Millions of Americans approach New Year's considering a number of possible resolutions. These resolutions might include finding love and starting a family, starting a new career, improving personal finances, working on personal growth, obtaining education and training, or improving time management and organization.They may be trying to make home improvements, purchasing a new home, or taking more time for leisure and recreation. And of course there's the all-too popular-resolution: to adopt a new healthier lifestyle.
The area that catches my attention is the goal to develop "a new healthy lifestyle."
I have decided to help you create a list that will help you achieve your body-fat-reducing resolution, with some tips on how to get things started! To help you with reaching your goal to reduce body fat I have compiled 10 goals to kick things off.
Find A Trainer & Get An Assessment
A great place to start your journey is with a fitness and metabolic assessment. To create a set of goals you should start with a clear idea of where you are starting out. For many people, taking the steps to locate a personal trainer and having the courage to have an assessment performed is not always the easiest thing to do.
Let's face it: Nobody likes bad news. But the key is to remember this is a clearly defined starting point for a new journey. If you need help locating a personal trainer in your area, try asking friends and family for recommendations, or reach out to fellow BodySpace members in the forums here at Bodybuilding.com
Get An Exercise Plan
An essential element of developing an effective exercise program is to have a plan before you go into the gym. Most people who are new to the gym make the mistake of grabbing whatever exercise machine is not being used at the moment.
They don't usually understand what muscles are being worked, or if they are training them correctly. This frustration is one reason most people find exercise to be unpleasant.
Over the years I have seen many opinions change about exercise just by working with my clients to develop a personalized plan. A detailed exercise plan can turn a person from feeling intimidated into a regular gym rat. Before you know, it you're exercising every day!
Set An Appointment To Exercise
How many times in the last few weeks have you said you would go to the gym and start working out? Just saying that you are going to exercise "sometime this week" doesn't work. Everyday you say to yourself that "this will be the day", but after a long day at work you go home and just don't seem to find the time to lace up the shoes and head out the door.
The reality is that, without a plan, you are likely to never get started. Start by setting an appointment each day to exercise. Find the time that you know will be the easiest for you. When you make this appointment for yourself, keep it! Exercise is not something that can just get done later; you can't just reschedule an appointment with your health.
Exercise Every Day
Yes, I said every day! Every day, you need to commit to doing at least 20-40 minutes of exercise. Don't stop reading now; you can do this! I promise not to bore you with a bunch of statistics on how performing 20-40 minutes of combined cardio activity and resistance training is going to help you drop fat, but you know it will.
You know that exercise works, but you don't want to do it for some reason. Typically it is because all of us—I can also be guilty of this—make things out to be more difficult than they need to be, when we just need to get started. It is important to feel successful out of the gate!
No person wants to feel beat down from exercise. We want to feel energized and see that the exercise helps us to have more energy to do the things we want to do. I'm not going to tell you that you need to love to exercise, but you do need to exercise in a way that makes you love how you feel!
Find an environment that is friendly, easy to access, and provides you with plenty of moral support. Making a commitment to do some exercise every day, regardless of the type of exercise, will help you to create new lifelong habits. Habits that can take root in as little as 21 days.
Perform Resistance Training and Cardiorespiratory
In order to drop one pound of body fat per week, you will need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories with exercise or nutrition. Results are great when incorporating an exercise program that includes both resistance training and cardiorespiratory training. Resistance training provides the greatest long-term benefit, but cardio provides the greatest initial benefit.
The thing is, you need both! When performed in intervals, cardiorespiratory training not only helps you tap into body-fat storage, but the progressive intensity helps you continue to burn more body fat after the completion of the exercise.
When performing resistance training with the intent on working with progressively higher weight loads or by increasing the time the muscles are under resistance, you will begin to create more skeletal muscle that will assist you in utilizing a greater number of calories each day.
Share Your Goals
Make it a point to include people in your goals. Tell everyone! If you are serious about your goals then you need to tell the world. Ok, so maybe not the world, but you should definitely tell your friends and family, and if you have a supportive work environment tell your co-workers.
When you share your goals you may find that others will open up to you about their desire to exercise and eat better, and they may join you by setting their own exercise and nutrition goals. Be warned that you are also likely to have some people who will be expecting you to fail. The whole experience may be a little scary for you, but it may just be enough to keep you from quitting.
Reduce Portion Sizes
Eating smaller portions can help you cut your body fat down by as much as 4 percent in only a month. Not all my clients train the same way or follow the same nutrition program (I'm big on individualization), but many of my clients who eat frequent smaller meals, about 6-8 with pre- and post-workout shakes, tend to drop as much as 4 percent body fat in the first month.
While there is very little scientific research on why and how this works, many top nutritionist and trainers report similar results with their clients.
Cut Trans Fats
One of your body-fat-reducing resolutions may be to reduce the amount of trans fat in your daily diet. Trans fatty acids are commonly found in frozen foods, meat and dairy. To help make your goal a bit easier, beginning January 1, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring trans fat amounts to be listed on virtually all food labels. And the FDA is currently evaluating whether or not to completely ban partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats.
Learn to read the label on manufactured foods, but make a majority of the food you eat from naturally occuring food sources. For example, margarine, once thought to be healthier than butter, is actually full of trans fatty acids. By replacing margarine with healthier fats, such as canola or soy oil, you will significantly lower the amount of tainted and otherwise toxic fats you ingest.
Find A Workout Partner
Having someone to exercise with is a great way to increase motivation. Adding the whole social pressure cooker to your routine is also a great way to increase accountability. You may find it difficult to skip out on someone who is waiting for you; a good workout partner should feel the same way.
You have the option of making a friend at the gym or inviting a friend to work out, but either way, may take some time. In the beginning, your workout partner may just need to be someone who will show up when you do, but over time it becomes more important that you share the same goals.
Always Reward Yourself
Don't wait to reward yourself when you reach your long-term goals. Every goal has a variety of checkpoints. Any time you pass or reach one of these checkpoints you should celebrate your success. For some added motivation, plan your rewards ahead of time with specific rewards like a new pair of running shoes, a sports massage, an MP3 player, or a vacation.