Pro Tips

7 Common New Year's Fitness Resolutions (and How to Keep Them)

Expert tips from personal trainer, weight loss guru and author, Michael Moody.

7 Common New Year's Fitness Resolutions (and How to Keep Them)

There’s one thing nearly all of us have in common: we’ve made a New Year’s resolution at some point in our lives. Another commonality? We didn’t stick to it.

The most common New Year’s resolutions for 2015, according to Marist Poll, was to lose weight, exercise more and be a better person and improve health, respectively. With these in mind, we turned to Chicago-based personal trainer, weight loss guru and author, Michael Moody, for advice on sticking to the most common (and most difficult) resolutions. His inspirational health and fitness book, Redefine Yourself: The Simple Guide to Happiness and his ten-years of experience will help guide you and, well, redefine yourself. Here are his tips:

Resolution 1:  Get in Shape

The most common misconception about getting in shape is the primary importance of fitness.  While fitness plays a pivotal role in your strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, and cardio endurance, it still relies heavily on your nutrition.  Without the proper nutrition for your body type, you will not have the energy or building blocks to sculpt the healthy body you want. Any nutritional deficit or inflammation will certainly affect your ability to get in shape, live to 100, or reduce injury.

Resolution 2: Start a Diet

A lot has been written on the specific nutrition for different body types. Unfortunately, achieving optimal health isn't as easy as following these general recommendations. Each person must consider a unique approach because of his or her individual activity levels, sensitivity to foods, coping behaviors, and adaptable stress system. There's nothing more important than studying your body's true needs through weight and body fat tracking, blood and blood sugar level tests, and dietary logging (including calories, nutritional breakdown, serving size, and physical reaction to the food). You must determine your sensitivity to food and learn about the proper combination (vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, protein, and fats) you need in a given point. Most importantly, no matter the ratio you discover, you must limit the amount of inflammation in the body (which can be an obstacle to your fitness goals). Commonly, the following foods cause the most inflammation (and unwanted weight) in the body: 

  • Dairy 
  • Grains (including whole wheat and all bran)
  • Red meat
  • Processed foods (including dietary supplements)
  • Refined sugars 
  • Alcohol 

With the Internet and television, nutritional advice seems to be endless and often conflicting. Do yourself a favor and don't just take someone else's word for it. Study your own body's needs and quit taking guesses!

Resolution 3: Stay Motivated 

Considering that each person is different, there isn't a single strategy to motivate yourself when you want to give up. While some people persevere when given a strict structure to follow, other people are intimidated and won’t push themselves. Add in societal pressures, personality traits, family and work demands, and natural limitations, it's surprising that anyone has the strength to sift through these factors and push through. The best advice is to become a human scientist – study your physical, mental, emotional self and your habits, decision-making process, and problem solving approach. By utilizing this strategy, you are reducing the ambiguity of the process in the simplest way and identifying your strengths and weaknesses for the most efficient approach. You will feel more control over your situation and able to target the undermining reasons for giving up.

Resolution 4:  Make Health and Fitness a Lifestyle Change

After nearly 10 years of personal training and research, I have learned that your mental approach is the steering factor of staying in shape. You will most likely reach your goal but whether or not you maintain this success is questionable. Who can blame you! There are too many distractions and pulls in life. The best advice is to clearly define boundaries based on your needs, not your wants, and use this set of rules as you approach the unknowns of life. I don't think it's reasonable to assume that you'll make perfect choices each day. With reasonable boundaries based on your body and habits (not anyone else's), you'll keep yourself in check and stay in shape.