Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, it’s back to fitness. It’s a new year and this is the year for winning. So instead of reading through an overly-optimistic article on how you can seize the day and excel (commonplace this time of year), let’s examine perhaps where you might have gone wrong and some common mistakes that may be halting your progress. And of course, what you can do to once again repave the road once traveled.
1. Too Many Cheat Meals
Once or twice per week, sure. But when it occurs every day, and often multiple times per day, it can be a problem. The pounds come on rather quickly, and before you know it, sweatpants become the norm and jeans and pants are folded and put away.
What to do instead: Have a meal once per day with a little bit of fat. Perhaps lean ground beef or peanut butter to help keep you satiated.
2. Too Many Missed Workouts
If you’re feeling a little under the weather, then by all means, take a break. But otherwise it’s simply not good practice to miss workouts. Will one missed workout make a difference? Probably not. But miss too many, and not only does your strength and gains start to diminish, so too does your mental outlook. And that can wreak havoc with your progress.
What to do instead: Change up your actual workouts. Get yourself mentally stimulated to want to work out again.
3. Put Down Your Phone
A workout that should have been done an hour ago, essentially hasn’t even started. Why? Because you’ve been on the phone the entire time.
What to do instead: Save social media posting and scrolling for cardio, not during resistance training, or if you simply can’t be trusted, leave the phone in the car.
4. Nothing to Wear
Clothes fitting too tight? Or simply worn out and you feel embarrassed wearing them? Not having the right workout gear makes it actually difficult to go out and get regular exercise.
What to do instead: This time of year, there are plenty of sales to be had. Treat yourself to a new shirt or two, sneakers, or a hoodie. You’d be surprised how looking good will get you feeling good and once again progressing in the gym.
5. Too Many Distractions
They say you won’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going. While this doesn’t mean floor the pedal in training intensity year-round and eating perfectly every time, it should equate to somewhat of an understanding of where you want to ultimately arrive.
What to do instead: Have a photo that reminds you of your goal. For me, I posted a picture of James Bond in one of his suits on my fridge. The goal for myself was to look similar in my new suit for an upcoming event. Every time I opened the fridge, I would see the image and it helped me to make smarter choices when eating.
Additionally, consider that sometimes one can benefit tremendously from a total change of plan and venue. Not just physically, but mentally as well. Gym days do not have to mean GYM days. If you can, go outside. Get some workouts done outdoors without any machines or preconceived and limiting range of motion exercises. In my new book, Outdoor Physique, you are quite literally, your own gym. Utilizing the planes of motion, you can get a total body workout that can help to alleviate pain and help you to move and feel better in the real world. Remember, while you may not replicate the bench press movement in real life, you may often find yourself in a partially squatted position for a sustained period of time in order to accomplish a task at home or in the office. Traditional bodybuilding exercises may not help you with that, but unrestricted bodyweight movements will. Now, what are you waiting for?
HOLLIS LANCE LIEBMAN has been a fitness magazine editor, national bodybuilding champion, and author. He is a published physique photographer and has served as a bodybuilding and fitness competition judge. Hollis has worked with some of Hollywood’s elite, earning rave reviews. His previous books include Peak Physique, Complete Physique and more. Visit hollisliebman.com for more information.