How To Get In The Shape Of Your Life In 2019
First things first, happy New Year everyone! We are all starting 2019 with renewed energy and by now most of us have probably written down our New Year’s resolutions. In that list, among many other things, many people have highlighted a very particular one: to get in shape!
Maybe in your list, it is written down as “to drop a few pounds” “to join the gym” “to get a six-pack”, “to get rid of the bingo wings” or just “to be able to see my feet.” It makes no difference. If you have some sort of fitness goal for this year, this article is going to provide you with the 5 steps you can’t miss if you really want to be successful.
We all know this is not the first time we include “getting in shape” in our list of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, many people have it in their list every single year — but never truly carry it through. So before we learn how to be successful, let's have a look at the reasons why most people usually 'throw in the towel' before springtime. At the end of the day, those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
5 MAIN REASONS WHY YOU FAILED BEFORE:
1. Not having a plan.
Repeating what you did last year will lead you to the exact same situation you are in now. You can’t expect a different outcome from the same approach. Joining the gym, becoming more active or eating healthily are not plans, they are just intentions.
Most people don’t set up realistic goals. And if they do they don’t know how to design the step by step journey to get them to where it is they wish to be. This usually leads to two different outcomes: becoming an expert in the art of finding excuses to not do what you need to be doing in order to get in shape. Or, becoming an expert in the art of focusing on what everybody else is doing. Both of them unwanted if you are willing to achieve your very own goals.
2. Eating healthy = under-eating?
We all start the New Year with the best intentions and that is great. We want to start eating healthily. But what we actually do is to cut all the naughty things at once and stick to mostly healthy stuff. This is a big mistake.
First of all, sweets, chocolates, crisps, burgers pizzas and alcohol have a lot of calories. If you cut them all out that means you will be consuming much less energy than you are used to. Healthy food is great but is not as calorie dense as junk food/process food/alcohol. If the difference between the calories you eat now and the calories you used to eat are too much you will lose a great amount of fat quickly. But you will also stop getting good results fast and you will get stuck.
If the difference between the calories you eat now and the calories you used to eat are too much you will lose a great amount of fat quickly. Especially if exercising is something you aren't used too. In this case, the difference between energies spent and energy consumed — calories in vs calories out — will be even greater so the risk of stalling and binging gets even higher.
From a psychological standpoint that big change is not good either. You are not used to the new foods you are eating, and you miss the old bad habits too. As soon as you see your results slow down you will not see the point in so much sacrifice and you will end up binging on whatever you have deprived yourself of. Hence the importance of having a plan and implementing changes slowly and gradually.
3. Overtraining is real.
Nowadays, most gyms offer free classes with your memberships and there are thousands of apps that offer your workouts and encourage you to train every day. That is absolutely brilliant. Classes not only help you get active and improve your fitness, but they also have that community building component that helps you find support along your journey and enjoy it more.
Be aware that many of the classes and many of the apps available for your smartphone offer high-intensity workouts. This is a great training system designed to burn calories fast. However, this type of workout should never be longer than half an hour and very rarely performed more than once or twice a week.
I have seen many gym goers stick to this type of training and get very good results at first but after a while, when the progress slows down they try to increase the frequency of the workouts. This usually leads to poor results, fatigue, injuries and even mood swings. Not one of them things will get you in the shape of your life.
Something very similar happens if you overdo any type of training that you practice, whether it is high intensity or not. If you don’t allow your body to rest properly and you also combine this with a decreased food intake, let me tell you this — you will end up hating health and fitness altogether.
4. Going “solo”.
Eating well, running, going to the gym, working out at home… Are all things that guide you in the right direction. But they also require will power. If you manage to find a 'partner in crime' you are way more likely to do well. You will not only try harder, but you will also enjoy your experience more.
This is where many people get it wrong. Many people feel like they are the only ones around who are trying to look after themselves and that they will feel isolated for doing it. Yes, this happens. I have seen people being criticized because they don’t want to go for a pint on a weekday any more or because they bring their own food prepared from home to the office.
If you let this influence your actions you won’t be vocal about your intentions of improving yourself and you will try to do everything on your own. This will make the fear of failure stronger and because you are alone, you will be easy prey for it. Definitely not the best set up if you really want to make a difference in the New Year.
