2016 is upon us. As we begin the new year, most of us will have some goals for the upcoming year. This is the time of year when everyone goes and joins the gym, commits to finally getting in shape, and then does their best to make it happen.
To make things a bit easier, I wanted to compile my best tips for actually sticking with a fitness plan and making lasting change. Sadly, most people don’t reach their goals. If they did, losing weight wouldn’t be the number one resolution each and every year, would it?
Most of us make it a few weeks tops, then fall off the wagon and go right back to square one. I’ve been a personal trainer for nearly 5 years, and in all the gyms I’ve trained at, most people who join in January don’t make it two weeks before they stop coming. I want to change this.
There is so much nonsense out there – crash diets, unrealistic expectations from magazines, personal trainers who want to take your money… what follows is realistic, safe, and effective advice for everyone.
What follows are actionable steps and practices that will help you make 2016 the year you actually reach your goals. Now, if you’re already very fit, these tips may not all apply to you. Regardless, I can guarantee you know someone who wants to lose weight this year, and doesn’t know where to start. If you think this information is helpful, please pass this along to them.
My goal is to reach as many people as I possibly can, and help make the world a healthier place.
If you’re reading this article, and have struggled in the past to reach your weight loss goals, I truly believe that following the advice below will make things so much easier. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter – I’d love to talk and help you if I can 🙂
1. Make strength training your main weapon.
Cardio is great. Walking, running, bicycling, swimming, hiking – all are very good for your health, and will help you burn some extra calories.
However, if fat loss is your goal, hit the weights. Strength training builds lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even at rest. That’s right – strength training can turn you into a calorie burning machine all day long, not just while exercising.
In addition to fat loss, getting strong can improve posture, strengthen your bones, reduce pain, and make you feel so much better.
When you’re just getting started, a simple full-body routine, performed 3-days per week, is all you need.
Oh, and ladies who are new to fitness? You won’t accidentally get bulky from lifting weights, I promise. Go look in the weight room next time you’re at the gym, and count how many guys are actually big and muscular. Consider that nearly ALL of those guys want to be big and muscular, and have significantly more testosterone than you. If they can’t gain muscle while doing everything they can to put on size, there is no chance you’ll accidentally get big.
2. Eat protein with every meal.
Protein isn’t just for bros who want to get jacked. Protein is an essential macronutrient that we all need, regardless of your goal.
Once digested, protein breaks down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of the cells in our bodies. Protein is used for recovery and muscle growth, yes, but also skin, hair, and nail regrowth, as well as energy.
Lastly, protein is very hard for your body to digest, so it has a high thermic effect. You don’t need to know that term, but just know what it means – you actually burn more calories digesting protein then you do digesting carbs or fat.
The best lean protein sources are chicken breast, ground turkey, eggs/egg whites, cottage cheese, and whey protein.
3. Focus on one habit at a time.
If you want to succeed, you need to make healthy eating and exercise habits. This is no short-term fix, despite what magazines may try to sell you. If you want to be healthy, you need to make sustainable, lifelong changes.
The best way to do this is by focusing on only one thing at a time. You’ll have a tremendously hard time trying to pick up multiple habits at once, so just pick one, master it, and then move on.
Need to drink more water? Work on that everyday until it becomes part of your life, without even thinking about it. Then move on to the next habit.
4. Get accountability from someone.
This may be the number one most important step you can take. If you’re in a relationship, ask your significant other to hold you to your goals. When temptation strikes, you need to know someone is watching, and has your back. It’s a lot harder to let someone else down, than it is to let yourself down.
Single? Find a good friend. You can also post on social media, or even hire a trainer or online coach to help you. Whatever it is, do whatever you can to make sure someone else is helping you succeed.
Your Tools for Success
We live in an awesome world, a world full of smartphones, computers, and Chipotle delivery.
As you kick off 2016, here are some of my favorite apps and tools that will make pursuing a healthy life much, much easier for you. I personally use all of these, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone I meet.
MyFitnessPal – If you don’t know what this is, it’s a website and phone app that allows to track your nutrition. Simply type in what you eat, or better yet, scan the label, and you can see an exact breakdown of what you eat each day.
Streaks – This AWESOME iPhone app lets you set habits, and helps keep you on track with them. Perfect for your new year.
Fruit-Infused Water Bottle – This BPA-Free water bottle is an excellent tool for those looking to drink more water. Some people have a hard time with plain water, so this allows to drop fresh fruit into the central tank, flavoring your water the natural way. A must have.
Putting it All Together
Reaching your goals can be hard, but hopefully the habits above will help you get started on the right path.
To make this all easier, I put together a special quick-start guide just for those new to the world of exercise and good nutrition. It’s the first time I’ve made a program available to non-client readers, and I’m SO excited to share it with you.
This program is designed for those new to fitness, or those who have fallen off the wagon. It’s a complete book that includes 8 weeks of workouts, 8 weeks of lean nutrition habits, a complete nutrition and supplementation guide, and much more.
If you want a clear-cut, no-nonsense, practical guide to get you started, this is the program for you. It focuses on what actually matters – building habits for the first 8 weeks, more than enough time to get you into a routine. After 8 weeks you’ll be stronger, leaner, and have better nutritional habits than most Americans.
If you’re a bit more advanced, I do have a few slots left in my private coaching program – head over here to check that out and apply.