It's January, which means that everyone is in that 'New Year, New Me' mode and posting motivational quotes on Instagram about how this is the first page of a 366-page book (it's a leap year, people...) and aggressive analogies about attacking 2016 like a tiger taking a hungry swing at a fleeing buffalo.
Most folk will sign up for gym memberships, go nuts for a couple of weeks and then get bored or distracted and stop going. The fact that the gyms will be insanely busy over this time will not help. So, we've got a few handy tips on how you can stick to it and not just shed those selection boxes from your midriff, but maybe refine your lifestyle in general for the better.
The Fear is Good - Use It
Ever wonder why when most people sign up for a marathon or a 10k they do it for charity and try and get everyone to sponsor them? Sure, it's for a great cause, but ultimately, for the most part, it's so they have to train. The fear of taking money from people and then just not bothering your ass to do what you said you would is liable to get you publicly slaughtered by friends and family. It doesn't have to be a marathon or even a 5k run, you can post a picture of yourself on your Facebook and say you'll post another one in, say, 8 weeks. You won't just encourage yourself, but people around you.
Get a Gym Program
If you do decide to go down the 'before and after' pic route, or simply to hit the gym, make sure you know what you're doing. Don't just go in and stroll around, afraid to touch weights because you don't wanna look "silly." Every new gym membership will likely come with a free consultation - use it. Let the trainer know your goals and be realistic; you will not be Ryan Reynolds or Jessica Biel in the first two weeks. Most likely, if you're looking to get toned, you'll put on weight at first - muscle weighs more than fat. True story. Where do you think #gains came from?
Enlist a Pal
The buddy system is a tried and tested way of getting up off your hole and doing stuff. If you're good pals with the person, you won't wanna let them down. Meet for a morning run, go to a spinning class at lunch together, whatever; you'll be too busy catching up to notice you're actually burning calories and getting fitter. There's also an element of healthy competition involved.
Invest in Training Gear
We're huge fans of Under Armour here in entertainment.ie. It's not overly expensive and their Storm line is perfect for this time of year. Slap on a Storm Hoody and Bottoms and you'll not only look cool but stay dry and warm - whether training outside or just on the way to the gym. Use those gift cards or extra cash you got off of Santa with purpose. New gear is a great motivator but invest wisely. Particularly with running shoes; make sure you speak to an expert as the wrong pair can cause injuries the further you manage to run. You should have a detailed gait analysis before buying. We recommend Run Logic in Temple Bar.
Watch the Diet
This doesn't mean you need to go all Conor McGregor on the day of weigh in. Simply to look at your diet and maybe make a couple of alterations. If you have a sweet tooth and snack on chocolate, switch to protein bars. The calorie count is around the same but, dependant on the brand, they are far better for you and obviously have a higher percentage of protein. Going from take-out all of the time to salad can be too jarring a change to be consistent with. Switch your soft drink to water and keep a bottle at hand to stay hydrated. You'll be surprised how much more energy you have just from drinking a couple of litres a day.
Everyone is different and will have different goals. The key really is consistency - with both your diet and your training. Write down your training and download an app to your phone to keep an eye on what you're eating. My Fitness Pal is great; even if you're not 100% with every grain of rice you're consuming you'll be more aware of ingredients etc. Grab it on Android or iPhone.
And good luck!