Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
Another New Year is here, which means that right now, millions of people are chasing after new diet and fitness goals. I hate to be a buzz-kill, but did you know that 88% of New Years Resolutions end in failure? How can such a positive idea backfire so regularly?
The problem isn't lack of effort or desire. It's that most people's New Year's resolutions are unrealistic to begin with. If you avoid these common 5 mistakes, your chances of success dramatically increase.
Doing Cardio to Tone Up
We all know the guys and girls at the gym who never seem to leave the treadmill. They spend their entire session trying to sweat off the pounds through running. Yet, despite their best intentions, they never seem to get the results they’re looking for. Their body doesn’t change or adapt and they don’t end up getting that shaped and toned look they desire, despite their best efforts.
The problem? Cardio isn’t very effective at helping you ‘tone up.’
That shape and toned look you desire comes from adding muscle to your body. Muscle is the thing that gives your body shape in the absence of bodyfat. So how do you add muscle? By strength training! And how do you get rid of bodyfat? By being in a caloric deficit. Adding some cardio can help here also but there’s no need to over-do it.
Focus more on strength training and I promise you, the ‘shape and tone’ will follow.
Going Cold Turkey
Swearing off sweets for life may sound like a good idea, but your restrictive approach may be setting you up for failure. It’s common for people totally eliminate a certain food, food group or guilty pleasure. This usually yields some short-term success.
The problem? Usually at around the week 3 mark, your will power (which is a muscle and like when you exercise, the more it’s used the more fatigued it becomes) gets pushed to its limit and runs out. Once your will power runs out, this usually leads to a binge and the person giving up.
Instead of cutting out your favourite indulgences, why not just focus on adding and not subtracting? Add some protein to your breakfast. Add some vegetables to your meals. You can and should still give yourself permission to have an occasional treat. Will your results be faster? No. Will it be more enjoyable? Yes. Will it improve adherence (which is the #1 most important factor for any diet)? Yes.
To paraphrase Jordan Syatt - going 100% cold turkey isn’t progress. It’s prison. You can have your cake and eat it too without ruining progress.
Doing it On Your Own
When it comes to getting in shape, your chances of success are significantly increased when you have a support system. This might mean telling your family, your friends, posting on social media to share with the world your goals or having next level accountability by hiring a coach.
Putting your intentions out there helps keep you motivated when you go through a rough patch (note the way I say ‘when’ and not ‘if’ because everyone runs into challenges along the way). Just be sure the people you share your goals with encourage you to move forward rather than tell you to quit what you’re doing and continue on with your old habits.
Don’t underestimate the power of your social environment and the positive/negative impact people can have on your actions.
Taking On too Much TOo Soon
It takes time to adapt to lifestyle changes. Jon Goodman, founder of the Personal Trainer Development Company described those who try to accomplish all of their goals in January as ‘New Year Revolutionists.’ So start slow, expect progress to be gradual, and lead with your strengths.
Set yourself goals without rigid time limits. Instead of saying ‘I want to get down to a size 8 in 12 weeks,’ why not just say ‘I want to get to a size 8 and stay there?’ If you set out to accomplish too much too soon it can lead to injury or result in you rebounding because your body isn’t accustomed to being so deprived and starved from a lack of food.
Your going to be living in that body of yours for the rest of your life. Change takes time so be patient and persistent and it will pay off in the long run. I love starting out with small, simple habits that anyone can follow such as:
It might seem easy but if you do this consistently, it will have a compounding effect on other areas of your life and set you up for success.
Stopping at the Finish Line
Congratulations! You've you’ve dropped 10 pounds or you’ve finally fit into the dress that had been hidden in the back of your closet for so long. You're now free to go back to your old habits, right? Wrong.
A common mistake for a lot of people is to go back to their old habits once they’ve reached their initial goal. You think you’ve ‘made it’ and slowly fall back into your old habits. There’s an old saying: ‘Success is not in reaching the top, it’s staying there.’ How often do we hear of people to lose a significant amount of weight only to fall off the wagon and rebound?
If you want to stay in shape for the rest of your life, once you reach your goal, have a celebratory moment for sure but then set a new goal or performance standard you want to hit which will help keep you there.
It breaks my heart to see people who’ve encountered all the joy and satisfaction of reaching their target weight only to encounter the disheartening misery of putting it all back on within a year.
‘Behind mountains are more mountains’ and there truly is no finish line. Once you have this perspective, you realise that this is a never-ending, crazy life-long journey full of ups and downs but once you stay on the path, nothing will stop you.
The New Year is in full swing. Unfortunately, resolutions that carry us through the winter months start to fade out in the spring and are all but forgotten once the summertime sunshine reaches us. If you avoid the below mistakes, you can put yourself into the few who accomplish and out of the many who fail their resolutions.
1. Doing cardio to tone up
2. Going cold turkey
3. Doing it on your own
4. Taking on too much too soon
5. Stopping at the finish line
Need some help getting started?
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Adrian McDonnell -
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