep pushing yourself every single workout because that's the only way to succeed in this game.
You can grab 2022 by the horns today if you truly want to. All it takes is shifting your mindset towards success and taking the necessary steps every day to ensure that you follow through with your goal to get in amazing shape by year-end.
Whether it's adopting a healthier diet, getting more exercise, or just acquiring better habits- it all starts with you today so why not give yourself an edge and make some positive changes today?
It can start with as little as drinking more water. Make this year yours! You can do it.