New Year’s Resolution 101 – 7 Tips To Help You Get Fit

Jan 10, 2011

First off, Happy New Year to you. Thank you for following me. I know I don’t always post consistently (one of my goals for this year is to post more) so I appreciate your commitment, time and feedback.
The number one New Year’s Resolution is losing weight and/or getting fit, so I’ll focus on that. We’re into week two! I heard a stat that the average New Year’s Resolution lasts less than a month. Instead of posting at the start of the year, I thought I’d post this at the start of week two….why?…..week two is crucial, maybe the most important week in starting a new habit, especially getting in better shape. You’ve done well in week one, maybe fallen off the wagon a little bit over the weekend (that’s okay). Now, you need to dig deep in week two. If you can get through this week, you will be rolling. In this post, I want to give you a few tips that have helped me.

Let me start with a little bit about my experience with getting fit (or unfit). They say in college that you gain the Freshman 15. I, unfortunately, put on the freshman 25. I did it in record time too! I played soccer in the mid 90’s and our season ended in early November (weight 143 lbs). By the time we weighed in around mid January, I tipped the scale at 168 lbs. I know, you’re thinking how in the heck did I manage to do accomplish this. For me, it was easy. We didn’t practice at all, I didn’t workout once and I ate horribly (okay, I partied a little too much as well). I’m one of those people that can put on weight really fast. A week of no working out and eating below par and I add four or five pounds easily. The good news is that I can also take off weight fast.
I think there’s also the holiday 20, if you’re not careful. Fast forward to last year. It was my first real Halloween with my 2 yr old son (at least where he was getting real candy). If sweets are around, I’m in trouble. It’s like they call my name. I even would stay up after my wife went to bed to indulge. Top that with the Holidays and I put on about 20 lbs. I was my biggest last January – 192 lbs. I was a bit disgusted with myself. Fortunately, I found my gym that I still go to. I’ve written about it before – it’s a crossfit gym (Crossfit New Albany outside of Columbus, OH). It was exactly what I needed. Even though I almost didn’t go back after my second workout b/c I could barely drive home (that’s what flipping a 350 lb tire will do to you – especially when you’re out of shape). I talked myself into going and I still love it and look forward to every workout. Couple with the new gym, I started a competition at work. It consisted of weight loss as well as body fat loss. We all put in $100 to make it worthwhile. After the initial weigh in, we had a six-week weigh in and the final (after 12 weeks). We all had to get tested via a Bod Pod, which I will go into more detail on below. I was fortunate to stay disciplined and got down to about 176 lbs….and went from 25% body fat to 17.5%.

This leads me to today. I put some weight back on during the Holidays. Thankfully, I’ve still been working out consistently, so I only put on a few lbs (not the 20 like last year). I’m back into workout/eating for energy mode and I already feel so much better (physically, but more importantly, mentally/energy-wise).
Hopefully, you can take a nugget away from the following tips that have helped me.

My 7 Tips:

  1. Plan – First, your workouts – Keep a journal. Plan exactly what you’re going to do for that day and for how long. If you’re going to walk on a treadmill, write down that you will walk for 20 minutes. Envision yourself doing this. Don’t just write “20 minute walk.” Write “I will walk for 20 minutes today.” When you’re done, write how you feel in your journal. Keep it simple. Now, for your eating. Use the same journal. In the morning (or night before), write down what you’re going to eat. Set a goal for how much water you’re going to drink. Most say you should drink at least 60 ounces of water a day . I shoot for 90. Track this or you won’t hit your goal. The same journal is the perfect place. Here’s an example of mine:
    • Meal 1 – Breakfast – 3 Eggs with cheese, 2 slices of wheat toast with peanut butter (I’ve been following the zone diet, which essentially has you eat protein, carbs and fat with each meal). Eat within 30 minutes of waking up. Try and eat before you drink coffee, as coffee will destroy your hunger. This is a big thing for me. I crave coffee first thing.
      **Note – I drink at least 10 ounces of water as soon as I wake up. Then, at least 10 ounces with breakfast. It’s a great start to your daily water consumption goal.
    • Meal 2 – Protein bar – be careful, most of these have a ton of sugar. My favorite is the Think Thin bar. Tastes pretty good and has very little sugar.
    • Meal 3 – Lunch – Turkey Sandwhich, Wheat bread, Avocado (avocado is a great source of good fat)
    • Meal 4 – Apple, String Cheese, Almonds (again, carb/protein/good fat)
    • Meal 5 – Dinner – Penne pasta with red sauce and ground turkey
    • Meal 6 – Protein shake before bed (Casein Protein is best at night b/c it digests slowly)
      ** Note
      – After breakfast, I believe meals two and five are the most important. They’re smaller meals (i.e., snacks) and keep you from getting too hungry at other meals, therefore binge eating. You will never feel too hungry or too full if you eat this way. This is crucial to your success.
  2. Start Slowly – Don’t tell yourself you’re going to workout everyday or eat great every meal (workout at least 3 days/week to start). I subscribe to the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle)…if you eat well 80% of the time, you’re doing well (that’s about 5.5 good days of eating). I try and eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day….equates to approximately 30 good meals out of 35 for the week. Another way to look at this is to give yourself one day a week to indulge. I’ve had success having one full cheat day. So, I eat well Sunday-Friday, then let myself go on Saturdays. I eat anything I want. This does two things – one, it satisfies all those cravings so you’ll be okay for the following week, and, two, it actually helps with weight loss b/c it shocks your body (this is anecdotal, of course). You may gain a couple pounds that day, but once you eat well the next day and hit the gym, you’ll be amazed that you’ll most likely be under the weight you were (before your cheat day). Again, planning is key here.
  3. Get into a competition – Money is a good incentive….this will hold your accountable. You have to post your results. It became a great team building project as well b/c we were having so much fun doing it. Results are what matter and 90% of the competitors did great. Of course, trash talking and sabotage was encouraged : )
  4. Make it official – If you don’t want to do a competition, get an official measurement…I mentioned the bod pod above…it ranges in price from around $50 if you do it once. If you buy a package you can always negotiate (I got mine for $18 a piece, as I bought five). You can find more about what this about and where to get tested near you at the Bodpod site…if you don’t have a location near you or you don’t want to pay for it, you can get calipers or get a different measurement – a lot of gyms have automated ways they do this.
  5. Set goals – Make it specific. Not “I will lose weight”, but “I will lose 5 lbs by Sunday, 10 lbs by week six and 20 lbs by week 12.” If you’re lifting weights then don’t be alarmed if you don’t lose as much weight. Building muscle will add weight to your results. However, your body fat will go down. This is why I feel body fat is the best metric.
  6. Take a picture of yourself that you can compare to a future picture. I did this a couple of years ago when I did Body For Life and I can’t tell you how motivating it was. From the first picture (which I hated, of course), to the four week picture – where I saw great results and gained more incentive to keep going. More great results in week eight, and of course, at the end (week 12). I still look at the before and after and it still is cool to see.
  7. Tell others what you’re doing. This will keep you accountable. No one likes to fail and the more people you tell, the more accountable you’ll keep yourself. In week six when someone asks you how it’s going, do you really want to tell them that you gave up? Didn’t thinks so. Don’t underestimate the power of this.

