It's the first week of January and your 2017 New Year goals are set. Number 1 on the list is to get back in the gym and lose that stubborn weight that you put on during the winter holidays. Awesome! However, we all know that this goal, the number 1 goal shared by most Americans nationwide year in and year out, is a lot easier said than done. Let us give you some advice as well as suggest some mobile apps you can download to help you stay on track. Lets start by trying to avoid these derailing barriers.

1) NOT STAYING CONSISTENT

Practice makes perfect. In other words, the key to (most) anything that you're trying to get better at is to keep doing it and doing it right. This is also the key for your fitness routine. In order for your body to adapt it must continuously experience a stimulus (such as exercise) that regularly breaks a plateau. Once it recognizes that this stimulus is continuously occurring than it will begin to make changes to adjust to beat that stimulus in the future (such as utilizing more fat as energy for cardio or growing the muscle for weight training). This can't and won't happen if you decide to take a week off here and there. The hardest part of working out is getting to the gym. Once you're there, your excuses to leave are very limited. Remember, something is always better than nothing.

HOW TO FIX: Start with 2-3 days of full body exercise, or minimum 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Gradually increase as exercising on a regular basis becomes more of a "habit".

SUGGESTED MOBILE APP: MyFitnessPal

2) TOO MANY GOALS

2017 is a blank canvas and you have 12 months to paint your final picture (should I copyright that?). What I mean by this is that you don't have to rush to make changes and you don't need to stack your goals to the point at which they'll eventually collapse. We all love goals, but too many can be too much. Spread them out and enjoy your success as you check them off one-by-one. It'll also assist to make the year more enjoyable. NOTE: apply this to all of your goals, not just fitness and be selective in who you share them with. "Haters WILL hate!" - unknown.

HOW TO FIX: Develop 3 small goals that you'd like to accomplish in the next 3 months (such as making it to the gym 3x/week), 2 moderate goals for the next 6 months (such as completing a challenge course), and 1 big goal for the next 12 months (such as getting off any prescribed medications (i.e. blood pressure medicine)).

SUGGESTED MOBILE APP: Strides

3) YOU DON'T HAVE A PROGRAM

This reminds me of a previous blog (click here) that I wrote comparing the difference between a workout and a program. Simple: You need to plan out your workouts systemically. To make this tip more obtainable, pair it with the previous one (#2). For example, if your goal in the next six months is to complete a challenge course (such as a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder), then you need to develop a fitness program that matches those physical and mental demands. Showing up to the gym and "winging it" will most likely lead you to failure. It'll also make for a longer, more boring workout.

HOW TO FIX: Switch up your program every 4 weeks. This way, your body will adjust to the workouts but not to the point in which you'll plateau. Progress, but do so safely and effectively.

SUGGESTED MOBILE APP: iHealthFitness (make sure to sign up for our newsletter!)

4) INSUFFICIENT SUPPORT SYSTEM

Didn't you hear?! Asking for help is cool now! Well, so it seems. Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals has been ranked by health.com as one of the top five fitness trends entering 2017. This means that the demand for reliable information is rising and that the requirement for professions who provide such is as well (simple supply and demand). With the enhancements in technology which assist in making obtaining information more easier than ever, there should be no reason NOT to ask for help. Besides the professional side, support can come in the form of family, friends, and co-workers. You spend the majority of your time with these people, why not get them on board? I promise, it'll make obtaining your goals a lot easier.

HOW TO FIX: First off, get your significant other on board, especially if they live with you. Who other to best support you than that who loves you. Next, start up a private Facebook group inviting friends, family, and coworkers to join. Share workouts, recipes, and even challenge each other to friendly competitions. Lastly, hire a fitness or nutrition professional to assist you with learning and developing personal healthy habits.

SUGGESTED MOBILE APP: Bvddy (if you can't find a workout buddy)

5) LACK OF SLEEP

Want to know the easiest and least energy required way to repair your body so that you can be ready for your next workout? SLEEP! The theory behind this is simple: weight training and cardio break down (micro-tears) your musculoskeletal tissues, because of that, your body must repair itself and adapt for future breakdowns (by growing and/or getting stronger). The repair phase is most effective when the broken down muscle absorbs nutrients (such as protein) and can rest. Why rest? Because if you continue to "hammer" away at the damaged muscle then the rate at which it will repair itself will be prolonged. When you rest, it speeds up the process. However, don't rest too long as continued blood flow (such as walking) can also assist in the repair process (also called "active rest").

HOW TO FIX: Shoot for 7-9 hours of steady, relaxed sleep. Also, put away any electronic devices at least 30 minutes before you plan on falling asleep to help ease your mind.

SUGGESTED MOBILE APP: Sleep Genius


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