Planning is key to fulfilling your fitness resolutions

January 25, 2014

Q: I did it again. I let myself go over the holiday season and am now paying the price. Weight gain, lack of energy and low motivation have set in, and I’m having trouble getting back on a workout routine. The abnormally cold temperatures have only made matters worse as I’d rather go home and get warm after work than drive across town to the gym. Nevertheless, I have committed myself to a new year’s resolution of getting back in shape. Do you have any quick advice on how I can be successful?

During the month of January, gyms across the country will be full of people with good intentions, but those who start correctly will have a much better chance of being successful. Here are a few tips to give you an edge.

Start slowly

I believe the most common mistake people make is starting too fast. They become so frustrated over the holidays, they try to do too much before their bodies are ready and end up injured or discouraged because they aren’t making progress. It makes more sense to ease back into your workouts, giving your body a chance to adjust. A good rule of thumb is to begin with 60 percent effort and increase 10 percent each week until you have reached maximum.

Design a plan

You wouldn’t build a house without first paying someone to draw up a blueprint, so why wouldn’t you give your body the same consideration? Taking the time to personalize your own workout is a great way to learn more about fitness as well as take control of your own destiny. If you need help, hire a personal trainer. The money will be well spent and will help you avoid mistakes that could be the difference between success and failure.

Include a diet plan

Any fitness plan without a proper diet is doomed from the start, so be sure to do your research and be willing to change your lifestyle. You must eat smaller, more frequent meals, increase protein intake, avoid sugar and processed carbs, and drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day minimum. Combine these rules with weight training and cardio, and the results will be well worth the effort.

Record your results

Over the years, I’ve found you can greatly increase a person’s chance of success by requiring them to keep track of their own progress. Seeing their results on paper helps keep them motivated and keeps them from staying in the comfort zone of doing the same workouts day after day. All it takes is a notebook and a pen.

Change it up

When you first start working out, results come easily, but if you want to continue to make progress, you have to learn to change things up. This can be done by adding weight and reps, switching exercises, reducing rest periods or designing new workouts. The possibilities are endless, and trying new things will keep you from getting bored and complacent.

Stay consistent

It’s important to remember that staying in shape is a lifelong journey.

There are no quick fixes, and at the end of the day, consistency has everything to do with how successful you will be. If you have a bad week, shake it off and get back to it, but don’t quit or you will never reach your goals.

Remember, January is the month of broken promises for thousands of Americans who told themselves this year would be different, but what separates those who succeed from those who fail is having a plan in place to guide them in the right direction.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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