Sure you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions as many Americans have. Most on the list for many include things like lose weight, get fit, and eat healthier. The real task, however is will you actually stick to the commitment. Well, while we hope so, the brutal truth is only eight percent will actually achieve their goals. This obviously means we’ll need a better way to keep our resolutions.
Crushing those first 17 days of the new year is critical to build momentum and generate success. If you’re getting a late start, not to worry, you can start now. It’s not too late and never is. Follow these few fitness rules (guaranteed success), and create mini-goals in January to keep you on track and accountable. With this plan, you’ll keep getting results long after the “New Year, New You” bandwagon drives off into the distance.
So January 1 has past and people often dived in headfirst: “From now on, I’m going to exercise every day, go Paleo, and stop drinking.” But that isn’t sustainable. Instead, commit to less so you can build consistency and create new habits over the first 17 days. Then, add more.
17-Day Goal: Commit to only three to four workouts per week and aim for 90+ percent adherence.
RULE #2: EAT PROTEIN + VEGGIES W/ EVERY MEAL
Diets are a pain in the ass. You have to buy a ton of new groceries, cook a lot, and try to make bland things taste edible—by the end of January, you’re ready for a pizza buffet.
Here’s an easier way: Do what you’re already doing and just focus on portion control. Emphasize protein with every meal—to build muscle, stay full, and burn more fat—as well as vegetables to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need for good health.
17-Day Goal: Eat two palm-sized pieces of protein and two fist-sized portions of veggies with every meal. Aim for 80+ percent adherence.
RULE #3: CARDIO IS KING
This will blow your mind: Start the New Year avoiding interval training and use that slow cardio everyone hates (i.e. 130 to 150 heartbeats per minute for 30 to 60 minutes). Too much high-intensity stuff too quickly will batter your joints and exhaust you; aerobic exercise, however, will boost your heart, your brain, your recovery, your stress tolerance, and your overall conditioning without the labral tears.
17-Day Goal: Do 30 to 45 minutes of steady-state aerobic cardio at least one time per week.
RULE #4: GET STRONGER
For the first 17 days, ditch bicep curls and use exercises that actually change your body: squats, lunges, presses, rows, deadlifts, and pullups. But don’t just use the same weight; add 2.5 to five pounds to each exercise every time you workout. This will stress your muscles so they adapt and get bigger.
17-Day Goal: Add 10+ percent to all your exercises.
RULE #5: EARN YOUR CARBS
Don’t start 2017 by annihilating all carbs—you’ll burn out. You need carbs to refuel your muscles after a hard workout and to regulate a hormone called “leptin” that controls your metabolism.
Here’s a better trick: Eat carbs only when you train enough to need the energy. One hour in the gym? Go ahead. Sixteen hours on your ass? I don’t think so.
17-Day Goal: In the meals before and after your workout, eat two fist-sized portions of healthy carbs like whole grains, potatoes, quinoa, rice, and fruit.
RULE #6: GET 8 HOURS OF GOOD SLEEP NIGHTLY
Sleep is when your body recovers and regenerates. Crappy sleep, however, kills your results, even if you exercise eight times a week and measure your food with a triple-beam scale. Fitness aside, this one rule could actually change your life.
17-Day Goal: Sleep eight hours at least five nights a week. Also, stop using all electronics, which interfere with your circadian rhythm, one hour before bed.
RULE #7: DESTRESS
Daily stress from work, bills, and the 405 doesn’t just raise your blood pressure; it also floods your body with stress hormones, which slows muscle gain, limits fat loss, and squashes performance in the gym (and the bedroom).
Overcome the first 17 days by taking just a few minutes each day to meditate and beat the stress. Your body will thank you.
17-Day Goal: Spend 10 minutes every day to close your eyes and relax. Meditate, take a catnap, or do breathing exercises—they all help.
Get going. Follow through.
Source: Esquire Magazine