Let us guess: you’ve spent the first few days of January taking stock of life, and that includes your physique and fitness. If you’ve decided it’s time to make some positive changes, we hope this list of 9 tips will help you make 2015 a great year.
We all share one thing. Whether you’re an elite sports person, a Pro athlete, or someone who simply loves training hard and eating right, you’re competitive. You demand the best and you want the best for yourself. It makes sense that you set goals and commit to positive training and lifestyle changes in January.
Health and fitness go hand-in-hand and play a massive part in how successful your year ahead will be. Get your training, diet, mindset and healthy lifestyle right and the positive effects will see you move on and up in other areas of your life, too.
Drink more water
Let’s start with the simplest healthy living goals. The body is 80% water, and every system relies on it from cell repair and digestion to brain function. And of course water is a key component of blood, which transports nutrients to your muscles, during and after exercise. But how many of us remember to drink enough water, especially over Winter? Drinking at least 2-3 litres of plain water won’t just make you feel better. It’ll help your body digest food, make use of the nutrients you feed it, and recover better from exercise. The simple act of drinking more water makes you a better athlete!
Get to bed earlier
Sleep might not be glamorous but it’s one of the easiest (not to mention cheapest!) ways to better gym performance. Getting more good quality sleep on a consistent basis will help your mood, balance your hormones, help you manage hunger and appetite and even make it easier to drop body fat and maintain muscle mass. Whilst the evenings are still dark, get into a great new habit of earlier nights so that your sleep routine is in place when Spring arrives.
Make better food choices
You probably already know what you need to do to clean up your diet. If you don’t, there’s plenty of help out there, including our blog posts and chat on our Facebook page. Here are some very simple guidelines you can start using today: use an app (like MyFitnessPal) to calculate and keep an eye on your macronutrient and calorie intake, make sure you take in enough protein (at least 1g of the macronutrient per lb of bodyweight), moderate your carbohydrate intake particularly on non-training days, and up your intake of dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, chard, spring greens, cabbage and dark salad leaves).
Real whole foods are the optimal source of macronutrients and micronutrient in any healthy living diet, but if you train hard you need to get smart about supplements too. Whole foods aren’t always convenient, and supplements can actually be the better option when it comes to speed of absorption or increasing macronutrient levels. Of course, you need to know which supplements are useful and which are a waste of your cash. Why not consider these 5 supplements as part of smarter choices in 2015: a good quality whey protein, a greens powder, a smart carb source like Modcarb, ZMA for recovery, and a quality vitamin or multivitamin complex if you are deficient (most people could benefit from taking a good quality vitamin D3).
Join a club
Get fit, learn new skills and make friends all in one go. Joining a sports club or team is a great way to socialise (do it now and avoid the post-Christmas social slump) and your new group of like-minded friends will keep you motivated and accountable with fitness and nutrition as the year goes on. Strength in numbers!
Treat yourself to trainers
Not a coach (although that would be a good move, too) – nope, we’re talking about training shoes. If you run, get your gait analysed properly and drop cash on the most suitable shoes for your running style. If you lift, why not treat yourself to some lifting shoes? Cyclists could perk up a dull January by seeking out new road or mountain bike shoes in the sales. Get kitted out for your sport and both your performance and motivation will get a boost.
Train with a friend
Here’s an idea. Pair up with a friend and set yourself some fitness goals for 2015. It could be a gym training buddy, a pal who likes power walking, or someone who’s into the same sport as you. It doesn’t matter: the point is that you’re much less likely to be a flake if a training buddy is waiting for you! Having a training partner will keep you motivated and accountable, and make your fitness journey more enjoyable.
Do more of what you love
This is a simple one, but keep it at the front of your mind in 2015 and you won’t go far wrong. Most of us go through periods of stress from work, relationships, finances and lifestyle pressures. And stress can have a really detrimental effect on your health and happiness. It can make it harder to lose fat (and easier to lose muscle!), it can make you crave all the wrong kinds of foods, can damage your motivation and lead to mild depression.
Manage low-level or short periods of stress by being aware of it, and being mindful of doing more of the things you love. This will help you manage stress and reduce the negative effects of it on your fitness and other areas of life too.
So there are your 9 healthy lifestyle habits to adopt for 2015. Whether you choose just one or several, we’re sure it’ll have a positive impact on your health and happiness in 2015.
About the Author:
Nicola Joyce has been writing for (and about) sport, fitness, nutrition and healthy living since 2004. She’s also a keen sportswoman: her background is in endurance sport but she now competes as a natural bodybuilder, most recently winning a world title with the INBF. When she’s not writing content, she can be found blogging at thefitwriter.wordpress.com. Follow her on Facebook & Twitter (@thefitwriter) too.