New year, new you – I’m sure you have heard that statement countless times. Isn’t it getting overplayed? As a fitness professional, I see countless new members and inquiries this time of year. And whether you are a weekend warrior or daily diehard gym goer, you will notice a huge increase in gym traffic around this time of year – that is until about Feb 17th. That’s right about when people start to give up, when things get in the way, when there are just so many other distractions that training gets placed on the back burner. All of that can be attributed to just not being committed and I am sure I will write about that in another blog at some point. But what about those people who are dedicated? Those who do realize this is a necessary change, and those who just finally want to achieve something they never thought possible? What happens when the numbers on the scale stop going down and the results stop showing (usually around the same date as the new year bandwagon goers) – what then? Well hopefully these few tips will help get you in the right direction and keep you going long into the new year–and this “new you”.

Be there:
First and foremost get into the gym. Don’t go home after work – go right there! Bring your workout gear in a duffle bag; leave it in the car and rock and roll as soon as you get off work!

Cardio is not the answer:
As a beginner, the treadmills are great and can show some promise. Believe me, if you go from doing absolutely nothing to a little bit of something you will see some results. But don’t stay on that treadmill (or any cardio equipment) for too long. About two to three weeks is average until the results stop showing. In order to see some great results (specifically fat loss) you have to do things your body is NOT used to! Your body is really good at adapting to anything you put it through–it is called the “SAID” Principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. So in order for your body to change you need to include exercises and movements that you typically don’t do. Treadmills only work so long because your body is really good at walking -you do it every day. Don’t get me wrong, cardio has its place, but there are some better ways, like strength and resistance training, to achieve that new look you have always wanted.

Make it unusual:
Putting together multiple big time movements is what I have found most effective in achieving fat loss. Some of my favorite examples include squat and row, step up and shoulder press, and lunge curl to press.

These movements require the most metabolic demand on the body and therefore allow the most amount of energy (fat) to burn. If you feel uncomfortable with some of these movements, get hooked up with a qualified trainer (not just certified). They can put you on a good strength-training program, which can get you in the right direction.
Don’t listen to all the hype:
Infomercials are fantastic. People like Vince Offer (Shamwow guy), Billy Mays, and Ron Popeil (Ronco) have made tons of money from their eccentric personality and salesmanship. But let’s be honest, why order something off an infomercial? When it comes down to it, they are just trying to push a profit. So what do you think infomercials like Insanity, P90X, Brazilian Booty Lift, and Billy Banks are all trying to do? They try to make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. The real disturbing thing is that most of these infomercials are all owned by the same company. The same company that’s trying to take your money over and over again! Do you think Billy Banks or Shaun T or the Shamwow guy really cares if the product works for you? Whereas when it comes to training you are a direct representative (a walking and talking advertisement) of a trainer. So you can bet your “Brazilian” booty that your (qualified) trainer cares about the product he/she is putting out on the market. Instead of throwing away money on a video, get with someone who cares about your results as much as you do, and can actually teach you something!

Be an athlete:
Finally, sit down and figure out what you are actually trying to achieve. What are your fitness goals for the new year? Most clients come to me and say I want to lose fat and gain muscle. Well, that sounds a lot like what any athlete wants to achieve as well – be as lean and as strong as possible. So maybe its time to stop relying on those workouts that you found online, or infomercial workouts, or even step-aerobic workouts at the local gym. Maybe to achieve the goals you want (lose fat and gain muscle) its time to mimic what the pro’s have been doing for years. You wont see any pro athletes following a Brazilian Booty Lift DVD, or focusing on Bi’s and Tri’s for a whole workout, or strolling along on an elliptical for hours each day. Get your mind focused like an athlete (even if you do not intend to compete in anything), and understand that in the world of athletes the words “diet” and “exercise” are replaced with “eat” and “train”!