The New Years resolutions are right around the corner. You’ve probably already started thinking about how you want to change fort he new year. Most of you reading this just want to drop a few pounds and look better naked. Some of you may want to compete in a sport like Crossfit, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or body building.
Did you make these same resolutions last year, and the year before, but with little to no results? If this is you I’m going to tell you something you may not want to hear. You just didn’t want it enough. I’m not talking about the person who had to stop training because they were hit by a car or stricken with cancer. These are the exceptions. I’m talking about the general population who set out with good intensions, but didn’t follow through. Think about the last time you were determined to make something happen - anything. You made it happen regardless of the obstacles in your way. It wasn’t always easy, but you got it done. This is the same frame of mind you need to be in to get the health, body and performance you desire. I know this is a tough pill to swallow, but time is a non-renewable resource and the quicker you do it the quicker we can begin moving forward.
There’s a lot of “noise” we need to fight through to make our goals a reality - work, family, money, motivation (or lack-there-of), self-doubt, negative feedback, illness. At the end of the day it’s up to YOU to get through, over, and around these hurdles. If you allow the obstacles to get in your way you just didn’t want it enough.
In no particular order, I’m going to arm you with a little advice to help keep you on track for 2018. It wont be all sunshine and applesauce, but if you want it enough you’ll follow this advice and be well equipped to make your goals a reality.
GET A COACH
This is probably the single best piece of advice I can give. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can do it all on your own. That’s just ego talking and you’ve tried it your way; now try it our way. The money you spend here will take some of the weight off your shoulders and give you room to breath and focus on other facets of your life. A lot of the guesswork and frustration with trial and error is removed by hiring a coach. Here is a short list of how a coach can help you.
The decision to higher a coach is really a matter of how much do you want it? The best athletes all have multiple coaches. They didn’t get to where they are all on their own. You don’t have to figure all of this out by yourself. Maybe you can't afford a full-time coach, but what about hiring one for enough sessions to get you started? Then you can train on your own and do 1-2 tune up sessions with your coach every month. This leads me to the next point.
In my opinion this is the largest obstacle to overcome at first. You’re sitting back wondering how in the world you’re going to pay for all of this - gym membership, healthier diet, a trainer, supplements, etc. This is certainly a valid concern. If you want it enough you will find what you can sacrifice to at least get you started. Here’s a few suggestions on how to find the extra money.
Stop buying your coffee from a coffee shop. I know you’ve heard this one before, but it’s such a huge savings. A plain black coffee is about $2.25. This amounts to nearly $50 a month if you’re purchasing 1 cup a day, 5 days a week.
Purchase a longer-term contract for your gym and personal training. The rates will be considerably lower.
Join partner or small group classes. The per-person rate is always better.
You don’t need that new pair of shoes. Unless they’re weightlifting shoes. Then yes, you NEED that new pair of shoes.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean you MUST eat organic. Organic food can be really expensive. That side of the food industry is becoming more and more filled with scam artists who are doing the minimum requirements to get the “organic” label by the FDA. They then use that sticker to jack up the prices.
Stock up on non-perishable items when they are BOGO
Use the discount card at your local grocery store
Purchase the store brand on as many products as you can.
You don’t need fancy supplements. If your multivitamin costs $40 you’re just making expensive pee. A well-rounded diet actually doesn’t require too much in the way of supplementation. Ordering your supplements in bulk from online venders is probably the most cost efficient. As far as supplements goes, my personal recommendations for starting out is:
There are other useful supplements, but they can wait.
My recommendations are trumped if you have been prescribed a supplementation regimen by a doctor to counter a deficiency or condition.
Diet is about habit formation, planning, and will power. Here are some tips to keep your diet on track.
Purchase an electronic food scale. This will be an invaluable tool in teaching you how to eyeball portion size and keep you from either over or under eating.
Prep as many meals as you can ahead of time. Cook your meats, pastas, and grains at one time. Portion them out and place them in the fridge. Portion the fresh or frozen vegetables.
Pack your meals in a travel cooler so you don’t have an excuse to eat out
If you’re like me you don’t like eating a heavy breakfast immediately after waking. Try focusing on milk, Greek yogurt, and fruit. There’s zero preparation and it’s high quality calories. Once you’ve had your coffee you’ll probably be ready for oatmeal or a bagel.
Sometimes there aren’t any more tricks. You just have to find the will power to make the right decision. How much do you want it?
We all lead busy lives. Work and family obligations can tie us up to the point where we start making sacrifices. One of the first things to go is your time at the gym. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be happy and healthy. If you allow your health and happiness to slide you’re destroying your ability to be a dependable provider. Two hours a day to the gym may not be feasible, but you can find an hour a day, 3-4 days a week. You’re not selfish for wanting a few dedicated hours a week to take care of yourself. In fact, you’ve earned that time.
Put your exercise into your daily planner. Seeing it on paper or your screen will make it less of an option and more of an obligation.
Go to the gym either on your way to work or your way home from work.
Carry your gym bag and supplements with you.
Meal prep. We’ve already covered this.
Ask a friend to join you. You’re more likely to manage your time better when you know someone is waiting on you. This also adds a layer or accountability and motivation.
Goals need to be written down where they can be seen frequently. They also need to be specific and with a deadline. “Lose weight this year” is not a goal. “Lose 15 pounds by March 15th” is. Humans are procrastinators by nature so we often need constant reminders of what is expected of us and when it is expected.
Set a specific, challenging, measurable, yet attainable goal for the year
Break that down into smaller goals for each quarter
Break down each quarter into monthly goals
If you feel the need, break the monthly goals into weekly and even daily goals
Each of these smaller goals needs to be specific enough and measurable enough to build onto the next.
Enter a 5k race, Tough Mudder, or powerlifting meet. Set a date to test your performance in the gym or on the track. Anything that will make you accountable for a specific performance on a specific date will add a purpose to your time, sweat and pain.
This is all a process and a process takes time. You’ll have to be OK with delayed gratification. Getting stronger takes time. Losing weight takes time. Long lasting changes take time. I don’t think anyone has ever become a world-class athlete in 6 months. Those who become impatient with the process and give up simply didn’t want it enough.
You’re going to hurt. You’re going to be uncomfortable. Stop trying to get comfortable while you’re in the gym! If you are, you’re doing it wrong! If you aren’t willing to endure the necessary amount of pain and discomfort to reach your goals then you just didn’t want it enough.
There WILL be setbacks. Illness, injury, and unforeseen events will attempt to derail you. Adjust to the circumstances as best you can and keep your momentum. The worst thing you could possibly do is completely ceasing your training. Trust me, you don’t want to do that. And keep asking yourself “How much do I really want it?”
About the Author:
Scott is a USA Powerlifting Coach, Westside Barbell Strength Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer, 3-time attendee of the Starting Strength Seminar, and competitive raw powerlifter.
Scott’s best competition lifts are a 518 lb. squat, 385 lb. bench press, and 606 lb. deadlift in the 231 lb. men’s open weight class.
You can follow Scott on Instagram @essential_barbell