It's the New Year and every individual on the planet is making a New Year's resolution. You will hear the usual plans floating around the office; I am going to drop a dress size, I'm going to quit smoking, I am going to get back in shape (it's usually the men that say this one, and the chances are they were never really in shape to begin with).
But hey, who am I to judge? I am here to help out and to provide good, solid information to help you on your quest to become a fitter, healthier individual.
If you are reading this article then you have already made up your mind as to what your New Year's resolution is and you are here on Bodybuilding.com to find the right tools to aid you in making your New Year's resolution a reality.
Make A Goal
Goal setting is an important psychological tool when it comes to making your resolution a reality. Without goals, what is there to strive for? Identify your goal; it can be to lose weight, gain some muscle, run a 5k or even a marathon. It may even be to bench press more this year than you have ever done in your life before.
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The important factor to consider is that you need to make your goals attainable. If your goals are too far out of reach then this may lead to discouragement and in turn, result in the failure of achieving your end goal.
So for example, if your long-term goal is to lose 30lbs in 12 weeks then you should have smaller goals along the way for instance at the 4 week mark (lose 10 pounds) and the 8 week mark (lose 20 pounds).
These smaller more attainable goals will serve as a motivating tool and keep you on track to achieving your ultimate goal of losing 30 pounds, or whatever your individual goals may be. During this goal setting stage, it is important to give yourself a time frame, but also remember to keep this timeframe realistic (the above mentioned time frames are for example purposes only).
Although it is possible to lose or gain a large quantity of weight in a relatively short period of time, it is not recommended! It takes time to burn fat and any rapid weight loss will be water and even some precious muscle. Also, when attempting to gain, building muscle is no easy task. This also takes time and when one gains rapidly, there is most likely a lot of water and fat, which nobody wants!
Design Your Programs
You have your goals set, you have your time frame set, and you know where you want to be in your progress at certain periods in the calendar to ensure that you are on track. All that's left to be done is to design a training program and a diet plan so that you can set forth on achieving your goals.
It has become more and more common in this economy for individuals to train at home. In order to do this, getting a training plan will be difficult if you are new to fitness, but far from impossible. There are numerous books and DVD's catering specifically to those that want to train in the comfort of their own home, there are several great sources out there.
Choose something that is going to be challenging but not impossible, be honest with yourself when it comes to your level of fitness. If the program you choose is too difficult, it will become discouraging and ultimately lead to failure.
At Bodybuilding.com, the BodySpace community serves as a great resource for finding nutrition tips from people that have 'been there and done that' when the going gets tough, there is always somebody online to encourage you and give free advice.
On the other hand there are those that want to join a gym and need the support of peers and guidance from a trainer. If this is the case you will want to choose a gym that will cater to your schedule.
You are the client and you are the one that should be accommodated. Hours of business in most gyms are pretty uniform, but visit the gym, look at the facilities and weigh up the pros and cons of joining one gym over another.
Of course once you have decided on a gym then you need to make a decision regarding the type of guidance you need to keep you on the right track. Choosing a personal trainer is one of the most important decisions you will make in your quest for optimal fitness.
Getting the right guidance can be the difference between achieving your goals and falling short, and a good trainer is the right place to start.
Find out if your trainer is certified with a recognized organization or if they have a university degree. Do they look like they practice what they preach, in other words, are they in shape? I wouldn't buy a car from an individual that didn't drive, would you?
Much like exploring your options before committing to a gym, I would advise the same when choosing a trainer, interview several before making a financial investment in your health.
Once you are comfortable in your decision about where you are going to train and who you are going to have guide you, you will have both managed to design a training plan that should be focused on achieving the goals that you have laid out for yourself.
As you execute your plan ensure that you track and record all of your progress. Taking measurements of body weight, body fat, and body limb circumferences are all great ways to ensure you stay on track and you are on the right road to achieving your goals.
This is also a time when individuals get discouraged, as they can pay more attention to the scale than to either of the other two methods of body composition measurement.
Remember, as you begin working out you are sure to gain some muscle the first few weeks of training; sometimes people do not see a change in weight because of this muscle gain and are discouraged.
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However, when you take note of your body fat this will have most likely decreased along with the body measurements. This should illustrate just how much you are actually progressing towards achieving your goal.
All progress should be recorded in a journal so that when the going gets tough, you can look back and see the progress that you have made and should serve to further fuel and motivate you on your quest for a fit and healthy life.
Success is ultimately in your hands, and only you can motivate yourself to achieve and push yourself beyond that which is normal for you. These guides will help keep you on the road to success.
So no more waiting around, no more excuses, make a plan, set it in action and see it through. Nothing is impossible!