The majority of gym goers are going to be hitting the gym with a vengeance after a very merry holiday break. Full of ambition, but not necessarily with a plan, most people last no more than a few months before losing motivation. Here are some tips for a successful comeback.
1. Make clear and measurable goals
99% of those hitting the gyms now will fall into one of the following categories: Body composition enhancement (fat loss and muscle retention/gains), increased muscle mass or increased performance. Once you know what you want, evaluate you current situation, your past and your schedule moving forwards. If your body is like a broken vehicle and you’re traveling 4 times/month and sleeping poorly, then your road to success will be a lot more challenging. Getting a realistic grasp of the bigger picture will help you set realistic goals and create better strategies.
Once you know where you want to go and what the road ahead of you looks like you can then estimate what kind of progress you should expect. This can be very difficult, so if you do not feel capable, I suggest you consult with a professional who has valid experience and good results.
2. Pick an activity/strategy that you look forward to do
Let’s agree on something. No program in the world has any value if you do not stick to it. The likelihood of you adhering to a program is going to be dramatically enhanced if you look forward to your sessions. Now you should be careful not to take advantage of this and end up playing table tennis four times a week as an attempt to enhance your body composition. Another thing that is highly motivation and will get you wanting more is QUICK RESULTS.
So my tip:
1. Find out which strategies and methods are proven to be effective for your goals.
2. Try a few weeks with each of them.
3. 70% of the time use the method you enjoyed the most and then 30% of the time, mix it up and challenge yourself with other proven methods. This might help you get physically and mentally stronger.
Another tip is to be thoughtful of the logistics of your workouts if you are training in a crowded gym. Giant sets or circuits in January might not be the best idea.
3. Track your results & monitor your progress
Seeing your progress black and white on paper (or mobile device) is hugely motivating and helps you set goals for each session. Aim for small increases in weight or volume at least 4 our of 5 workouts and you will be successful.
4. Find a reliable training partner
If you do not want to splash out on a personal trainer, find a trustworthy partner to keep you motivated.
A good training partner will…
…not allow you to back out of a session
…add a competitive edge to the sessions
…add some humor to the sessions (plenty of Broscience)
…send you motivational messages prior to and after your sessions
…provide just enough assistance when spotting you
…protect the equipment you are using are like a rabid guard dog
Since this calibre of partner does not grow on trees, my challenge to you is BE THE PARTNER YOU WANT TO HAVE. If you do, we will all be better off.
5. Aim for sustainable progress, not short term success
Slow and steady will always win the race when it comes to long term physical development. Slow increments will be easier on the body and fewer injuries enhances consistency and long term progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your “perfect physique”.
6. January’s food goal: Just cut out the crap
If you have been food and drink binging (as you should) during the holidays, you will see good progress initially by just getting rid of all the indulgences you have had lately. Once your diet is cleaned up again you can start focusing on these generic nutritional guidelines:
1. Get rid of processed food and drink
2. Drink enough water : approx 35-40ml per kilo body weight.
3. Eat enough protein: approx 1.8-2g per kilo body weight
4. Add a healthy fat source in each meal
5. Eat vegetables for each meal.
6. Top up on carbohydrates IF/when you need the extra energy.
(Please note that individual dietary adjustments will always be required for best results).
Wishing you a prosperous and successful 2015!