New year - new lifestyle?
If you have a New Year's resolution to get fit and/or drop some of those pounds there are a few things that you should know. Most people jump on the band wagon with making a New year’s resolution but they don’t think deeply about what it is they truly want and how they are REALLY going to go about it. In fact it’s commonly cited that most resolutions don’t last past January. Let’s try and make sure you don’t fall by the wayside.
I just wanted to list a few ideas/uncover some hard truths that will hopefully keep you on track if you have a New Years resolution to get in better shape. I also want to highlight some hard truths about what you will probably experience undergoing a longterm lifestyle change.
1 What are you trying to achieve
Have another think about what is is you are aiming to achieve. “I want to lose weight” will probably not suffice. If losing weight is your goal you need a target weight to go for. Not only this, be realistic as to what you can achieve. Break down your main goal into smaller, easier chunks. Maybe go for losing X kg’s or X inches off your waist by March and then repeat. If you are a competitive person or are embarking on your resolution with someone else it can be easy to try and compare yourself and your progress with others. This is dangerous and many people who do this end up overdoing it and then burning out and quitting before reaching their goals. Try NOT to compare yourself, your goals and your progress with others. This is YOUR resolution, Your goal. Take pride in your successes. I’m not saying be a loner with your goals, having someone else with you can be a massive factor in succeeding but just remember you are doing this for YOURSELF :)
2 It's going to be hard work - did you really think otherwise?
People often underestimate just how much hard work will be needed to actually achieve a New Years resolution, but with focus and determination it definitely is possible. You are going to have sore muscles, often. Don’t worry – this means that you are working your body and with proper rest and a good diet (or at least a better one than before!) you will come back feeling great and looking better!
3 It's not all about weight loss
A hugely important point to remember is that you MIGHT NOT LOSE WEIGHT straight away/for periods of time/after a while. This DOESN’T MEAN YOU AREN'T LOSING FAT. As you lose body fat you will also be gaining lean muscle tissue as a result of the new or increased amount or intensity of physical activity and training. This is why many people can lose small amounts of weight but drop huge amounts of size. I have had clients that have lost 2 dress sizes without losing much weight at all. They feel much better, look much better and have vastly improved health. This increase in lean muscle tissue is your main weapon against fat gain as it will increase your metabolism! This is the key to fat loss - elevating your metabolic rate.
4 Rest days are for the cool kids!
You HAVE to take rest days in order for your body to recover and repair itself from the increased demands placed upon it. Not only this, but you will most likely get fed up and burn out if you push it too hard, too soon. A friend of mine has done world-leading research in Overtraining and Underrecovery in elite athletes and the same applies to them. Their performance decreases, their motivation wanes and they often get ill if they don’t give themselves enough rest. If it happens to the fittest people in the world it will most likely happen to mortals like you and me!
5 Sleep to succeed
Sleep is the most important way of resting and recovering. The demands on your body are the smallest when you sleep. During sleep your muscles and brain recover the fastest allowing for increased productivity. Your muscles repair themselves, your Human growth hormone levels increase and the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline decrease. The body allows itself to go into the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest mode’ during sleep. Sleep is not for the weak but for those sensible enough to utilise it.
6 The Gym countdown
The gym is NEVER as crowded as it is during the first 3 weeks of January. After about 4 weeks 90% of the ‘New Year crowd’ will have given up and stopped going/lost motivation, at least for their initial resolution. Will you be one of them? If the crowds are putting you off just try and last a few more weeks and you will be pleasantly surprised!
You will almost certainly find that with the increase in exercise you will feel more hungry, especially if you are going on a fad diet and trying to cut your calorie intake by more than 20%. Your body will start slowing your metabolism down thus screwing your chances of success. Also when you train you need to eat more, so this is a double edged sword. Let yourself eat more- just ensure that what you are eating is sensible and nutritious. I’m just trying to make the point that with more training your body needs more fuel and your brain will let you know about it. Don’t ignore hunger but plan for it.
I hope this short post has helped clarify a few things. You are doing an amazing thing trying to better yourself and I wish you all the best!
I am starting my Fatloss fitness camp in February in Exeter, which will provide you with the support and training you need to successfully lose fat and keep it off. Please email me using my contact form and browse my website for more information. I would love to work with you!