It's 2018 and your routine—and physique—needs a bump! Here are 12 ways to guarantee that what you see in the mirror next year will be a whole different beast than what you see today!
1. Write Down Specific Goals for the Year
Nobody progresses in their workouts without goal setting, but having a vague goal like "I want to look jacked" leads to zero results. The key to goal setting is to be specific.
Do you want to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle mass? Add an inch to your arms? Take four inches off your waist? Now those are goals!
Figure out your specific physique goals and write them down, along with a quarterly plan to achieve those goals.
Keep all of that somewhere you can see everyday, like on the fridge or taped to your face, and it will excite and inspire you. Most importantly, it will keep you on track for the next 12 months!
2. Join A Hardcore Gym
A facility with subpar equipment, populated largely by members who put in lackluster effort, is not going to be a facility that offers the support or energy you need to achieve your goals.
Maybe your current gym is super cheap and it's a 2-minute drive from home or work—I get that—but those conveniences hardly outweigh the wasted time you'll spend at a lame facility.
Seek out out a gym where the members are serious, the atmosphere is energetic and intense, and the equipment has been carefully selected by an owner who appreciates hard training.
You'll see an abundance of very well-built beasts, both male and female, at gyms like this, and for good reason: Success breeds success!
3. Do the Exercises You Hate
The only legitimate reason to totally avoid any exercise is that it's dangerous for you, meaning that you've either been injured performing it in the past, or that it's likely to aggravate a previous or existing injury.
But in most cases, you have no excuse for avoiding certain exercises. And chances are, the ones you're avoiding are the ones you need the most. It makes sense, since you've been avoiding them for years!
Commit to incorporating these exercises into your routine. Just suck it up and do them, and you're likely to see big gains, surprising the hatred right out of you!
4. Do One New Exercise Every Week
When it comes to weight training, our muscles grow accustomed to whatever we throw their way. One way to avoid stagnation is to do at least one new exercise each week.
Pick something you've never done, or haven't done in years, to take the place of one of your usual movements for a body part that you work all the time.
For instance, maybe instead of lunges, you should try some goblet squats. Get creative, and you might decide to keep that new exercise in the rotation for a while.
5. Get A Serious Training Partner
Get a training partner for accountability and comraderie!
But don't just get any training partner. Make sure you get one who's as serious about hitting their goals as you are!
Someone who is chronically tardy, stands you up for workouts, or lacks motivation will be worse for you than training on your own.
A great training partner is worth millions, or at least thousands—lots of thousands.
6. Hire A Good Coach
One surefire way to make progress this year is to hire a really good coach to assess your needs and goals, and to draw up a training and nutrition program.
This might seem extravagant, but isn't it equally extravagant to spend good money and time at the gym if you're not making the most of it?
A good coach with an established reputation for helping clients achieve results is well worth the cash.
7. Bring Up A Body Part
Just like having exercises you hate, we all have body parts we hate to work out. Usually the two are related!
Often, our lagging body parts are only lagging because we've primarily given up on training them.
Decide which muscle group you wish was better, and make it your goal to hit that group constantly in 2018. You'll be surprised at what can be done when you force the issue.
8. Flip Your Diet
Or at least play with it.
Maybe you've been reducing carbs and fats but haven't seen great results. Why not bump one of those back up and see what happens?
Maybe you're not getting enough healthy fats, a vital part of the anabolic process. You can get heathy fats from raw nuts, salmon, lean red meat, olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado. Maybe eat more of those.
Or, it might be that your low-carb kick is kicking your butt. Add some energy back into your diet in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, oats, or cream of wheat.
You never know what you might be missing out on, and it's probably a substantial amount of muscle mass!
9. Try New Supplements
Some people will try every new type of supplement that hits the market. Others shun anything that wasn't around before Hotmail.
While it's true that not every innovation in supplements will deliver results, you'll never know what works for you if you don't experiment.
Make 2018 the year you finally break down and think wilder than whey.
If you want to guarantee your physique will transform in 2018, enter a contest scheduled for late in the year.
Nothing will fill you with drive and purpose more than knowing you'll be on display under bright lights, being compared and judged against others who've also been training all year!
If that's not your thing, create a weight loss, weight gain, or shred challenge within your peer group. It'll have the same effect!
11. Keep A Workout Journal
It's a proven fact that writing things down imprints them into your memory and gives them greater significance. Keeping a workout journal gives you an easy way to reference what you've been doing, and brands that information into your soul.
Even if strength increases aren't your goal, you should be making slow but steady progress in strength as you grow. When you cross-reference that with weight, measurements, and body fat stats, you're able to extrapolate what's working and what isn't.
Study your journal, then keep the elements that work and discard the rest!
12. Take Photos
Since most of us have the uncanny ability to look in the mirror and see what we want to see rather than what's really there, I encourage you to take one front and one rear photo of yourself every two weeks— at the same time of day, in the same location, and with the same lighting.
Comparing the photos in sequence will allow you to see the truth about your physique and to hold yourself accountable for your progress, or lack thereof.