I know there are a million articles about New Year's fitness resolutions at the minute but I am going to approach it in a slightly more unconventional way.
If you are tired of too-strict diet and exercise regimes and tips that fail before February even starts, try these slightly less popular but more effective resolutions to help you get fit and improve your health in 2018.
1. Don't Ban Alcohol Throughout January
Are you telling me I can drink?
Dry January or dry whatever, is good in theory but there is no real health gain if you abstain for a month and then go back to drinking just as heavily as you were for the rest of the year.
This time of year is still a social, family gathering, friend meet-up time of year and why do you want to put yourself under too much pressure to live up to difficult expectations when all you have to do is learn how to manage it instead of banning it.
A healthier, longer term outlook is to simply drink a bit less every week. If you are dying for a beer or glass of wine by February, then the total ban is not a great approach for you.
2. Eat meals that fill you up. Don't Restrict - ADD.
Instead of restricting foods and turning into an all biodynamic, organic, clean eating, vegetarian, low calorie, evangelistic dynamo, why not simply eat more foods that make you feel full.
Have you ever heard of "Positive Dietary Displacement"
Precision Nutrition experts describe Positive dietary displacement as skipping out on the massive dessert brownie for only a small piece, because you are satisfied from a nutritious meal of whole, real foods?
This is positive dietary displacement: when someone eats enough nutritious food each day, leaving little or no room for the non-nutritious foods.
When people eat this way, it generally leads to:
What a complicated method that is? Not.
Instead of restricting, you can add in the good stuff that makes you feel full therefore negating the need and desire for high calorie, processed foods.
Good examples of foods that make you feel full are most lean proteins (fish, meat, nuts, eggs etc) or high fibre foods like vegetables especially the green kind.
If you do not like these foods, simple google "high fibre fruits and veg" and then find recipes and voila, you will have a list of healthy foods and recipes to add to your diet.
3. Prioritise Your Sleep.
I will write an entire article about this in the future because I struggle with this in certain areas.
One aim is to get to bed at least 8 hours before you wake up and keep your phone out of your room.
When Arianna Huffington (of huffington post and thrive global fame) collapsed in 2007 from burnout, she radically changed her approach to life and is now one the world's biggest advocates of sleep health.
When someone of this stature changes her life like this, it is important to listen.
Many of you are super busy and like to play the "one less hour of sleep is one more hour of productivity" card but that story doesn't play out in the long run.
You can find out more here:
4. Integrate Exercise Into Your Life
I know you want to wake up every morning at 6:00am, chug down a pint glass of egg yolks and set off ROCKY STYLE.
Let's be fair, that will last about 2 days.
It is more realistic to integrate training into your life gradually.
Remember, you have all year to get fit.
If you are unfit, training 4-6 days per week initially will be too much. You will be too sore after sessions and will not recover appropriately to maintain the level of training.
A good idea to make exercise a habit is to start integrating it into your daily routine. Walk the kids to school, cycle home from work, go to the gym on the way to work, have walking meetings etc.
Join a class and start 2-3 times per week until you get fitter and then increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
5. Take A Mini Break Every 12 Weeks.
This probably sounds weird but this was one of the best things I did with my family in 2016 and 2017.
We book a mini break away every 12 weeks.
We just go local, somewhere no longer than 3 hours away and we have a break away from computers, work and general busy life.
It gives myself and my wife something to aim for and keeps us focused during the 12 weeks.
You can do it more regularly if you want.
I never really admire anyone who tells me they have accrued 14 weeks of annual leave.
Really, what is the point?
I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you are stuck and do not know where to start - try this FREE health and fitness starter kit that will give you some simple, powerful tips to get going no matter what level of fitness you are at.
Enjoy and feel free to SHARE with colleagues and friends if it helps.
Transforming your body is what's known as an "Iterative" process.
This means that you try things.
You learn what works and what doesn't.
You gather data to keep track.
You change to see continued improvements.
You adapt. Your body responds.
I think most people get stuck because they keep repeating the same routine without any progressive change.
They stick to the same routine at the same time at the same part of the gym or outdoors.
There are no rules and formulas to this stuff. There are only general principles and you must tailor everything to suit yourself.
I like doing 2-3 bike sessions per week in my studio plus 3 weights sessions. Running makes me sore everywhere so I don't do it.
I change y weights every 4 weeks and my bike program every 8-10 workouts.
When was the last time you changed your program to adapt?
Do not be afraid to completely break from your routine and try something different for 4-6 weeks.
As long as you are pushing yourself to progress safely and the exercise is challenging, it is okay, most stuff works.
If you are following a specific type of eating pattern and it has been proclaimed as a miracle weight loss method but it isn't working for you, try something different.
Listen to how your body reacts and monitor what is working.
