Happy New Year!
A new year has dawned and we’re facing 365 days of open possibilities.
It’s a fresh start, right?
“This is the year that will be different.”
Many have said it but who means it?
If you’re one that wants to make 2018 THE year of YOU, then these 18 tips are essential so keep reading.
1. Get Your Checkup
Looking great is awesome and picking up whatever weight you want can be very inspiring but at the end of the day, this is about health. So, every six months you should set up an appointment with your physician to get a physical, have your blood work checked, and evaluate how to move forward.
This is more than legal jargon – it's legit advice. You want to know if something is wrong sooner so you can treat it faster.
2. Set Your Social Media Properly
If you’re reading this then there’s a good chance that you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or all of the above. Most tech experts say that 50% of the time spent on a smartphone are on social media platforms.
Make that time work for you and help you reach your goals. Follow and be friends with positive people and those awesome folks you look up to in the industry. While you’re at it, follow M&S on those platforms too.
3. Take Photos Weekly
It’s one thing to feel results. It’s another to see it.
Take that camera on your phone and set it up to take a selfie or shot of you standing facing forwards and of your back. Do this every week on the same day around the same time and make sure the lighting is similar.
You can literally watch yourself change over the course of the year. If you don’t see results, then you know you should change things up.
4. Measure Your Progress In Other Ways
Monitoring progress is more than the eye test. Numbers can go a long way in showing you where you stand compared to when you started.
If it’s strength, it could be by doing occasional max tests. If you want to achieve a certain size, do measurements every few weeks. You can use the scale, clothes sizes, or whatever number motivates you the most.
As long as it motivates you and you work to make that number go in the right direction, that’s what matters.
5. Stay Organized
This isn’t just about your fitness but your overall life. It’s much easier to get through your day and accomplish your tasks if you go about it in an organized fashion.
Write out your list of tasks, set appointments on your calendar, and go through your day without feeling a sense of chaos. With everything else addressed, you can take on your training with a clear mind.
6. Check Your Mattress
If something takes up a third of your day and your lifetime, you should take it seriously, right? Let’s have a discussion about sleep.
Rest is the biggest aspect of your recovery and improvement. If you’re tossing and turning before dozing off, it will take a toll. If your mattress isn’t comfortable then you need to make the first big investment of your year in a new one.
Most people think they need to take product “X” or knock out more reps when in reality they just need a couple more hours of comfortable rest.
7. Invest In Your Recovery
Now this isn’t necessarily meaning you should go buy more recovery supplements. This is more about other forms of recovery like deep tissue massage, chiropractor work, acupuncture if you prefer, or even buying a TENS machine.
Fitness is about much more than the time you’re in the gym training. If you don’t take your recovery seriously, you won’t reach your full potential, period. Whatever your budget allows, do it.
8. Set Aside Time To Learn
Even the greatest teachers remains students of their crafts. That means in order to be the masters they always take time to learn more. This should be your approach.
Whether it’s during your lunch break, first thing in the morning, or any point in your day that you can spare time, spend 15-20 minutes to learn something new about fitness and health. By the end of the year, you might be confident enough to share knowledge yourself.
9. Get Your Water In Early
We all know that’s important to stay hydrated. So we drink a lot of water every day. The issue is that we have to go to the bathroom more often. This can be a problem when we’re trying to go to bed.
So drink the bulk of your water early in the morning. Start with 16 ounces every hour for the first four hours you’re awake. This is already a half gallon before noon if you get up early enough.
Drink the rest up until the early evening so you can go the rest of the day without having to force more in.
10. The Reason They Are Supplements
Supplements are awesome but you should remember why they are what they are. Supplements do just that. They “supplement” an already proper nutrition and workout program.
If your nutrition isn’t on point and you’re not training hard, then you’re literally wasting your money because they won’t be as effective. Don’t just buy what’s trending. Make sure what you get will help you reach your goals.
11. Eat Slowly
We live in a world that’s fast paced and trying to get to the next thing now. Patience is a virtue but it’s not seen very often nowadays. So when it comes time for a meal, we rush through it so we can move on.
Unfortunately, our digestive systems don’t work that way. Taking our time to eat means those nutrients will be processed properly so there is less of a chance that we’ll be bloated, stuffed, and we won’t eat excess calories which would get stored as bodyfat.
12. Film Yourself Training
This is one of those tips that appears arrogant to say the least but hear me out. What do football players do during the week before their next game on the following Saturday or Sunday? They practice and watch game film.
This is what you should be doing. Most of you reading this have smartphones with cameras. You can critique your own form, see where you might be struggling, and you might even motivate yourself by seeing how you train from a third person perspective.
There are advantages to it. You can either have a partner film you when you don’t need a spot or set your phone up at a solid spot.
For all the obvious reasons, fitness is perceived as being physical but a true master knows that the body follows where the mind goes. Getting your head right will go a long way in making each workout a great one.
Even if it’s for a few minutes, take time to sit in a quiet room with nothing on and clear your head. The only thing you should be concerned with is concentrating on nothing. Sit or lie comfortably and relax.
Once you’ve done this for the amount of time you can commit, the workout will be better because you can focus.
14. Warm Up Properly
I know you might be anxious to get right into the clanging and banging but it would go a long way for you to commit that first few minutes to preparing the entire body for what’s about to take place.
Work on preparing everything from head to toe whether it’s light reps, cardio, stretching, or all of the above. If everything is functioning correctly and you’re not feeling tight, then you can attack whatever you’re focusing on with full and clear intention.
15. Focus On Flexibility
The body can’t just be about “show”, it needs to be about “go” as well. That means you should have a full range of motion and not feel restricted by tight muscles.
You might not be able to do a full split but you should have no problem touching your toes or achieving a full squat position. You should also be able to fully rotate your arms without feeling pain as well as reaching straight up over your head.
16. Challenge Yourself Weekly
We all have our weaknesses. When faced with weaknesses we should work to make them strengths. Avoiding them helps no one.
One day a week devote a workout to that weakness and find a way to challenge yourself to improve. Do you struggle with pull ups? Commit your next back workout to doing 200 of them. Legs not that great? Do a 30-40 set workout to blast them. These are just examples of course.
There are other ways and you can find your own strategies to attack your blemishes.
17. Approach Each Set the Same
Basketball players shoot with the same form, baseball players go to the plate with the same stance, and lifters need to approach their work sets the same way too.
Watch powerlifters approach the platform. There’s one way they do it every time.
To be more comfortable and maximize your chances of making the set count, you should prepare and approach the weight the same way.
18. Don’t Quit!
This is one that you always see but many don’t follow.
I don’t care how hard you’re struggling, how many plateaus you face, or what goal you keep coming up short on. The only sure fire way to fail is to quit. As long as you push on, you have a chance.
Did you quit in 2017, 2016, or before? Don’t do it in 2018.