In the fitness game, the most common goals by far are to lose body fat or to "get in shape."
The problem is these goals, and others like them, are rarely met or even seriously chased.
Every January people flood commercial gyms like moths going toward the light.
When a few weeks pass and that person has not attained their ideal physique (I've seen it!), they will quit before February.
Their attendance will be spotty throughout the remainder of the year until the next year starts.
This behavior is pathetic. Doing this song and dance every year gets you nowhere and you end up looking like a complete joke.
One Year From Today
My challenge to you is simple. I challenge you 1 year from today to be better than you are right now.
I want you to be better in all areas of your life, but for the scope of this article let's keep this limited to health, fitness, and athletic performance.
One year from today I want you to be stronger. This means committing to the iron and focusing on the basic moves to build strength.
One year from today I want you to actually be in shape. This means committing to doing tough conditioning workouts like pushing the Prowler and embracing the challenge.
One year from today I want you to be more athletic. This means you need to sprint, jump, and lift like an athlete.
One year from today I want you to be leaner. This means you need to eat correctly the majority of the time and stop letting food rule you.
One year from today I want you to be mentally tougher. This means you do not need to quit like an immature child or a coward when things do not go your way.
One year from today I want you to look back and say "I accepted Fitman's challenge and my life is greatly better for it."
The key to doing this would be to have a plan. Without a solid plan of action, you will be sailing at sea with no map.
The 3 things that you can do to be stronger, leaner, and healthier one year from today are:
1. Commit to a Progressive Training Program
When you hop from workout program to program every week like Bugs Bunny you will never see success.
Exercises do not need to be fancy. They just need to allow you a way to make consistent progress.
This is why progressive overload will work wonders for a trainee who can commit to the plan.
If you squat 135lbs for 3 x 10 reps on your first day of training and you squat 135lbs for 3 x 10 reps again 1 year from now do you honestly think your legs will look any different?
The answer is a resounding no.
If you are training with a personal trainer and always using the same exact weight for the same exact reps with the same exact rest times then you need to start to ask some questions.
Training should always be uncomfortable. The weight being used, the amount of reps you perform, and the amount of rest you take between sets are the key to building your body.
This applies to conditioning too.
Many folks do "cardio" on a lame, soul-draining machine and then think they are doing something.
I'll tell you exactly what they are doing: wasting their time!
With the vast amount of things that your body can do like sprint, push the Prowler, or perform bodyweight conditioning moves, there is no reason to waste your time on these lame “cardio” machines.
When is the last time you ever saw anything inspiring happening in the “cardio” section?
When was the last time you saw someone who was in phenomenal shape using a treadmill/elliptical/stairmaster as their main tool to get conditioned? I'll wait.
What you need to do is to stick to a basic training program that will keep you accountable and allow you to build serious muscle, strength, and conditioning.
By working through the inevitable tough times that the program will offer and you will be rewarded with a fantastic physique.
2. Commit to Eating Correctly
So eating correctly does not mean you need to starve yourself by eating lettuce leaves at every meal.
It also does not mean that you need to hop on the latest fad diet because it is being promoted by Charley Celebrity.
All eating correctly means is that your diet needs to be based around basic, whole foods that will lead you to become stronger, healthier, and leaner.
Lean meats, whole grains, healthy fats, correctly timed starches, vegetables, and fruits will be the base of what you eat.
You can make it easier by even initially counting and tracking your macronutrients.
You cannot let food rule you and continue to make poor choices daily.
This will only derail any attempt you are trying to make to improve your physique.
If you continue to train without paying any attention to your diet, then you will continue to spin your wheels until the end of time.
You will not be able to reach your physique goals without watching your nutrition.
The whole key to successful dieting is having a sustainable diet that you can immediately modify for whatever your goals are.
Gimmick diets are the definition of fake hustle.
3. Prioritize Recovery
If you are sleeping 3-5 hours a night and trying to maximize your physique and performance you will fall short.
If you are holding on to stress all the time and have not developed the ability to move forward, you will also compromise your gains.
Focus on getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you are falling short and we all do, try taking a short nap during the day to give yourself the boost that you need.
Holding on to stress and negativity from your past does absolutely nothing to help you today because the past cannot be changed.
You can learn from your past mistakes so that you do not make them again. But you cannot continue to live in the past.
I have failed financially, been devastatingly heartbroken, and have had great friends die before their time.
Those events were all tough to deal with at the time. But I could not continue to stay in the past or I would not have been able to continue to create my future.
You cannot expect success overnight as it takes years to build a complete and great physique.
I'm personally holding everyone accountable who reads this article including myself to make progress over the next year. If you make no progress over the next year then you need to take a serious look in the mirror.
Only you can stop yourself from attaining maximum success.
Only you can hold yourself back from the greatness that awaits you.
Blaming everyone else or blaming your situation is the coward's way out.
Accept responsibility and then accept the challenge to get better.
One year from today you have to be better or you are a failure. The countdown begins now.
Hmm...last time I saw something inspiring in the cardio section? Saw someone training for their first marathon. Saw someone recovering from a major ankle surgery. Saw someone taking their first steps off the couch and into the gym because they wanted to try a triathlon (why hadn't they done it before? Perhaps they were afraid of the scorn heaped on them from those who think the only measure of merit is muscle size?).
Sure, this is a muscle-focused site. I get it. But to disparage people who focus on other areas of fitness is, in your words, lame.