These days, we all live in a world of the short-term. Anything that takes time out of our jampacked schedules is usually thrown to the bottom of our priorities, even if it means sacrificing what is better for us in the long run. Every advertisement now promises to save you time while achieving the same results, especially in the fitness world. Ten minute workouts, seven day diets, and quick detoxes all guarantee that you’ll lose the weight that’s been plaguing you for the past decade. Does Paleo, Keto, clean eating, fasting, or Atkins ring a bell? There’s no mention of the long-term results, or lack thereof – only what will happen tomorrow.
So as the excitement of your “New Year - New Me” goals wears off and you begin to think “What did I get myself into?”, it’s time to take a step back and focus on what you are going to realistically accomplish. The worst thing you can do is to throw those new goals to the side and forget about them, because if you made them in the first place, there must be some part of you that actually really wants to accomplish them. Instead, you should set a timeline for when you want to achieve these goals.
The problem with quick fix fad diets and workout programs is the lack of sustainability. Crash diets have never worked (really - never), and when you follow one your body goes through mental stress, exhaustion, and decreased function. The end result is almost always losing 5-10 lbs after weeks of watching everything you put into your mouth, only to gain it all back as soon as you give in.
It can be difficult to imagine how you’ll look or feel 2-4 months from now if you start working out and making healthy choices. This vision is vital to attaining any success with your fitness goals. Committing to a plan that you can sustain for not just a year, but the next five or ten, will put you in a position of achieving your goals and keeping the results for a very long time.
There is no magic diet, pill, or workout that will make you look like a supermodel. To really transform your physique, you have to be ready to work hard with consistency over a long period of time. That makes the difference between those that achieve their goals and those that fail. Your success in the gym is determined by your willpower to succeed and the plan you set in place. The best diet and workout program is the one you can adhere to and continue to improve upon. Over time, you can get better at the things that work and throw out those that do not. If your plan becomes a habit and then a routine, you will hit your goal and sustain it for as long as you can stay consistent, while those around you continue to fail with their fad diets and exercise routines.
Where should you start? Here are a few tips:
Center your diet around whole foods, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water. Every single thing you put in your mouth does not have to be 100% healthy, but the majority of what you fuel your body with should be premium fuel - you’ll feel much better that way.
Center your workouts around movements that use the whole body. These movements make you much stronger than isolated exercises. Machines are great, but especially this time of year, they will all be taken up and you’ll get more out of compound movements. A stronger body generally will look and feel better than a weaker one.
Incorporate fitness into your lifestyle, not the other way around. Being healthy and fit should not define your identity as a person. Often times, those that are in the best shape hardly give a thought to the shirt or pants they wear to the gym, or having the best new headphones. They are often full time professionals in other fields, but they make sure that working out often and eating a good diet is a part of their routine.