So January came and went, and before you know it February will be here. What happened to starting those New Year’s resolutions? You promised you’d be working out five days a week while doing a gluten-, alcohol- and sugar-free cleanse. But instead, the long hours back at work combined with low energy and a lack of motivation have pretty much killed your get-in-shape plans. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late. I’m a fan of New Year’s resolutions mostly because any excuse that motivates people to make improvements in their life is always a good thing. But the reality is you don’t need a New Year, a Monday, a wedding or a beach holiday to motivate you into getting healthy. You just need to want it badly enough! The better you feel physically, the easier it will be to make healthy eating choices and to fit your exercise in. So let’s focus on some simple steps to get you feeling good, so that you’ll want to tackle those New Year’s resolutions…before spring hits. #1. Intention. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I want?
- Why do I want this?
- How badly do I want this?
- What am I willing to do in order to achieve it?
Write these questions and answers down somewhere—even if it’s just in the notes app on your phone. As cheesy as this may sound, knowing your intention is an important step in any resolution. When you are having a low motivation day, go back and read what you’ve written to help keep yourself on track. #2. Sleep. Without enough sleep (8 hours) you won’t have the energy to hit the gym. You also won’t be able to properly recover from your workouts. Don’t listen to those idiots who tell you you’ll live longer with less sleep. You don’t get bigger, stronger, faster or leaner in the gym unless you are getting the proper rest and nutrition after exercise. If you train hard without enough sleep, not only will you see very little results but also you can actually gain unwanted fat! #3. Water. The odds of you losing fat if you aren’t hydrated properly is pretty much zilch. You are made of more than 60% water so don’t expect your body to function properly when your tank is empty. Also, the number one cause of fatigue during the day is dehydration. Want more energy during the day? Drink more water. The rule of thumb to follow: Drink half your bodyweight in ounces each day in order to be properly hydrated. And coffee, milk, juice and caffeinated tea don’t count. Be sure to avoid any flavoured or “vitamin” types of water as they are full of sugars, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours, dyes and/or low-quality vitamins. #4. Sugar. This simple carbohydrate will have your energy fluctuating all over the place during the day and will help you pack on the fat faster than you can imagine. Avoid all added sugars and just go for naturally occurring sugars if you need a fix (i.e. fruit). Watch your fruit intake, though, because it’s easy to consume too much fruit sugar. Skip the juice unless it’s made fresh right in front of you. Once juice has been squeezed from fruit it oxidizes very quickly and essentially becomes flavoured sugar water…see point #3. #5. Food Quality. This one sounds like a no brainer—it’s all about “eating healthy”, right? Well, yes, but I have a challenge for you: Make a shift in how you look at food. Most people make food decisions based on how much time they have, how hungry they are or how much money they have. Instead, ask yourself what kind of energy (life force) that the food is going to give you. Almost every cell in your body gets rebuilt and replaced over the course of a year based on the nutrition you put into it. You literally are what you eat. When you sit down and eat a fast food meal full of processed garbage your cells, your thoughts and your energy in return become garbage. What do you think the odds are of making healthy decisions like going to that yoga class after work when you’ve put garbage into your body all day? Not likely. So ask yourself how much energy do you think a protein smoothie is going to provide vs. a Starbucks breakfast, a fresh salad vs. a Tim Horton’s lunch, or a burger and fries vs. a homemade stir-fry dinner? Here’s an easy tip: If the food you are about to eat is a processed food then you’ll gain low energy/life force from it. If it’s a whole food, then you’ll gain real energy.
Follow these five simple tips for 21 days, and by this time next year, you’ll be a completely new you. The 21-day period is important in order to turn each change into new habits. This will be the year those New Year’s resolutions we keep promising ourselves actually happen! Remember, we have a choice in what we’d like to be made of. Jade McClure is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, holistic lifestyle coach and yoga instructor. He believes that no matter how hard you train, you won’t see the results you want unless nutrition and lifestyle are in sync with your program.