Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Year and New Resolutions - By Jim Duggan

It's that time of the year. The time when just about everyone makes New Year's resolutions. And in about two or three weeks, most-if not all-of these various resolutions will be history. As it relates to exercise and fitness, most people resolve to either lose weight, or to work out more. Unfortunately, most people make resolutions that are not only unrealistic, but are just about impossible to keep.

If you've spent the better part of the past year sitting on your fat aspirations and think that you will start the new year by going on a strict diet and lose a lot of weight in a short time, you are kidding yourself. Likewise, if you've spent the last twelve months having lifted nothing heavier than a fork, and think that you will all of a sudden hit the gym everyday and become a Hercules by the end of the month, then give me a call. I've got some NY Giants playoff tickets I'd like to sell you. 

The fact of the matter is that any goal- whether it be losing weight or getting stronger- requires a plan. The plan should include short-term as well as long-term goals. The goals have to be specific. As well as realistic and progressive. Simply stating " I want to lose weight" is not going to be enough. You must have a short-term goal, a deadline for that goal, and a plan to reach that goal. If you state that you want to get stronger, without having a plan, and a series of short-term poundage goals, then you will not be successful.    
Now, in order to be able to attain your goals, you are going to have to work. Everybody wants to shoot for something, but if you are not willing to put in the effort, then you will just be wasting your time. Before you can put in the effort, you must be willing to ask yourself some serious questions. And you must be honest with yourself. What are your strong points? More importantly, what are your weak points? How do you plan on enhancing your strong points while trying to improve your weak points? What will it take to remove any and all obstacles standing between you and success?

When it comes to losing weight, you can forget about fad diets and the supposed weight-loss supplements that are being advertised. They won't work. There is no secret, no matter what the infomercials tell you. You must burn more calories than you consume. Simple thermal dynamics, if you will. If you need dietary advice, seek out a registered dietician or qualified nutritionist. Do NOT seek advice from people at the gym. Unless, of course, you are fortunate enough to train in the company of dieticians, nutritionists, and doctors.

As far as working out is concerned, you must have a sensible workout plan. A program that consists of the basic movements like Squats, Bench Presses, Deadlifts, and Overhead Presses will provide all the stimulation you will need. If you train consistently, and progressively, you will make gains. If you give yourself ample time to recover, you will avoid going stale. This will go a long way in maintaining your enthusiasm. There are many talented writers on this website, and the articles contained herein offer a number of basic, no-nonsense training information. There is also a vast wealth of information available in the strength training books offered on this site. (See the links to All of them are top-quality, written by some of the legendary figures in the Iron Game. But no matter how much good information you have at your disposal, it is ultimately up to you to provide the effort. Nobody can supply that but you. This may mean waking up extra early in order to get to the gym and lift. Or it may mean giving up something else that you prefer to do. A good motto would be "Whatever it takes." Decide what will required to reach your exercise goals, then go and do it. Sure, there will be effort required, but isn't it worth it? And if you're worried about the gym being too crowded at this time of year don't worry. In a few weeks the crowds will drop off dramatically. And more resolutions will have vanished. Until next New Year's. 

Happy and Healthy New Year to Everyone!
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