It’s that time again, the start of a new year. For many of you, it will be considered a clean slate and many of you will have something that you want to achieve.

I’ve already seen that some people are looking to make 2018 the year of health and fitness. The same resolution they’ve given themselves every single year. Let’s make this year different.

Remember that no matter what your New Years resolution is, if you put your mind to it you can do it (unless it’s absurd of course). You might need some help along the way, you might screw up every now and then, but you can do it if you put your back into it.

Ice Cube anyone?

So, if your resolution for this year is to lose weight, tone up, get fitter and get healthy, then no doubt you are going to come up against some obstacles, some will big enough to knock you off the track for a day or even longer.

Expect it! Don’t give up, learn from your setbacks and failures and create a solution. I mean even Hercules fucked up.

Can you remember when Hercules kept making the same mistake of slashing off the Hydras head for two more to take its place? Yeah, that! Eventually, after making the same mistake umpteen times and putting himself in quite the vicarious position, he smashed down a whole lot of rocks to squish the beat and was VICTORIOUS! That could be you except for the fancy armour, the sword and beating up mythical beasts.

Anyway, here are some of my top tips to make 2018 your most successful year yet.

1. You need a STRONG WHY!

You need a powerful reason why your goal is your goal. Losing weight is all well and good but why do you want that? What difference will it make to your life? More confidence? Perhaps better health and fitness to keep up with your children and grandkids? Hell, it could even be to find a partner.

Without a strong reason for why you are trying to achieve something, you are less likely to do it. Getting up at 5am for a gym session before work just to lose weight or to get abs doesn’t have enough weight behind it. Getting up at 5am to exercise to make sure you live longer for your children or grandchildren is a much more powerful incentive to do the work.

While the “What” is important, I can virtually guarantee the “Why” is even more powerful – and it’s what will keep pushing you when the going gets tough, and the shiny newness of the new year rubs off.

So what’s your why?

2. Set REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

This stuff takes time. A lot more time than social media makes out with their 6-week and 12-week transformations. I know of a guy who lost 7 stone to gain 8 back, sure it wasn’t done in just 6 or 12 weeks but lasting change requires a lifestyle shift and that takes time to build and cultivate.

Sure, you might be able to lose a stone in a month but it’s unlikely to be the case for each and every month. There is nothing more demotivating than setting unrealistic expectations of yourself and the outcomes and as a result not hitting them.

If anything, it’s more likely to stop you in your tracks.

Some weeks you will lose weight, others you won’t and some other weeks you might gain weight.

So be realistic, depending on how overweight you are, a typical amount of weight loss you can expect to lose each week is around 0-3lbs. This is realistic! Could you lose more? Yeah but life would absolutely suck and again are you willing to give up everything? Because you don’t have to.

3. Don’t just use the scale to ASSESS PROGRESS

Don’t just use the scale to measure success with weight loss, fat loss and toning up. The scale fluctuates for a variety of different reasons beyond just how much fat you are carrying.

So use a tape measure, your waist circumference is a great tool to assess fat loss and so are progress pictures.

Not only that but are you lifting heavier or doing more reps? or running further or faster? If this is the case after several months then you can certainly expect that you will be looking a lot different.

As they say, if you aren’t assessing then you are just guessing. Monitor your progress, if all is heading in the right direction then keep going. If things aren’t improving after 2-3 weeks, you need to make changes.

Remember, expect your weight and progress to fluctuate but keep going!

4. Choose the right ENVIRONMENT

The right environment is everything. Turning up to the right environment gives you the motivation to want to exercise. Some people can’t train at home because it’s a place of comfort and it’s easy to get distracted. Going to the right gym might be the perfect tool to get you started.

Doing so also puts you around like-minded people chasing the same goal or similar goals, which leads us nicely on to….

5. Get HELP, SUPPORT & GUIDANCE

Perhaps getting a personal trainer might be ideal. Getting fit, healthy and losing weight is hard and hiring a personal trainer can help provide you with a path of the least resistance. Why? Because their knowledge, expertise and practical know-how can take you to your goals in the most efficient manner possible without the fluff the magazines tell you.

Not only that but you will be coached to train safely and effectively whilst developing a greater understanding and knowledge of both exercise and nutrition that could last you a lifetime, which is absolutely priceless.

Having that investment in your health and fitness provides you with a sense of accountability. For this reason, you are more than likely to show up and put the work in. Not only that but you will naturally work harder with a trainer and that’s just science. This gets you fantastic results.

Communicate with your coach to ask questions and to keep accountable.

6. STOP LOOKING FOR THE MAGIC PILL, EAT LIKE AN ADULT AND MOVE DAILY

There is no magic pill for hard work, patience and consistency. If there were, I’d be selling it. It would be much easier for me than getting up at 5am and coaching women and men until 8:30pm most evenings that’s for sure!

Ditch the fad and if something sounds too good to be true, it always is.

As for diet, you can’t go far wrong with eating protein, vegetables and fruit. You know things like; Chicken, Pork, Beef, Tuna, Salmon, Eggs (3-4), Greek Yogurt, Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans, Potatoes, Broccoli, Peas, Spinach, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Raspberries and so on so forth.

And stop eating like an unsupervised 5-year-old. A chocolate bar or a packet of crisps is absolutely fine to eat (they aren’t at all bad) but if you eat lots of things like this on a regular basis (just like any food), it’s not going to be ideal to your goals.

I mean have you ever watched Secret Life of 5-Year-Olds, it’s hilarious how they go to town with the ice cream machine.

So start eating like an actual adult with 3-4 protein and vegetable/fruit packed meals each day. It will help keep you fuller for longer, healthy and help towards getting you leaner and if you have a chocolate bar or a slice of cake? No biggie.

Look to move daily, whether that be; a 30-minute walk, a run, a weight session, yoga, swimming or even a mobility circuit. It doesn’t matter!

Being active is absolutely crucial to help you with; expending more calories to assist you with weight loss, getting fitter, moving better and improving your health and well-being. Just be consistent, you don’t need to be in the gym every day to make incredible progress.

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