When it comes to your 2017 fat loss goals, do you have a new strategy for success? In a world of “stick with what you know” and K.I.S.S.–or “keep it simple, stupid,” the idea of doing something new to improve your results may feel counter-intuitive. And likely so. After all, when you get out of your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before, you’re bound to fail–or at the very least not be at any sort of stellar level. The learning process can be discouraging and make you want to go running back to everything you already know.
But let’s not forget that routines can get boring, and boring can lead to plateaus in progress and ruts in motivation. Having a new plan in place may be just wake-up call needed to do more, be better, and feel even more awesome!
Not sure where to start? Try these strategies to change up how you approach fat loss, fitness, and goals this year.
Strategy for Success 1: Burn more fat while strength training.
Lifting weights or using resistance during bodyweight exercises is a great way to build muscle and burn fat. And while straight cardio tends not to produce the same sort of results, it doesn’t mean you can’t get your heart pumping. Instead of setting aside cardio for its own workout, combine it with weights using one of these methods:
- HIIT It: Known as “high intensity interval training,” HIIT can help your body work harder in less time than straight strength training or cardio alone can do. To do it, combine explosive
movements with functional strength exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, overhead press, and lunges. So instead of just squatting add a jump at the top. For deadlifts, complete one rep then put the bar on the floor and jump over it sideways before turning to do another rep. You might need to drop the weight you’re lifting, but your intensity will be through the roof.
- Make it a circuit. Another way to up your heart’s BPM is by turning a standard lifting routine into a circuit. Choose all the exercise that you want to do in your lifting routine and have the equipment set up and ready to go (if you’re at a gym, make sure you’re not hogging too many pieces). Complete eight to 12 reps of each exercise, but instead of resting in between each set, go right into the next exercise. Once all of your exercises are completed back-to-back, you’ve completed one set. Rest for one minute before jumping into your next set. Complete a total of three to four sets, using good form in your lifts throughout. The idea is to keep your body moving, not to beat the clock.
Strategy for Success 2: Ditch your scale.
If you’re a slave to the scale, then you know what a little devil that device can be. While it’s normal to want validation for the hard work you’ve put into fitness and eating right, the scale is not the place to find it. Sure, there will be some days when the number it shows makes you elated, but since it doesn’t tell the whole truth about what’s happening in your body–you know, water weight, hormones, stress, muscle mass–more often than not, what it shows can be defeating. If that feeling makes you want to binge eat, slack off, or even quit, than it’s really done you in–and likely did so all with bold face lies.
If you aren’t seeing the changes by looking in the mirror each day, try these strategies to track your progress and change when needed instead:
- Take photos. Little changes add up over time. So while you might not see them day-to-day, put a few weeks or months in between and you’ll be probably see you’ve come a long way!
- Measure up. A tape measure can tell you more than a scale. Write down your bust, biceps, waist, hips, and thighs in inches to see how they transform over time.
- Compare to clothing. Have a dress or pair of jeans that once fit you but now won’t zip up? Try this garment on periodically to see the progress your body is making.
- Check endurance. Complete a base workout and write down the time it took you to do. Every so often, repeat this workout to see how your body is improving to shave off seconds and maybe even minutes. You can also do this with distances.
Strategy for Success 3: Get a coach.
Solo fitness is great, as you can work out when it’s right for you. On the flip side, training alone can mean you’re not pushing yourself hard enough, you’re using poor form, you’re not holding yourself responsible when excuses start to come easily, and you’re not trying new exercises (mainly because you don’t know what you don’t know). A coach can help you to simply learn the basics or break through plateaus that have been holding you stagnant. Here are a couple coach options:
- Hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help introduce to you to the wonderful world of fitness, showing you the ropes if you’re a newb. He or she can also help you to achieve body goals in a more efficient manner than you’re currently doing on your own. Some can even help you to tailor your eating habits to get the most gains (or losses, in terms of fat).
- Join a group. Running and biking clubs, CrossFit, and bootcamps are options when you don’t have the money for one-on-one training but would still like good guidance. Those heading up these kinds of groups can share knowledgeable tips on form, while also programming workouts that are scalable to every intensity needed by the group participants. Bonus: You have built-in cheerleaders pushing you to do your best.
What strategies do you have planned for this year? Share with us in the comments!