Looking to embark on your fitness journey this January but don’t know where to start? It can be a daunting step to take, but with the help of these top tips from PT and Media Fitness Expert, Carly Yue, you’ll soon be hurtling towards the body you thought you’d never have…  

You can’t out-train a bad diet

I can't stress enough how important it is to educate yourself and become aware of the food you're eating, and the impact that it is having on your health. Many people will eat clean for a few days and then drink their daily calorie allowance in alcohol at weekends, blaming their healthy routine for their lack of results. The harsh truth is that you can't put in half the effort and expect perfect results.

Train for the goal you want

All too often people resort to what they know when it comes to their fitness routine. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got. If you want to build muscle and lose fat, then lift! The spinning class that you do three times per week is not going to change your body shape drastically. If your goal is to run a marathon, you need to strength train alongside your cardio to ensure balance and prevent injuries. If you're a busy parent and struggle to make time for the gym, train smart. Do half an hour in your lunch break or before work, do HIIT training rather than steady cardio, and add in deadlifts, squats and other compound exercises for strength and fat loss.

Have a plan

Do yourself a favour and have a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) plan. Don’t set yourself up to fail! One of the worst mistakes we can make is embarking on a program we do not understand or cannot achieve. This often results in failed attempts that were either too difficult to be sustainable, or something our current fitness or movement abilities made impossible to follow.

Keep going

If at first you don’t succeed, that's human, keep going. We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to being strict with ourselves, rewarding our “good behaviour” and chastising ourselves for being less than perfect. This is not useful and will only ever lead to giving up or feeling miserable. If you hit a road block, work out how to climb it. If you're exhausted, take a rest but do not quit. If you hit a plateau, seek help from an expert.

Make the most of your time

Time is often the big limiting factor for those wishing to embark on a new fitness regime, but it doesn’t have to be. By choosing exercises that give you more bang for your buck will ensure those fitness goals are achievable, so choose multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, HIIT (high intensity interval training) or sprint intervals. All of the above ensure a high rate of work during a short period of time. I never spend longer than an hour in the gym. Any longer than that is counterproductive and let's be honest, we all have lives outside of training that need time and attention too.

Stay motivated with mini goals

These goals are often the building blocks to something life changing. Keep these goals small enough to be achieved regularly, always moving closer to that ultimate goal. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! A mini goal could be to swim twice per week, drink one less glass of wine with dinner, or take a leap and book that first PT session. Don't try to do everything at once, be kind to yourself.

Ditch the excuses

Even the most organised of us can become a victim of unexpected complications at work, in our social lives, our relationships or our family life. You have to learn to be flexible and make time to exercise and eat well. Whatever is happening, prioritise yourself. You are no good to anyone if you aren't firing on all cylinders and taking care of number one.  Find a way, not an excuse!

Power in numbers

Training with a friend or a Personal Trainer can have several benefits, the most obvious of which is motivation. I refer to the motivation not only to start, but to remain consistent to the program. This can also provide added accountability by having another person to answer to when we may have otherwise allowed ourselves to skip out on a training session. Having a friend to share and celebrate your success with will provide encouragement to continue on your road to success and beyond.

Know your ‘whys’

Why are you doing this? When it comes to changing your lifestyle to achieve your new goal, is there enough ‘why’ to keep you going? In order to succeed and stay motivated, the reason why you're doing something needs to be at the forefront of your mind. Having an exact vision of what you have accomplished and where you want to go is a constant source of inspiration, motivation and of course, reward. Goals change! Update them, tick them off, and create bigger and better goals as your confidence and knowledge grows!

Beware of the scales

Otherwise known as the biggest liar in the fitness industry. More often than not, the ‘progress expert’ named weighing scales can do major damage and derail a new trainee’s best efforts if it shows little or no movement. We must keep in mind that the scale only reads weight, not fat! During the initial weeks of training it is not unusual for trainees to gain valuable metabolic boosting muscle to help burn fat, hence why sometimes the scales show a results that you are not happy with. Time and again a scale is used to monitor progress when we have significantly better information at our disposal – pictures. Why settle for digits when a photo tells a thousand words? Let your eyes, clothes and mood show you what progress you’ve made before consulting the scale. Remember, progress is not all about weight or aesthetics, it's about confidence, socialising, health and much more!

[caption id="attachment_641" align="aligncenter" width="150"]Carly Tierney Personal Trainer Guest post by PT & Media Fitness Expert Carly Yue.[/caption]