Lichfield personal trainer Raul Romero looks at working on a long term fitness plan for the New Year
Bitterly cold weather, short dark days and icy winter mornings…all perfect excuses to stay at home in front of a toasty fire with a hot cuppa, binge watching the latest TV shows and filling our boots with satisfying comfort food whilst repeating the mantra as old as time of ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ in reference to our fitness journey.
Or, another way of looking at it, creating and envisaging your fitness goal, having the grit, determination and self motivation to get up and out especially on those dark, dreary, cold wet days, one day at a time to make those goals a reality.
Many of our New Year’s resolutions include health and fitness goals of all types. The start of the New Year can be such a great opportunity to properly plan and create a realistic fitness training plan that suits your individual needs and lifestyle.
The key is sticking to your plan one day at a time and keeping momentum even on those long, dark and difficult winter nights.
As straightforward as this sounds, this is not usually what we see in the glossy magazines. Here we often find glamorised ‘six week beach body’ type plans that focus on the short term, usually for those who are looking for a last minute solution before a holiday or special occasion. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, these types of regimes aren’t usually suitable for everyone or sustainable for the long term.
There are various reasons for this:
– Our bodies need to build a solid foundation of fitness before we push ourselves to higher levels. Some of these short term programmes are extremely demanding on the body and could do more damage than good. Preparing our bodies to become stronger and fitter is key!
– Technique! Training with the correct technique in the execution of exercises is vital to avoid injuries. This is something that is learnt and perfected over time, which fits in perfectly with long term goals and plans.
– If exercises are too demanding for our unprepared bodies they aren’t usually enjoyable. Naturally if something is not enjoyable we are going to lose motivation a lot quicker and usually give up altogether.
Suffice to say, there is no magic pill or diet that can transform our bodies in the blink of an eye. Short term extreme fitness regimes or diets may work for a while but are almost never sustainable and it is so easy to regress and be in an even worse fitness state than before.
Achieving our fitness goals, just like achieving any other goals worth having, takes planning, hard work, dedication and time.
The key is finding a way of exercising that we truly enjoy and that can be incorporated into our daily lives, and a way of healthy eating that again we enjoy and can then sustain, thus resulting in a lifestyle change rather than a short term temporary fitness stint. Another way of looking at it is keeping in shape all year round, then having some ‘peak’ times in the year where we push ourselves even more, maybe in preparation for a special event or holiday.
In order to achieve our summer bodies we have to start the hard work now, by planning carefully and realistically, then maintaining motivation and dedication and working hard, even through the winter months.
Seeking professional guidance with the planning and execution of fitness training and nutrition planning is a very helpful tool which also helps add a layer of accountability, thus making it easier not to fall off the wagon.
I have many clients who start training with me in January after the Christmas binge and who very often have a holiday booked in July so want to physically see results by then. That means there are around 75-80 training days to make the most of before the holiday. That is enough time to learn and develop good technique, create strong foundations and gradually build up the volume and intensity of training for them to have made noticeable gains by July.
Training in this structured way, consistently, every week without any excuses, not only helps achieve fitness goals but also gives a much lower chance of developing pain or injuries.
Training with a mid to long term goal like this eliminates any losses to fitness goals in case you have to miss a few days of training due to illness.
Similar planning strategies can be applied to our nutrition habits. Planning and making small, steady, realistic changes to improve our diet and nutrition can work hand in hand perfectly with a structured training regime. Small changes over a period of time really can help us achieve massive noticeable results.
That leads me on to my top tips to be successful with your health and fitness goals in 2021:
1) Establish a routine.
2) Start with exercises you like. Make it fun.
3) Seek expert support.
4) Join group sessions for that extra support (if possible).
5) Be kind to yourself.
6) Try and find a training buddy.
7) Track your progress.
Happy New Year to all & happy training! If you would like any help or advice on anything health and fitness related please feel free to get in touch with me at email@example.com or via social media (@ambitionpersonaltraininguk).