Along with parties and get-togethers, New Year’s Eve is also a time for self-reflection and fitness goal setting for the New Year.
But just like the fireworks set off on New Year’s Eve, many people’s fitness goals quickly fizzle away, and failing to achieve goals can be discouraging.
However, there are some tips and suggestions that will help you in setting New Year’s resolutions and keeping on top of fitness goals.
Establish Realistic Fitness Goals
Planning to go from a couch potato to a Mr. Olympia contestant in one year, while certainly a forward-thinking aspiration, is not realistic. Fitness goals generally take time to achieve.
To be successful at meeting goals, the first step is to set rational and obtainable goals. All fitness goals should be established by keeping these four parameters in mind:
- Are these goals specific?
- Are these goals measurable?
- Are these goals safe?
- Are these goals reasonably attainable within a given timeframe?
If you can answer “yes” to all three questions, you’re off to a good start.
Being able to measure goals is imperative because it makes it easier to determine necessary subsequent exercise decisions. Take measurements and record weight lifted during a workout along with number of reps and sets. Then, as your measurements or weight lifted improves, reward yourself for your progress.
Additionally, goals should be safe and time-bound. Having timely goals motivates you to action and keeps these goals relevant. This discourages procrastination and prevents anticipated roadblocks due to busy schedules or other possible constraints.
Facilitate Diet Resolutions
Scheduling meals and prepping them beforehand is an excellent way to optimize weight loss and muscle building plans, and here’s one reason why: you won’t be tempted to fall back on fast-food, poor snack choices, and TV dinners.
Too often, unhealthy food choices seem like the only viable option as we hustle about our day-to-day life. These food choices involve little-to-no action on our part, and that’s why they are so appealing.
But as one famous adage goes, “Abs are made in the gym and revealed in the kitchen.” Not eating healthy is an extremely effective way to cancel out hard work and sweat in the gym, unfortunately.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to put on muscle mass, plan on packing protein meals. Protein is necessary for muscle-recovery, and research shows eating more protein “decreases hunger and subsequent food intake.”
If your goal is more focused on weight loss, prepare fiber-rich snacks like salads (with light dressing) and fruit slices. Diets higher in fiber (35-45 g per day) lead to higher weight loss than lower-fiber diets.
Meal prepping for the week takes the stress out of deciding daily what’s for dinner, allows you to fuel fitness goals by establishing healthy eating habits, and keeps you from consuming fewer empty-calorie foods.
Experiment with Exercise Options
The first activity that most likely pops into everyone’s mind when they hear “get a good workout” is going to the gym, and rightly so.
There are numerous full body and compound exercises one can do to target multiple muscle groups to optimize muscle building. Here are a couple recommendations:
- Chest Press
Great aerobic exercises to effectively burn fat and get the heart rate up include machines like:
- Stationary bikes
However, hitting the gym for a workout isn’t for everyone, and health benefits aren’t exclusive to the gym.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) using body weight through exercises like pushups, dips, upside down pushups, and mountain climbers burn calories and build muscle. Better still, they can be done within the comfortable confines of a home.
According to Dr. Mercola, “Not only does it [HIIT] beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), aka the ‘fitness hormone.’”
Hikes, bike rides, and fast paced pick-up basketball games, flag or tackle football, and soccer are other ways to stay active.
Brainstorm activities that you enjoy, and then follow through with them. Don’t feel you aren’t getting exercise if you aren’t slinging around a gym membership pass.
Enlist a Fitness Buddy
Getting off the couch and exercising is a challenge for everyone at some point or another, which is why exercising with a partner is a great solution.
Not only does working out with someone make you accountable for your performance, but it also allows you to leap past exercise obstacles in a safe manner.
Oftentimes, weightlifters at the gym hit a lifting plateau and struggle to make progress. They either become comfortable with the weight they are lifting or they aren’t able to push to the next level. This is where lifting with a buddy has its benefits.
Spotting allows lifters to throw on extra plates on the barbell they weren’t able to do otherwise. Safe spotting practices make it possible to put more your muscles under more physical stress, resulting in muscle and strength gains.
Supplement Hard Work
The road to achieving fitness resolutions of any kind takes time, and although it may seem like the journey is endless, you can optimize results along the way with supplements.
Taking supplements doesn’t produce magical results; rather, taking the right supplements enhances progress.
Supplements are often a one-stop-shop for nutritional needs. Those looking to make muscle and strength gains may consider post-workout and pre-workout supplements, which are formulated with ingredients to improve muscle recovery, enhance energy output, prolong fatigue, and boost muscle performance.
Fat-burning supplements are packed with appetite suppressants, metabolism boosters, and fat blockers to aid weight loss resolutions.
Setting New Year’s resolutions should be a fun experience, and sticking to them should be even more fun. Experiment with different exercise, diet, and supplement options and find what works best for you and your goals.
-  Mithieux G, et al. “Portal sensing of intestinal gluconeogenesis is a mechanistic link in the diminution of food intake induced by diet protein.” Cell Metab. 2005 Nov;2(5):321-9.
-  “The Benefits of Fiber: For your Heart, Weight, and Energy.” WebMD.
-  Dr. Mercola. “Interval Training.”