Here are some examples of changes you could make:
1. Switch from 5-6 small meals per day to 3-4 bigger meals spaced out.
2. Switch from long bouts of cardio to short bursts of high intensity cardio.
3. Switch indoor training to outdoor activity.
4. Change your workout time.
5. Replace take aways with home cooked meals.
6. Change the exercises in your weights program.
Try anything and everything for at least 4-6 weeks and monitor what works and what doesn't.
There are no rules - just principles and principles can be manipulated and changed and adapted to help you get results.
If you go to the gym during the peak hours it can be quite daunting as it is so busy.
It can also be quite annoying as you had your perfect workout planned only to find most of the equipment taken up by sweaty people who don't like to share machines or equipment.
Well, fear not. Help is here with the fifth workout in our crowded gym series.
All you need are two kettlebells and minimum space and you will get a great, well balanced, sweaty workout that burns a lot of calories.
See the video below for the workout.
You are never going to have the perfect diet.
I talk to people every week about this and there are far too many people spending too much of their time thinking about their diet. It does not need to be that way.
Here is my number one tip to improve your relationship with food and eat healthily. It is more powerful than you think.
Have you got 27.5 minutes for a workout?
If so - here is a great little low impact, joint friendly, calorie burning, leg toning bike workout.
Check out the video below on how to perform the workout and I hope you enjoy it.
It is always good to try new workouts and fitness training.
Here is our 4th video in the crowded gym workout series.
This workout requires two kettle bells and a skipping rope and you will get up a great sweat and burn off some calories.
Minimal impact, suitable for all fitness levels and gets the job done.
Try the workout for four-eight workouts (one-two times per week) and ensure you try to lift a little heavier or do it with less rest each week.
I speak to many people every week about their diet and they really struggle to stay on track if they think they have messed up one little bit.
Maybe they have eaten a little sweet or had a small glass of wine after a stressful day. As a result, they feel like a failure and just give in for the rest of the week due to feelings of inadequacy and incompetence.
Yes, this does happen.
Well, most people slip up and here is what you should do it this happens.
If you travel for work or you are short for time because life is hectic, here is a quick fitness workout that will get your heart rate going and work up a good old sweat.
Best of all, you only need your bodyweight and a skipping rope and 10-20 minutes.
I do not like random workouts so I will probably repeat this workout twice per week for 3-4 weeks and progress it as follows:
Option 1: Record how long it takes to do and try to beat that time but maintain perfect technique.
Option 2: Add in one more exercise after 3-4 workouts to increase the difficulty.
Try it out and see how you go.
I have been a Personal Trainer since 2004 and since then I have achieved a lot of results for clients.
However, it is not easy. It is very tough and you start to learn the difference between those who get results and those who don't.
Let me explain.
A goal, whether it is fitness, business or food based requires a change in behaviour.
Most of us are not comfortable with a daily change in behaviours and it takes time to develop habits and skills in order to follow them out on a day to day basis.
For example, let's say you suddenly had to switch your training up to get better results, this initial change will be very uncomfortable especially if you have been training the same way for a long time.
You may not have the cardio or muscular fitness, the strength, the mobility or the muscular ability yet.
So you may need to adapt your behaviour and realise that it is not going to be comfortable in the outset.
The reality is that no matter where you go in life, whether it is pain or fear or discomfort, that is where the growth and most change will happen.
Most changes have to go through teething issues and have to be trained through the mistakes and these mistakes often act as the stimulus for growth and adaptation so that you can handle the stress the next time it comes around and respond better.
When you make changes in your training or food, there will be a lag period and you will not see results.
We are now constantly under pressure to receive results now or yesterday due to social media and this leads to lack of patience and a feeling of not being good enough.
You must bear in mind that you have to go through a period of discomfort and really you should try to demonstrate patience through this time.
For example, when starting to lose fat, it may not happen in a week. It may happen in 6 weeks so that we can develop the skills needed and perform them daily and let things take effect but then the results will accelerate rapidly.
The long and short of this is - DO THE WORK - Be Consistent - and show patience in everything that you do whether it is building muscle or losing fat.
Give it time to develop and be aware that you will make mistakes and be aware that these mistakes act as feedback and give you direction of where to go after these mistakes.
Some people achieve overnight success, but we all know different.
You cannot compare to other people as you have no idea what is going on in their lives. You have no idea what their motivation is or whether they are using performance enhancers etc.
Be consistent, work hard and do not compare yourself to others.
The gym can get pretty busy at peak times.
Many of you will be stuck for ideas because your favourite pieces of equipment are taken.
If so, you should never have to wait in line at the gym. And these workout plans, all designed to build lean muscle and burn body fat - ensure you won't have to.
Workout Plan 2: Fat Loss And Muscle Toning
How do I do this workout?
The only equipment you need is a bench or step, and one - two sets of dumbbells
You can perform this workout one to three times per week and combine it with cardio for great results.
Let me know how you get on.