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It's that time of year again...time to focus on your New Year's resolutions. Many people begin an exercise program, but abandon it before Easter. However, you can increase your chances for long-term success if you follow these five simple tips to achieve your fitness goals.

1. Understand where you are at

Be honest with yourself. Are you a sedentary individual who spends 8-10 hours a day in front of a screen, or are you striving to be an elite level athlete? It doesn't matter! Forget about other people and stop comparing yourself. Knowing where you are currently at is going to have a huge impact when we come to setting goals. If we don't know where we are at, we can't be specific in terms of where we would like to be. Complete the following steps to get a better idea of your current status:

How many times a week am I exercising?

How much time a week is spent exercising?

What type of exercise am I doing and how intense is it?

Am I happy with how I look?

How many push ups can I do?

How long does it take me to run 1 kilometre?

2. Determine what success would look like to you in 3 months, 6 months and 1 year

It is important that you spend some real time thinking about this. STOP being VAGUE and be very clear in terms of what you would like to look like, how far you would like to be able to run, swim, cycle, how much stronger you would like to be. Too many people aren't clear enough about what success looks like to them, without a clear picture in your head of your end goal, it becomes very easy to lose track of both progress and motivation. Have an idea of where you want to be in a years time, but then work backwards. 365 days can feel like a very long time, but 3 months on the other hand isn't so bad. Use the 3 and 6 month marks to check your progress and see whether you are on path, if not, then why?

Just because you haven't met your targets at the 3 month point, doesn't mean you won't achieve them at the 6 month mark. In the same way if you haven't met your targets at the 6 month mark it doesn't mean that at the one year mark you can't achieve what you set out to, but use these milestones to reflect and make yourself accountable. What needs to change for you to get back on track?

3. Do a personal lifestyle assessment

Don't just focus on your training! One of the biggest problems that I have seen by most people over the years is putting all their effort into building good exercise habits and regime, with no attention paid to how much sleep they are getting, or what food and drink they are putting into their body. In order to see good quality results from the effort you are putting in at the gym then you must be willing to analyse the rest of your lifestyle. You may have heard the phrase before "muscle isn't made in the gym, it is made in the bedroom", which couldn't be more true. When we exercise we are putting the body under stress, causing an increase in cortisol, whilst also breaking down our muscles (particularly with HIIT and weight training). We become fitter, stronger and faster during the minutes, hours and days post-exercise when we are allowing the body to recover from the stress we have placed it under. Providing the body with enough sleep and the right nutrients post workout are essential components to reaping the rewards of our efforts from training.

You wouldn't spend thousands of pounds buying your perfect car, only to fill it with the wrong fuel, so why invest your time and money in learning about how to train properly if you are only going to eat processed foods that don't provide you with the energy you need to perform at your peak.

4. Understand what type of training will help you reach your goals

Want to get faster? Great, don't do lots of high repetitions at a slow pace. Focusing on getting faster by executing movement for less repetitions but at maximum speed. Want to lose weight? Great, but don't follow a training plan that has 3 minute rest periods between sets. One of the biggest issues in the fitness industry is that individuals (whether athletes, coaches, or general population) don't understand how to make their training program specific to their goals. Building a program based around where you are currently at and where you would like to be requires attention to detail and knowledge. If you are interested in optimising results in a faster time then get in contact and we can give you more information about our online coaching programs that are tailored to you.

5. Be real, be patient, be consistent.

At Higher Level Performance we don't consider training something we do for overnight results, it is not something we do to win a football match, or to look better to wear a certain outfit for one occasion. Our approach is about training people for life, yes we want you to think, feel and look better, but our real goal is for you to create a new lifestyle for yourself, a lifestyle that will help you live happier for longer. That is the ultimate goal for every human, to live pain-free and feel happy, healthy and strong at both 18 years of age and 88 years of age. Don't get caught up in all the different hypes of the fitness industry, people trying to sell you overnight success. You aren't going to lose 10 kilograms in a week, it simply won't happen, so don't set it as a target. Linking back to the first point we made, understand where you are at. For example, if you are currently doing no exercise a week, then try starting with 2-3 30 minute gentle sessions to get you started. If you are a tennis player that wants to improve speed around the court, think about implementing 1-2 sessions with a speed coach a week. Results do not happen overnight, think big picture and keep your long-term vision in mind when motivation levels are low or dwindling. CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!

Want help with making 2020 your fittest year yet? Get in contact with us to learn more about our online coaching programs and how we can help you.

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