Two wooden blocks reading New Year, New Start

New Year, New Start?

Did you start the New Year with the same resolution you did last year? For many, the resolution each year is the same… get in great shape!  Whether that means be consistent in the gym, do more cardio, eat right, or just stick with a plan, the biggest problem with resolutions is that they don’t last.  The average newbie fitness & health seeker joins the gym at the beginning of the year and makes use of that gym for only a few weeks.  When the pounds don’t just magically fall off, or muscles don’t pack on instantaneously, discouragement sets in, and quitting comes easy for most.

That’s why I advise my clients to stop with BS resolutions and set definite realistic intentions: to be fit, to be strong, to be lean, and to be healthy. When you decide to change the course, you’ve been on, you have to commit.   You must commit to a lifestyle and attitude adjustment. But how, you ask?

Make a plan.

Actually do it!  If you don’t have a plan, you won’t be able to stick to it and you will not succeed. It’s that simple.  Get professional help with your diet and workouts if needed to steer you in the right direction.   Avoid gimmicky diets and training advice (often published in popular magazines and seen on TV) guaranteeing you results with no effort.   

Keep a journal.

It helps to write down everything you do and everything you eat during the day. Not only will a journal and food log keep you accountable, but you will also see when things take a turn and you are not following your plan.  People are usually surprised when they read their food journal and see how many carbs they are shoving down, or that they really don’t eat as much protein as they think.

Watch when you eat.

We all know that we need to eat more natural foods, fish and lean meats, but did you know that many of you probably don’t eat enough or correctly divide your food up during the day? This is especially true for women.  It’s not uncommon for women to only eat one low calorie meal a day and think that not eating and severe calorie restriction will help them lose weight faster.  Or save up all those calories during the day and eat a huge meal at night with a few glasses of wine, right before bed. Big mistake! Both, skipping multiple meals and/or eating all your calories in one sitting will only make your body hold onto fat.  You have to eat enough calories to feed your muscles and eat them appropriately throughout the day. Intermittent fasting does work for weight loss, but it is very important to consume adequate nutrition spread out evenly during the 8 hours per day you aren’t fasting.   The timing is also important to the success of your workouts.

Give yourself a break.

We are not perfect. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip or can’t keep up. Be consistent and kind to yourself. Prioritize alone time and time spent with family and close friends. This will help you be happier, more grounded, and in the end, this will give you better results.

Start lifting heavier weights.

Many women (and men!) stay away from intense weight training in fear of getting bulky.  Don’t worry!  Lifting weights will make you stronger and more defined and you will not get bulky, I promise! Get outside your comfort zone and train hard.  Take yourself to the brink of failure.  Remember the whole point of lifting is to go to the point of failure, or your body really doesn’t know it needs to change.  It doesn’t mean you throw around super heavy weights haphazardly, it’s all about proper technique and controlled movements.  Heavy is a relative term which is different for each person. You want to overload your muscles and strive to fail somewhere between the 5-15 rep range for the most part.  This seems like a big range, but it really depends on what movement you are doing, and if you are going for endurance or training for power on any particular day.  I mix it up within each workout, still going to failure.  

Increase the intensity of your workouts.

It’s all about the intensity of your workouts.  Lifting heavier as I mentioned above is one way to increase intensity.  You can also decrease rest periods in between sets or add supersets and giant sets.  For cardio, don’t worry if you only have 20 minutes; maximize the time by doing high-intensity intervals instead of walking for an hour.  Make sure your heart rate stays in a safe range, but if you are physically okay with doing it, push it up to that higher safe range during your intervals.  Biking, jumping rope or sprinting/running for 2-3 minutes and then slowing down is much better than pedaling a stationary bike leisurely while reading a newspaper or texting.  High-intensity workouts speed up your metabolism and help you burn more fat throughout the day.


You know that, right?  But you would be surprised how many people don’t get enough rest.  Your body needs rest so your muscles don’t shrink because they are not properly healing.  

Don’t work the same body parts two days in a row.  When you are just beginning you can get away with working the same muscle group every other day because the volume of work per area is less.  Once you get to more volume and intensity for each muscle group, more rest is needed for recovery.  Advanced lifters often only work each muscle group once per week.  

Remember rest also includes SLEEP!  Sleep is something that I’ve struggled with for years, like many people.  My chaotic work schedule often had me coming home at 10:00 p.m. to only have a 6 hour or less turn around, before being up for work again.  

I think the only positive thing that the Covid pandemic has done is forced us all to stop and look at our lives, and possibly start making more sustainable choices.  

Take those New Year’s resolutions and transform them into something lasting. This is really the most important decision I think a person can make.  It speaks to quality of life and longevity.  It is up to us to choose how we care for ourselves each and every day.    Yes, be diligent, but most of all, be kind!

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