‘Tis the season to be festive! But with the festive season comes festive over-eating combined with a few too many festive drinks. So it’s understandable that at about this time of year we start to make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions, which are usually the same ones we had last year, and the year before that. So, before you start trying to conquer the world with your list of resolutions, let me share with you some (hopefully) golden nuggets I’ve picked up after years in the health and fitness industry.
Did you know that 66% of all New Years resolutions are health and fitness orientated? That means 2/3 of you have decided to start the year with some positive changes to your health and wellbeing – that’s awesome, great work! Unfortunately by the end of January, only 64% of those will still be hanging in there. This unfortunate reality was all too common throughout my time in the fitness industry.
So, here are some helpful hints to help you be one of the winning 64% still charging into February with your goals intact.
- Set SMART goals – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. Make sure they inspire you and get you to focus on what you want to get instead of what you don’t want. For example…instead of “ Lose 5 kg” try something like “Fit into my skinny jeans”…you get the picture?
- Focus on the making the smaller actions for your long term goals your resolutions. We’ve all heard the saying ‘watch the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves’ – this is no different.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. So many people try to flip their entire lifestyle on its head after one of the biggest binge-eating periods of the year – this is a recipe for disaster and setting up to fail.
- Reward yourself. Pick a relevant prize to treat yourself for sticking to your goals. In my experience the best rewards for keeping you on target are either a new outfit to compliment the changes you’ve made; a meal out where you get to have the things you’ve given up; or something that helps you with your goals – maybe a new blender or cookbook.
For those of you who don’t think you have time or don’t know where to start with setting your goals, I have included the most successful structure I have used in the past and present with clients, friends and families.
Eat Good – Feel Good
When starting any health and fitness regimen it’s a good idea to look at improving both exercise and nutrition habits. So let’s start with a simple but really effective tweak to your diet. A major culprit in our modern diet, which leads to inflammation, weight gain, problems with physical and mental performance, as well as a decrease in our general mood is the high concentration of wheat and, more specifically, gluten-based products. So for the next month let’s make our primary goal to swap out packaged cereals for a wholesome brekkie. Trust me, you will feel the difference. A quick and easy morning ritual for this is 2-3 soft-boiled eggs, a small handful of nuts and a green smoothie (recipe below)
½ Frozen Banana
1/3 (12-15cm) Cucumber
2 celery sticks
Small handful Baby Spinach leaves
1 tbs coconut oil
Small handful Frozen Mango
1 tbs Bounce Green Energy
200ml cold water
Blend all ingredients together. Drink up!
Do Good – Feel Good
Now for the exercise…It is important that we get 30-40 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise daily in order to maintain lean muscle mass, increase bone mineral density, manage a healthy body-fat composition and increase energy production in our cells. Now everyone is different – what’s high intensity for some could be perceived as moderate, or even low, intensity for others. To help determine where you sit a lot of trainers will use a RPE (rate of perceived exertion) on a scale of 1-10. In other words you want to feel like you’ve worked pretty hard at the end of your workout but still have a little left in the tank. It’s that point of working hard but feeling good. If it feels good, you’ll keep it up.
I have put together a simple workout that can be completed at home, in the gym or in a park. Ideally you will complete this 3 times per week leaving a day between each session (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Even better is if you can do it first thing before breakfast. On the other days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) you can go for a brisk 30-40 minute walk before breakfast, or some other active hobby. On Sundays, this is a day for an active hobby – whether that’s surfing, going for a bike ride, skiing, swimming, snorkeling, gardening – it doesn’t matter, just get out and move!
Total Body New Years Resolution Workout
Exercises are paired together in supersets where we perform them as couplets. For example, perform exercise A1 for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then complete A2 for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest until all 4 sets are done. If you are finding this to be too intense, increase the rest periods to 15-20 seconds and work on bringing them back down over the coming weeks.
Bench squats 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Horizontal Pull Ups 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Rest 60-90 secs
Push Ups 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Hip Bridges 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Rest 60-90 secs
Alternating lunges 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Horizontal rows 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Rest 60-90 secs
Dips 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
Lying leg raises 4 sets, 20 sec. reps, 10 sec. rest
I know these appear to be quite simple tasks, especially the training program, but this is about establishing good habits and building a foundation from which to improve on in coming months. More often than not, it’s the simple stuff that sticks.
When we make positive changes to the way we eat and move, we feel good. And when we feel good, it’s easy to stay on track with our goals. So, I invite you to give it a go. I look forward to hearing about your progress.