The start of a new year brings on a frenzy of resolutions, especially when it comes to health and fitness goals. But what’s the best approach to ensure success? How do you choose the right resolutions? How much is too much? We’ve turned to our in-house training experts, Dr. Kianoush Missaghi, Vanessa Gebhardt, and Dr. Thomas Falda for some guidance.
1. Train more consistently
Kianoush: There could be many reasons for one to struggle with training consistently. One of the reasons is that there’s sometimes a discrepancy between what we want to do and what we can really do. So when we tend to fall off the consistency bandwagon, it’s always important to remind ourselves of the basics. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my planned weekly training realistically fit with my schedule? If they do, then go to #2. If they don’t you have to trim it down and reassess.
- Is the time allocated for each training session realistic? Are there any other times during the week where I can put in a longer session, or times where I need a shorter one? If that still doesn’t help you, move to #3
- Define what’s the minimum training you can do. You need to prioritize the exercises you want to perform.
- Once you have that planned out just be ready to modify it in case of an emergency, or just life throwing things at you. It’s better to keep some elements of consistency even though you’re not necessarily performing your dream session.
It's important to make sure that you think you can realistically do what you have planned for yourself. This will ensure you’ll be more motivated to train and therefore more consistent.
2. Try a new way of training
Vanessa: If you’ve hit the point where you want to enter new dimensions in your training, I would suggest adding running or weights to your program. You can do this by switching to a Hybrid Training Journey to mix it up and have running or weights assigned in addition to your bodyweight program.
This way, you don’t have to give up the bodyweight routine you’ve become accustomed to, but it allows you to set new goals and see if the extra running workout will get you some new PBs.
3. Learn a new exercise
Thomas: I see two main pieces of advice here: consistency and picking the right exercise. Consistency is key. Nothing can be achieved without it. I would advise starting with training a given skill two times per week. Once you can keep that up for several weeks, then you could think about increasing the frequency.
Picking the right skill for you is about practicing an exercise that is challenging for you, but not too challenging. For example, if you want to be able to do a Handstand Walk, it would be very unproductive to just try to do it before mastering other more accessible exercises like 30 seconds of Handstand Hold, or 20 Shoulder Taps, etc...
Resolutions to Get Your Nutrition Right
4. Cooking more at home
Vanessa: Most of us know why we should eat more fresh food but sometimes we don’t know exactly how to start. When I first decided to eat healthier, I started with simple recipes like healthy salads or bowls containing raw ingredients, not only because they are easy to prepare, but it also limited how much I could mess up the recipes.
The same rule applies if you’re aiming to start cooking at home more often. Look for recipes that are simple with limited steps needed to prepare. After getting used to cooking at home, it won't take much longer than 30-45 minutes, which will be about the same time you’d spend waiting for your food at a restaurant.
5. Prepare your meals in bulk
Kianoush: Meal prep is a relatively advanced tool for eating healthy and meeting nutrition goals. It’s a technique where you want to prepare food in bulk in advance so that you only have to reheat your food before eating it during the week. By doing this you are making sure that you’ll eat wholesome healthy meals that you maybe won’t have the time to prepare over the week.
It also assumes that you have an arsenal of cooking and grocery shopping skills. If that is the case though, it’s one of the most effective ways to ensure you will eat healthy, and according to what you need, on a regular basis. So if you want to try it, you can follow these tips:
- Start small and try it with one meal, to begin with.
- Determine how many times (portions) you are willing to eat the same meal over the course of one week. Ideally, being open to eating one meal more than once a week will facilitate the process and will reduce the general preparation time.
- Make sure that you buy all the ingredients you need at the grocery store.
- Cook in bulk and package them in your favorite types of containers.
- If you want to eat your meals on consecutive days then you might not even want to freeze them. Otherwise freezing is a good option to keep your food fresh if you want more of a meal rotation feeling.
6. Eat healthier at home
Thomas: You should try to cook easy and quick meals first. It’s like training: you would not try to squat 200kg the first time you get in the squat rack. Cooking is the same: start easy and simple. Everybody can cook rice or sweet potatoes. Everybody can buy chicken and put it in a pan.
Similarly to training, start easy. Start by cooking and eating healthy food once a week. Once you can do this consistently, do it twice a week, three times a week, etc...
Resolutions For Your Wellbeing
7. Give meditation a try
Thomas: If you’re new to meditation, I would recommend starting small. Try a style of meditation and it doesn’t suit you, don’t just give up. Follow some iterations in a trial-and-error like process. Test something else and see if you like it. Once you find something you like, be consistent, and do it more and more often to make it part of your routine.
8. Write down your goals
Vanessa: Writing down thoughts and ideas in the form of journaling helps to get an organized day and also gets your mind off things. For many people, writing in their journal in the morning while enjoying their morning coffee or tea works best.
If you’re not sure where to start, just begin with a to-do list or simply write down your daily goals and thoughts, there is plenty of room for inspiration and writing down ideas. Journaling helps to give your life more structure, and checking the boxes gives you a feeling of achievement. The best way to get started is to just sit and try it out for yourself.
9. Get more sleep
Kianoush: Sleep is vital for life, but its benefits on physical and mental performance are also established. It’s a natural performance enhancer and it’s not a good idea to ignore your sleep if you want to train across a busy schedule. You’ll need to be rested for this.
To get enough sleep within a busy schedule means that you’ll have to prioritize it and give it the attention it deserves. One simple piece of advice would be to set an alarm at night that will tell you that you have to get ready for bed, about 30 minutes to 1 hour before your normal bedtime. From there, think about setting yourself up for success and go through your nightly ritual.
Stick With Your Resolutions and Stay Motivated
10. Find your reason
Kianoush: Take some time to know why you really want to make a resolution. What's your real reason and goal? So, ask yourself, “why?” about five times to get down to your core belief. Once you know why you’re doing this, remind yourself about it regularly and just focus on getting the work done.
Thomas: Never make a resolution for anyone else than you. They are your own goals. At the same time, you want to be an example. You should strive to be someone who works hard to reach their goals.
Vanessa: It’s normal that motivation to achieve our goals isn’t always there day after day. However, knowing what drives us and keeps us going is powerful. Take time to ask yourself what motivates you. Is it skills, looks, faster times, lifting more weight, competition? Find which one means the most to you and go after it.
Focus on the resolutions that matter most to you
Think quality over quantity. It’s better to choose only a couple of things from these suggestions and make them a consistent part of your new athletic lifestyle than to try everything at once and fail at the sheer challenge of it all. Becoming your greatest version isn’t going to happen with the push of a button. By choosing realistic and attainable goals, you will be setting yourself up for success in the coming months.