5. Loss of motivation.
This fifth reason is nothing but the natural result of the other four we just talked about and at the same time, is the one that will definitely make you give up on all your good intentions. At the end of the day, we always end up putting things into perspective and deciding accordingly.
If doing what you need to do to achieve your goal is not as rewarding as making up excuses guess what, you will stick to the excuses. If you find more rewarding to keep eating and drinking whatever you want whenever you want rather than doing what you think it is the right thing, you will stick to eating crap and drinking alcohol. And the same goes for training or anything else that you attempt to achieve in this New Year. If you want to get good, solid and long-lasting results you need to find a way to stay motivated.
5 STEPS TO SUCCEED IN 2019:
1. Design a plan.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? If not having a plan is the main reason why people will fail to achieve their fitness goals in 2019, then let’s make “designing a plan” our first step towards being in the best shape ever.
Although it might sound obvious, the first thing I would advise is to find out exactly what you would like to achieve and write it down. Losing weight, being stronger, improving mobility, learning a skill… There are as many goals as people in the world, and they all require different approaches. Make sure you know what is your objective.
After you have done it, the next step is to determine a time frame. Usually including short, medium and long-term goals is a good idea. Monitoring your progress properly is as important as knowing where you are going. This is necessary to re-evaluate your plan and adjust accordingly. Remember if it starts becoming obsessive — stop it. And give yourself a break. Health — both physical and mental — should always come first.
2. Prioritize health.
A healthy person can always get better, more solid and longer lasting results. Why is that? Because when you are healthier your body works more efficiently, burns energy faster, is stronger, allows you to do more things and most importantly, feels great so you will be looking forward to maintaining it.
Health depends essentially on four main factors: eating well and staying hydrated, being active and moving properly, sleeping and recovering correctly and last but not the least having a healthy social life and a good relationship with your environment. All these elements are constantly interacting with each other so keeping all of them in balance is the real secret to achieve the results you always desired.
3. Get out of your comfort zone.
Add variety to your routine. Do stuff you are not good at. Learn new skills. Set up goals that are both achievable and not easy to achieve and stick to them.
As important it is having fun and enjoying the process, makes sure you embrace the moments of discomfort. As they are the ones that will lead you to progress towards your objectives. They are the ones that will teach you something.
4. Prepare your environment.
Becoming fit and healthy means changing your life to some degree and whether you like it or not, you are going to need help with it. Yes, you might be able to do it alone, but it just works better if you don’t. Communicate with the people that are closer to you first. Get them on board. Let them know about your plans. If you make them part of it, they will be a supporting force in your journey, and they could also benefit from your positive initiative.
Preparing your environment means arranging things around you so you can have more chances of success. Get a coach or educate yourself in what you want to do. There are plenty of good professionals and plenty of good sources of information out there. Don’t be afraid of investing time and money into yourself. We all deserve to learn, feel good with ourselves and improve our lives.
It is also crucial to surround yourself with people whose motivations are similar to yours and have a positive attitude towards them. This is probably one of the most important things you can do in order to get in the shape you want.
5. Be passionate.
This is where you realize how important it is to do something that you really enjoy doing. It might be hard at times; it might make you suffer, but the reward must always be greater than the hard times, otherwise, you won’t stick to what you are doing. Sooner or later, you will lose your motivation, and you will quit. Relying on willpower alone is setting you up for failure. You need to have some sort of passion or love about what you do that motivates you to keep going.
So many people tell me they don’t like going to the gym, but they still join every January to then quit by the end of March. You don’t need to do that. Do something that you actually like doing. Take some dancing lessons, practice martial arts, go for a swim… But whatever you choose, gives it a good go. Give it an honest chance. In fact, give yourself a fair chance to become the best you can be. At the end of the day, you need to remember that you are doing this for yourself, and it’s your life what you are trying to change. You are worth the effort.
If you think about it, the secret to success relies upon just one thing. The realization that being in the shape of your life doesn’t depend so much on the way you actually look, as it does on the way you feel in your own skin.
By Marco Garcia (TRIBE HSC)