A new year is upon us, and with it comes the annual bevy of New Years' Resolutions. You know the drill. Everyone will swear they'll drop 20 pounds of fat or add 20 pounds of muscle to their frame. The gym will be packed for about 2 weeks. Then everything will return to normal for most people. There will be a select few who will actually follow through on their New Years Resolutions, and they will grow bigger and stronger in the coming year. They won't achieve this feat by doing what they've always done. Rather, they'll find new and creative ways to bump their training, supplementation & recovery efforts to a new level in the coming year. Check out these tips for making 2017 your fittest year yet!
Stop skipping workouts
You don't miss big dates. You don't miss final exams. You surely don't miss birthday parties or weddings. Yet you did manage to miss quite a few workouts in the past year, didn't you? Don't let this be the case in 2017. Schedule your training days with the same emphasis and level of importance as you assign your other big events. Assuming you train 4 times a week, with 2 weeks of vacation… that means you only have about 200 workouts to complete in the coming year. You spend way more than 200 hours checking Facebook or watching TV. Surely you can make the time to stop skipping workouts in the coming year!
Get fresh gear
Just as a new outfit can make you feel like a new man (or woman!) at a party or other event, some new training apparel, cross trainer shoes, or weight training belt can help boost your workouts to new levels. You don't have to spend a fortune on them. Amazon and Ebay even have some "defect" sections where you can find clothing and shoes at 1/3 the price because the coloring is often off a bit. Feel the ground differently the next time you squat in some brand new shoes, and the new levels of support may have you lifting more than ever!
Clarify your goals
Most people in the gym have zero idea what their goals are, specifically. They train to improve. And 'improve' can be a very vague term. Do you want to add 15 pounds of muscle mass to your frame this year? Is your goal to drop 12 pounds of fat this year? Do you plan on adding 35 pounds to your current 1RM bench press maximum this year? Make specific plans, and work to achieve 1/12 of these goals each month. Adding 35 pounds to your bench press in a year may feel like a lot… but adding 3 pounds a MONTH to your bench press seems simple enough, doesn't it? Small, clear goals can add up to some monster achievements in a very short period of time!
As avid lifters, we are very keen on doing what it takes to achieve success. As a result, we have to be self-critical. This often results in us being a little too hard on ourselves when things go wrong. Failure is a part of life. You are going to miss workout. You are going to fail on big lifts. There will be times when you botch your meals and fall off your diet. Give yourself that heart-to-heart talk, and make a plan to change your methods so the mistake won't be mad again. Then, let it go. Don't beat yourself up for a week over the failure, as the stress will lead to hormone cortisol release, which will in turn eat up your muscle. Forgive, learn, then forget.
Change your lifestyle incrementally
In January, drop the sugar from your daily coffee. In February, halt the late night Netflix binges. In March, end your practice of drinking more than 1 glass of alcohol on any given night. Each month, you can change ONE habit which has been holding back your maximum gains. By the end of the year, the cumulative effect of ending these 12 bad habits will be a significant improvement in the appearance and performance of your body.
Don't let appearance dominate
When you're dropping body fat, your muscles may appear a bit flat and deflated. When you're bulking and adding new muscle, there will be weeks when your abs don't show as sharply as you'd like. Take these temporary setbacks with a grain of salt, as they're just parts of the processes of change that your body will face as you attempt to remake yourself.
Post those goals loudly
Public pressure can be one of the greatest deterrents to failure, as well as one of the best motivators for success. Post your goals proudly for all on your social media feeds to see. Sure, you may receive some flak from your buddies in the form of ribbing, but don't let that bother you. As the months pass and a new version of you emerges in the progress pics each month, your momentum and confidence will begin to snowball. By the time 2018 arrives, you'll know you have achieved your goals for the year, and so will everyone else!