If you're serious about your fitness resolutions and are willing to do the work needed to achieve them, nothing is out of your reach. One way to improve your chances of success is to make smarter resolutions.
Everybody makes resolutions heading into the New Year. And the majority of those resolutions focus on improvements in health and fitness.
Unfortunately, most of those people struggle to meet their goals and end their year in similar shape to the way they started it.
But it doesn't have to be that way. If you're serious about your resolutions and are willing to do the work needed to achieve them, nothing is out of your reach. One way to improve your chances of success is to make smart resolutions.
Here are five commonly made resolutions, followed by the resolutions you should be making instead:
1. Instead of resolving to lose weight, resolve to lower your body fat percentage.
Your body composition can be broken down into two categories: fat mass and fat-free mass. You fat-free mass includes your muscle, bones and vital organs. Fat mass is just that, fat.
We all need to have a certain amount of fat in our bodies to function properly. But people who are overweight tend to have an unhealthy amount of body fat. That is the area that should be targeted. Losing fat (not just weight), while holding onto to most of your fat-free mass, will make you leaner, stronger and healthier.
2. Instead of resolving to diet, resolve to eat healthy.
Dieting can help you lose weight, but that weight loss is temporary. What happens when you go off your diet?
But those who go from eating unhealthy to eating healthy can change their lives forever.
3. Instead of resolving to increase your maximum bench press (or squat or deadlift or any other particular lift), resolve to make yourself stronger.
One-rep maximum lifts lead to injuries and do very little to improve your overall strength.
If you do some low-rep sets (5-10 rep range), some moderate-rep sets (10-15) and some high reps (15-20), you'll activate more muscle fibers and significantly improve your strength.
4. Instead of resolving to run farther or faster (or to do any one kind of cardio exercise longer or faster), resolve to do different kinds of cardio exercise and different techniques.
If you're used to long-distance or short-distance cardio, try high-intensity interval cardio, where you cycle between short periods of very intense exercise and periods of slow to moderate exercise. This practice will improve your long-distance time and your short-distance performances. It will also make your heart and lungs stronger.
5. Instead of resolving to make changes for 2014, resolve to make lifetime changes.
January isn't just the first month of the year, it's the first month of the rest of your life. Make it a healthy life and a productive life. It all starts now.
Frank Shelton is a certified fitness trainer and owner of The Village Gym. He can be reached at (302) 376-3060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.