Fitness advice: How to make new year resolutions that actually work
Feeling déjà vu? Eaten and drunk far too much this December? Feeling super lazy and unhealthy? belly looking slightly bigger?
Despite your best laid plans not to overindulge at Christmas, you did anyway, and now it’s 3 January and you’re still feeling rough from new year’s eve, with anxiety levels through the roof and a little voice in the back of your head saying: “Time to sort yourself out, you fat, ill-disciplined idiot”. Or maybe that’s just me.
The good news is, we’re all in the same boat. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Hopefully you had fun, didn’t fall down the stairs at the work party and avoided poisoning people with the Christmas turkey.
Time to get back on the wagon. But the one thing you absolutely must not do this year is set a load of goals, start off amazingly well and then fall off the bandwagon some time in early February. Its not happening this year! I am going to help! The City of London is going to get some top results in 2018.
After working in the fitness industry for 10 years, I’ve seen people fall into the same trap over and over again. So why do people fail? One of the main reasons is not measuring progress while you’re trying to lose weight or bulk up.
People set out to be healthy and lose weight but give up because they didn’t see results on the scales or in the mirror. The key is to set yourself as many goals as possible and then find a way of measuring each. If you are looking to loose the fat around you stomach then you need to find a way to properly measure this.
We all want more when we look in the mirror but it’s hard to notice small changes. If you only measure your progress on the scales and don’t see a shift in weight, you’ll assume you’re failing, which then will de motivate you and set you up to fail. Scales are a great way of measuring progress, but should never be the only method. You should also take photos (a complete 360), circumference measurements, the way your clothes fit, the amount of times you train, and how much sleep you get. Just remember: if you’re putting in the shifts and eating well, you will get results.
If you haven’t trained in six months and now you’re training four times a week, that’s a huge achievement. If you’ve cut out alcohol because you drank too much in December, that’s a huge achievement. If you are now paying more attention to your food and giving up the crisps and chocolate, that’s a huge achievement. These things should be seen as progression.
Another thing I see every January is that people giving up alcohol and eating “healthily”. They get rid of all the “junk food” and replace it with things like fruits, nuts and smoothies. This is fine, but a big problem is many people still overeat.
I keep banging on about calories, but it’s the fundamental thing when it comes to losing weight. If you overeat, no matter what food you’re cramming in, you will still put on weight.
The “healthier” alternatives can be deceptive. I was in the supermarket recently looking at a packet of “gluten and dairy free” cookies. Each one contained 91 calories. On the shelf behind was a pack of normal cookies. Each cookie contained 91 calories. So if you’re purely looking at weight loss, there’s no difference between either one. Be very careful when you’re buying foods because advertised as “healthy”, it doesn’t mean that you can start eating more.
I really recommend the MyFitnessPal app, which allows you to track all the food you eat – it will teach you so about how calorific certain foods are. Hummus, nuts and avocados are all super high in calories and you could quite easily eat a lot of them in one go.
Counting calories isn’t for everyone, and I don’t think you have to be tracking everything you eat for the rest of your life, but try it for a few days – you’ll be surprised what you learn. Tracking calories has been life changing for some of my clients. I’ve worked with people who never ate junk food, or fried food, or ready meals, or even drank alcohol, yet were never able to lose weight. Helping them to understand about calories made the crucial difference.
I’m a big believer that the more planning that goes in, the more results will come out. A great tactic is to plot your next 30 days, laying out all events you know are coming up. Next plot in all the days you can definitely train. This should include PT Sessions, classes, your own workouts at the gym and even things like walking. After a few minutes you’ll have a manageable workout plan. Once you’ve completed a day, tick it off and you’ll have physical proof that you’ve achieved something. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, just move it to another day.
If you pay attention to the these three things, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success in 2018.
Harry Thomas is the co-owner of City gyms No.1 Fitness. Call 020 7403 6660 or go to no1fitness.co.uk