How’s your fitness resolution going so far? Quit already, didn’t you? Well join the club. Not the fitness club of course, the quitters one. It’s a club with the most members world wide, as it’s a fact that only eight percent of Americans achieve their new year’s fitness resolution goals – the rest quit by January 17th. There’s got to be a better way to keep the momentum going. Well good news, now there is… it’s called the simple 7. 7 easy to follow fitness rules that guarantee success by creating mini-goals, rather than overly ambitious ones, that’ll keep you on track and accountable. With the simple 7, you’ll keep gaining results well past the disappearance of the “New Year, New You” bandwagon.
#1 Consistency Beats Everything
The problem with most resolutions is that once January 1st hits, everyone just dives in headfirst with a: “From now on, I’m going to exercise every day, go Paleo, and stop drinking.” They quickly find out that that’s not sustainable as it’s too ambitious. You’re better off committing to less so you can build consistency, and slowly create new habits over time. Only after you’ve succeeded with the initial goals can you add more. For example: Commit to only three to four workouts per week – and enjoy that drink at the end of the week.
#2 Protein and Veg at Every Meal
Diets truly are a pain. Not only do you have to learn how to shop differently and cook a lot more, but you have to get used to food that tastes barely edible. That’s why by mid-Jan, people leave the salad bar for the pizza buffet. But there’s an easier way: Keep eating the way you’re eating, and just focus on portion control instead. Just make sure that with each meal, there’s protein for building muscle, and vegetables for your nutrients and fiber. It’s fine if that protein comes from pepperoni (although we’d hope it doesn’t), or the veg comes from some Bokchoi from the Asian take-out on the corner (which we really hope it won’t).
#3 Do Cardio
This might blow your mind, but forget about that interval training that uses that slow cardio everyone hates (i.e. 120 to 160 heartbeats per minute for 20 to 50 minutes). Too much high-intensity too quickly will just beat up your joints and burn you out. Aerobic exercises, however, will boost your brain, heart, stress tolerance, and your overall conditioning without the labral tears.
#4 Get Stronger
To start, forget the bicep curls and use exercises that transform your body instead: push-ups, lunges, squats, rows, deadlifts, and definitely pull-ups. Just make sure to not just use the same weight all the time. Add 2 to 5 pounds each time so that your muscles will adapt and grow.
#5 Earn Your Carbs
Whoever says you need to cut carbs, needs to cut that out. Without carbs, you won’t be able to refuel your muscles and after a hard workout, you’ll burn out. Carbs help by regulating a hormone in your body called “leptin”, which controls your metabolism. So instead of cutting out carbs, here’s what you do instead: Only eat carbs when you train and need the energy.
#6 Eight Hour Sleeps Each Night
When it comes to working out, here’s how it all breaks down in terms of importance: Diet – 75%, The Workout – 15%, Sleep – 10%. That’s right, sleep is basically just as important as the working out you’re doing. So when every article in the world tells you you need eight hours of sleep a night, you need to listen. It’s the only way your muscles will recover, repair, and grow. Oh, and we recommend you stop using all electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed, as they interfere with your circadian rhythm.
Stress kills, literally. All sorts of diseases are a result of too much stress. And when it comes to your workout, stress is just as deadly as it kills your gains by slowing muscle growth and limiting fat loss. So it’s paramount you find something that destress you. While meditation is all the rage, even better is if you can find a physical activity you like (like playing basketball) to destress, as you end up killing two birds with one stone.