It’s getting to that time of year again. “The Dreaded January”. You, along with the rest of the western world are probably starting to think about getting healthy, losing weight and finally getting rid of that flabby gut or wobbly bingo wings once and for all.
You are probably thinking about starting a new diet and embarking on a fitness regime that will help you turn into a lean, mean fitness machine.
So how many January's is it now? If your honest, how many years has this been the intention? There has even been some years where you even kept going to the gym all the way into February.
I am aware that the intro to this sounded sarcastic and cynical. It was meant to, but only to highlight a massive trend that sees more than 90% of the people who start a health kick in January fail within the first 4 weeks.
This time, however, I truly do not want it to be YOU who fails again. That’s why I have put together a list of my top 5 tips to ensure this year’s health kick is a success and turns into a lifestyle choice rather than just another fad.
1. Run! Run away from anything that looks like or sounds like a quick fix.
Avoid faddy diets like Atkins or the maple syrup plan or anything else that tells you to be overly restrictive on your food choices. Personally, I would avoid weight loss groups like S******* W**** or W***** W*******. You might lose a few pounds here but unless you want to be obsessive about what you eat and bore everyone with talk of points and sins for the rest of your life, it is probably not a long term solution.
2. Set manageable goals.
Losing 2 stone by the end of January is not realistic. Aim for a weight loss of about 2-3lbs per week. It’s great to have a long-term goal but you need to break that up into manageable chunks.
P.S. Guys, you’re not gonna look like an athlete or a Men’s Health Model in 4 weeks either. So, don’t be disheartened when your body doesn’t radically transform and you don’t get a six pack or massive guns straight away.
Instead, make the first 4 weeks all about establishing habits. Being consistent with the little things like regular gym visits, drinking plenty of water and making sure you eat a good breakfast. This will help you form lasting habits that will put you in a great position to create long-term change.
3. Put together a weekly plan.
For most of my clients, this is where they fall down and need a bit of coaching. Sunday evenings a great for this. Spend 30 mins planning meals and shopping lists and set yourself appointments for your training or gym visits. Yes, I called them appointments. Even if they are not with a trainer, this is how you need to view them. Make them an absolute priority. Other than a work or family emergency you need to make sure you are getting your ass to the gym or making time for training and you need to do it, even though you might feel tired or you had a dreadful day. Power through because I promise it will make you feel better.
OK, this is a biggy. It means thinking a bit deep but it’s an absolutely essential part of the process if you really want to be successful.
Ask yourself WHY?
Why do you want to get healthy?
Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you want to change?
Thinking about this will probably stir up some emotions and that is great. Emotions can be a great driving force behind our need to succeed. Understanding why you want to change will help you understand what achieving your goals actually means to you and help you figure out what you are prepared to do to achieve them. You may have to give up a few things or sacrifice a TV program, reduce you alcohol intake or the amount you eat of your favourite food.
Your success should mean more to you than any of these things. If it doesn’t and you find yourself making excuses, then you’re probably not ready to change.
Never mind! There is always next year…
5. Finally! Don’t beat yourself up.
Anything that is worth achieving in life is usually pretty tough. The road to success at anything is seldom straight forward and full of pitfalls and little blips that throw you off track. So, if you end up going on a bender or binge eating a whole packet of chocolate hob knobs half way through your plan just forget about it. Give yourself a quick slap on the wrist and move on. Wallowing in self-pitty never helped anyone and getting upset with yourself will probably end in you throwing in the towel and making shallow excuses to yourself to justify why you didn’t want to get in shape anyway.
For some of you, reading this may be a little too close to the bone, while some of you might think I am a bit of muppet. In truth though, this is pretty close to the bone for me. Not so much to do with my fitness and weight but more about self-confidence and my ability to build a business and be a good coach.
There are certainly times in the past where I have made excuses to not do something I know will help my business just because it makes me feel uncomfortable. In the end though, the regret of not having done it always bothered me more than sucking things up and just doing what I got to do.
So there you go, my resolution this year is to get out there and meet new people, introduce myself to the community and build a good business where I can help as many people as I can.
And for some reason, if I don’t manage to do this… I know that the only person ultimately to blame will be myself.
2 Week kick start program
If you would like a little bit of help to get 2018 started in the right way, why not give my 2 Week Kick Start Program a go.
You will get 4 personal training sessions plus a home flexibility workout and all the nutrition resources you need for just £29
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Darren has over 10 years experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, sports injury therapist and most recently as an educator to other trainers. Originally from South Wales, he went to Liverpool University to study Sports Science and liked the city so much, he decided to stay. Since finishing his degree he set up a thriving personal training and injury rehab business which continues to this day. He has recently moved over to Denby Dale in West Yorkshire and has opened Faster Fitness Solutions, a multi-purpose training and rehabilitation facility located in the heart of the village.