Some good resources that may help:


Crossfit – As I said, this is what I do. I’m so glad I found this. I don’t think there’s a better workout out there, bar none. It’s a mix of functional body weight training, strength training and cardio. You’ll workout with a team, with a trainer, you’ll compete and you’ll have fun the whole time. Is it challenging….Yes! But, isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Everything is modified for your level, so don’t worry about starting from scratch. If you’re interested, just type in Crossfit and where your live into Google. Most metro areas have a few gyms now. Watch this Video to learn more about Crossfit. You can watch me getting crushed in my workout yesterday here. This was me doing what’s called “Man-Makers” (25 of them) after our “official” workout was done. If you live in Columbus, OH, there’s no better place to workout than my gym, Crossfit New Albany. It will change your life and I’m not kidding. Check it out here.

Body For Life – Bill Phillips, the guy who started EAS, wrote this over ten years ago. A twelve week eating and workout program. Pretty standard workouts. Easy to follow. Great journal that goes a long with it. I’ve done this in the past and you’ll get great results (although anything you can do for twelve weeks consistently will get you results). Big on before and after pictures, which is great motivation. Learn more about Body For Life here.

P90x – The big craze now. I haven’t done the whole thing, but I’ve done some of the workouts. Very intense and fun. My brother has been following this for over two years and is in the best shape of his life. The initial program is around three months. It’s a little over $100 for the dvd’s and you can do this in the comfort of your home with some minor purchases. Learn more about P90x Here

Core Performance – The writer, Mark Verstegen, is known as the go to guy for professional athletes looking to perform better in their particular sport. You’ll hear a lot about him during NFL Combine time, as potential draftees go to his gyms to hone their strength, speed, etc as they prepare for the NFL draft. The focus here is on functional training for whatever it is you’re trying to get better at. As the title says, much focus on your core, which is the cornerstone to any strong body. Learn more about Core Peformance here.

Eating Plans

Eat Clean Diet – Focuses on eating natural foods without preservatives. My wife follows this and has been for a couple years. She’s in the best shape of her life….she has great discipline when it comes to eating (I wish I was more like here). At least I get the benefits when she cooks for me : ) Learn more about The Eat Clean Diet here

Zone Diet – Essentially a mix of protein, carbs and fat that you eat at every meal. Consists of approximately six meals a day. This varies on what your goals are. Learn more about the Zone Diet here

Eating For Life – The supplement to Body For Life. I followed this religiously when I did this twelve week program. It’s so simple to follow and believe it or not, you can make some really tasty meals. Learn more about Eating for Life here

4-Hour Body – Tim Ferriss, the author of 4-Hour Workweek, just released this about a month ago. It’s Number One on the NY Times Bestseller list. Tim is a master at hacking stuff. Anything from productivity, to reading, to travel. And now, the human body. A ton of useful information in this book. Learn more about the 4-Hour Body here

Best of luck.  Feel free to post any good tips you have.  Of course, questions are always welcome.  Happy New Year to  you all!


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