The start of a new year typically presents itself as a perfect time to make new year resolutions, particularly when it comes to fitness. The month of January is usually observed as a new ‘beginning’, whereby individuals are inclined to start afresh, set goals, and make progress in their health and fitness. Below are my essential tips for adhering to your new year fitness goals. The aim is for you to build a routine and equip you with the tools that will enable you to stick to your fitness journey in January and the months beyond.
- Make your routine dynamic
Make your routine fun and interesting by spicing things up from time to time. This will eliminate the monotony and you’re more likely to be consistent over the long term. On that note, new styles of training could have several benefits on your body such as building a balanced physique, improved coordination, and flexibility. You don’t have to train in the gym. Bodyweight circuits, yoga and HIIT workouts can all be performed from the comfort of your home, and you’ll find plenty of those types of workouts on my Instagram, YouTube channel and online training platform.
- Ease into it
Don’t dive in head-first towards your newly set fitness endeavour. Typically, those who do that tend to burn out within a few weeks. Instead, ease into it by making incremental changes and slowly adapt into your new routine. When it comes to working out, don’t attempt to burn off all the calories you had over Christmas in one session on the treadmill. Instead focus on having split workout days, training different muscle groups each day, and implementing cardio pre-workout (if you are cutting) or post-workout (if you are bulking). Remember to get your steps in each day as well (10,000 is optimum). Gradual increases in workout sessions and eating appropriately over time will enable your body and mind to adjust without any burnout and weight / hormonal fluctuations.
- Plan progressively and schedule time
Strategically plan your days, weeks or even months if necessary, so that your day-to-day activities are centred around your fitness goals. Additionally, ensure that you have a workout and meal plan that you’re following (see the sample meal plan below). You’re more likely to act and stick to your fitness plan if you’ve got it written down. Schedule in a workout time in your calendar and you’re more likely to adhere to it. Choose a time that you know you’re the most productive and have high energy. Personally, I’m the most productive and energetic first thing in the morning, thus I cater my workouts around that time.
- Shift your perspective
It’s easy to panic and get caught up on the scales when January arrives. Each day of the month, as you follow your meal and workout plan, focus on how you feel rather than the number on scales or measurements. As a rule of thumb for a better average, only weigh yourself once per week, preferably on the same day, at the same time. Make sure your workout is part of your routine and lifestyle rather than a task or option. Shift your perspective from “am I going to work out today?” to “what routine am I doing today?” and you’ll notice how your thought processes (and consequently your actions) will adapt to your new lifestyle centred around your health and fitness.
- Be patient
Results do not happen overnight. Rest assured you’ll achieve your goals if you’re consistent and patient. Your fitness journey is supposed to be fun and rewarding so don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip-up from time-to-time. The most important thing is how quickly you get back to your routine and remain diligent.
- Work with a coach or training partner
One vital contributing factor that determines whether you stick to your fitness routine or not is accountability. Having a workout partner or a personal trainer / online coach is an excellent way to ensure that you stick to your fitness routine throughout the duration of the year and ultimately achieve your goals.
How do I approach January?
Each January that comes by presents itself as a perfect opportunity for a fresh start; typically, in most aspects of one’s life. Most, including myself, enter January with renewed energy and motivation; ready to take on the prospective year ahead. As an athlete and coach, I review both my clients, as well as my own progress from the previous year and set new aims and targets for the start of the new year. Once that’s in place, a plan of action is set and each day in January is approached with diligence and enthusiasm.
How do I encourage others to start their fitness journey in January?
One of the key ways I support others in starting their fitness journey in January is by encouraging them to focus on themselves. As a coach, I recognise that one of the easiest ways clients lose track of their motivation is by comparing themselves to other people. I believe that there’s a difference between being inspired by someone who has your body goals and comparison. If you’re inspired by someone, whether that be someone in your local gym or on social media online, try and get tips or ideas from them (remember, what works for one person might not work for another). However, don’t compare yourself to them. Instead focus only on yourself. Track your progress by weighing and measuring yourself from time-to-time (don’t get caught up on the numbers on the scale, but instead gauge how you feel). When you see that it’s working, you’re far more likely to stay motivated.
January Meal Plan
The meal plan prescribed below has been specifically curated for those who would like a high protein, cutting meal plan to follow in conjunction with their workout plan. A high-protein meal plan, like the one below, may promote fat loss, enable you to build lean muscle and support muscle repair and recovery. Ensure that you track your calorie intake so that you’re eating the correct quantities required for your goals. If your goal is to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit, meanwhile if you want to gain size and muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus.
- Peanut butter and chopped banana protein-oats (with 1 scoop of Nitro-Tech Vanilla Whey Protein)
- Fruit salad and coconut yoghurt (fruit salad consisting of fruits such as strawberries, kiwi, and grapefruit)
This snack option is both healthy and nutritious. These fruits make the snack high in vitamin-c. Be sure to include this is your meal plan throughout January and the colder months ahead.
- Chicken pesto wrap (sliced chicken breast, lettuce, pesto, and sliced avocado (optional)
- Fish, rice, and salad (salmon fillet, brown rice, and mixed leafy green salad)