5 Tips to Crush Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions

Don't let your New Year's fitness resolution fail. Follow this great advice from STACK Expert Steve Olsen.

It's time. You've made the decision to change your life and commit to a healthier lifestyle. You're excited. You're ready. It's a New Year and a new you! All you need is a plan. Don't let your New Year's fitness resolution fail. Follow these steps to ensure you get the most from  your time in the gym, and crush your goals.

Have a plan

Most people fail because the simply do not plan. I'm not talking about goals (see step 2). I'm simply talking about the logistics of embarking on a new fitness regimen. How will exercise fit into your lifestyle? When will you work out? Where will you work out? How long do you need per session? What days of the week make the most sense based on your other commitments? Exercise doesn't have to dominate your life; it just has to fit into it.

Set goals

You need to have short- and long-term goals. In the beginning, your short-term goals can simply be to get to the gym three times per week. A long-term goal may be to lose 20 pounds in six months. The key is to write your goals down, making sure they are realistic, and to review them as you progress.

Hire a personal trainer

I promise this isn't a cheap plug. If you are new to exercise, you need guidance and direction. Walking into a gym for the first time can be overwhelming. All the equipment can be confusing and dangerous if used improperly. A personal trainer takes the guesswork out of fitness. He or she provides the expertise, you provide the effort. A personal trainer will help you set goals and timelines, and develop a plan specifically for you.

Be patient

Developing any habit takes time. Fitness is no exception. The first month in the gym will be about learning and establishing good habits. Learn to do things right. Focus on developing a solid foundation of knowledge, confidence and exercise proficiency. If you fail to do this, you're likely to get injured, lose motivation and ultimately give up on your routine. If you can accept that developing habits should take priority over immediate results, you'll set yourself up for success in the long term.

Be realistic

Let's face it—life gets in the way sometimes. You can have the best of intentions, but sooner or later, stuff happens. Work can get busy and cause you to miss a workout. Family functions may lead to overeating. This is OK! Don't beat yourself up over it. Fitness is a lifelong journey. It's OK to have minor setbacks. Don't let missing a workout derail your long-term goals. Embarking on a new fitness routine can be challenging, but the rewards are worth it.

Sample workout

If you're going to work out, do it right. This routine will put you light years ahead of other newbies. You'll avoid useless, time-wasting machines and focus on fundamental movement patterns that will get you strong, lean and awesome.

Thanks to Dan John, a legendary strength coach, I give you the five human movement patterns: push, pull, hinge, squat and carry. Their beauty is in their simplicity. Designing a workout based on these patterns, we can program a routine for either an elite athlete or a newbie. The key for both is to perform one basic exercise per movement pattern. As you progress, we can substitute more advanced exercises that fall under the five movement categories. This will ensure that you have a well-rounded routine that builds full-body strength.

Here we go:

  • Push-Ups (push)
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row (pull)
  • Romanian Deadlift (hinge)
  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat (squat — obviously)
  • Suitcase Dumbbell Carry (you guessed it —  carry!)

Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps of the first four exercises. For the last exercise, perform 3 sets, walking 30 yards per set.

As the saying goes, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Enjoying a healthy lifestyle will change every aspect of your life. Don't be part of the New Year's resolution crowd that fizzles out after a few weeks. Be smart, train hard and make 2017 your best year ever!


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock