9 Tips to Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
It’s January! Time to dust off those sneakers and dive in to that fitness routine so you can ditch those holiday pounds and get down to your goal weight.
Whether you’re following a routine for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) or just refocusing your efforts in the New Year, here are some of my favorite tips on what to keep in mind as you get started. These tips will help you stick with it when you’re busy reaching your fitness goals, even if you’re feeling grumpy or tired or frustrated or hungry.
Do: Take your before pictures.
Don’t: Freak out over what you see.
No one likes his or her Day 1 photos or measurements. But, by capturing all of the basic information (how much you weigh, how big your waist is, what you look like shirtless or in a bikini), you’ll establish a starting place. Then, when you take down all this information again (we usually recommend taking them every 30 days), you’ll see how much you’ve changed. “I can’t tell you how many times one of our Success Stories has told me that their ‘before’ picture on the fridge saved them at some point along the way,” says Manny Varjak, fitness expert.
Do: Weigh yourself once a week.
Don’t: Weigh yourself every day.
Full disclosure — I break this rule. I weigh myself every morning just after I wake up. I don’t recommend it, but helps me stay on track. Your weight can fluctuate every day based on how much sodium you consumed the day before, how much you sweated during your workout, whether you went to the bathroom, what time of the month it is, etc. If you’re the type who could get discouraged from seeing your weight go up a pound or two (or more) in 24 hours, then I recommend weighing in approximately the same time each week. It’ll give you a better overall sense of the trend your weight is heading in. Just keep in mind you might gain a few pounds during the first few weeks of beginning a program. We explain why — and when you should see the numbers drop — here.
Do: Eat for the body you want — not the one you have.
Don’t: Cut out all of your favorite foods.
If you really want to be miserable and set yourself up for failure, cut out everything you like to eat. If your diet is really bad, a lot of stuff you like might have to go. Soda, fried food, super sugary coffee drinks… Think of this new journey as a boot camp. You’re training for the body you’ve always wanted. So feed that body with the food it needs. Lean proteins, complex carbs, and lots of nutrient-packed vegetables. We have tons of healthy recipes that will fit your new lifestyle. We even have healthier version of some of your favorite foods, including pizza, fries, and burgers. Think about your diet as an 80/20 split. 80% of the time, eat “clean.” The other 20% of the time, don’t stress about it. If you really want that beer or that cookie, have it. One cookie or one beer, isn’t going to be your downfall. Here’s an easy-to-follow article on how to change your diet over 8 weeks, cheat meals included.
Do: Plan your meals and organize your kitchen.
Don’t: Wait until the day of to figure it out.
By planning your meals you make it easier to eat healthier because you don’t have to think about it every day. You just grab your breakfast and/or your lunch and go.
Do: Push through the soreness.
Don’t: Push yourself to the point of injury.
Whenever I start a new fitness program, I assume I’m going to be sore for the first two weeks. Even if the soreness doesn’t last that long, it helps my mind get in the right zone. “Soreness is a right of passage, but it’s still difficult to deal with,” says Varjak. “Don’t go 100% on Day One, and ramp things up each day based on how you feel. If you do get sore, back off but don’t stop. Doing a workout at 50% is a lot better than nothing. It will also help your soreness fade quicker.”
Do: Expect to be a little hungry and grumpy at first.
Don’t: Fall back into old bad habits.
No matter what change you’re making — whether it’s a new fitness routine or a cross-country move — there are bound to be growing pains. Change is uncomfortable. Prepare to feel a little out of sorts — you might be hungry, you might feel sore, you might be a little grumpy in response — and it’s more likely you’ll have an easier transition into your new lifestyle. “Soreness and hunger go hand in hand,” says Varjak. “When you’re sore you’re broken down and that incites hunger to repair your body. They’ll subside together. To speed things up, consider targeted nutrition or supplementation. The right food and the right time will minimize your desire to over eat.”
Do: Follow your workout calendar.
Don’t: Don’t wait until Monday to start again if you miss a workout.
If you missed a workout because of sickness or travel or you just didn’t feel like doing it, don’t worry. Just get back to it. Not sure where to pick back up? This article will tell you.
Do: Get back on program if you fall off.
Don’t: Don’t beat yourself up, feel like you’ve failed, or wait until the next day/week/month to start over.
No one is perfect. Not me, not you, and not our trainers. Everyone has an unhealthy meal sometimes or misses a workout. Don’t let that define your day, your week, or your month. Just get right back on track. You’re on a journey and along the way, there are going to be a few misses. If you pick yourself right back up and keep going, you’ll get there.
Do: Share what you’re doing and find people who will keep you accountable.
Don’t: Listen to the haters.
If you share what you’re doing with those around you, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll succeed because you’re creating a social support system that you’re accountable to. There might be people who pooh-pooh your journey, but ignore them. They have their reasons for doing so (usually the reasons stem from jealousy or fear), so just stay positive and reach out to your support system when you need help.