Why Most People Fail with Their New Year Resolution Fitness Goals

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

January 9, 2020

It’s at least odd (not to say entirely wrong) how most people handle their fitness goals and training once a new year starts. Far too many hit the gym hard and diet severely because if it’s a new year, then it has to be a new self-version at some point. I know you may not like the way you look and also feel a boost of motivation for a change. But once that motivation fades away, unless your plan is well-thought, you will quit and get frustrated. There are ways to avoid that, and I want to give you a more prosperous and sustainable approach. There is nothing wrong with having a new year resolution plan and I know you might have been sedentary and feasted in excess these past weeks. It’s January, take it slow, relax, you have time!

A sudden and radical change of your entire daily habits is extreme, and your body and mind don’t well perceive this significant transition. You can’t accommodate rapidly to it, and that makes the process unsustainable. And especially if regular moderate exercising wasn’t part of your routine lately.

You have to build the intensity more progressively. I suppose you want substantial results that last more than a summer, and it takes more than you presumed to achieve a long life new self-version. The process is complex and you need the right knowledge to stay on the path and reach your goals. The quintessential things you’ll have to do transcends training and dieting. It’s personal development.

Nevertheless, studying the theory about training and dieting is essential to excellent programming (here you can access some links about training and dieting). Then you have to work at your own pace and take steady steps every week. As you go through the process, you need work ethic, meaning discipline, consistency, and a mindset ready to adjust, overcome, conquer and accept failure or disappointment from time to time. Reality always beats expectations; that’s why you need achievable and realistic fitness goals. Dream as much as you want, but then make a plan, set long term goals, and then daily doable habits that lead to the outcome.

The final target is to get fit, muscular, strong and healthy. You already know that training, recovery, and nutrition are vital. Yet, to reach that outcome rests within those little daily actions that ultimately build a new you.

You will struggle daily to stay disciplined, self-aware, goal-oriented, and to learn a little about everything that helps your cause. Gradually add new habits at your pace and allow your mind and body to adapt. With slight adjustments, you will be able to add and set greater tasks such as training 4 times a week instead of 3, or trying to eat a little less refined sugar (Here you can read why table sugar does so much harm). These are but two little examples you can take to secure your future result. Repetition is key, and with time, you will enjoy this journey. Once it happens, you are unstoppable!

The truth is that a lack of proper knowledge, a wrong mindset or attitude can generate false expectations that can lead to total failure.

Your Success Depends on Time

Time Is Important for New Year Resolution Fitness Goals

Einstein said that time is relative; hence I always emphasis its importance. In fitness too, it is the greatest resource you have. It matters how you perceive it in relation to your expectations and the work you put in. If you’re a hard worker for a short period only, then you’ll achieve nothing glorious, except for getting disappointed.

However, if you keep going and continuously adapt, then you’ll realize that over a long period, results will start to show. Set no timeframes, and instead focus on performance and how you can eat better. That’s something you can have control over! Therefore, give yourself all the time to work on the ability to adapt and adjust.

I train outdoors all-year-round, and if it’s rainy or freezing or the air pressure is heavy, then I know my mood is affected negatively. So is my desire to smash my workout. But instead of staying home and cry, I dress accordingly and do a light training session. Getting as many workouts done as possible (I don’t care if it’s Christmas or you have a bad day) is part of the work ethic you’ll have to respect.

You can’t control the weather, neither a lot of other external influences. But you can take control of your attitude. Find solutions to every challenge you face, no matter what.

When I was in a quest to burn body fat, I didn’t set timeframes. My only focus was on training (regardless of the state of mind or climate) and cooking as best and often as possible. I cared a lot about sleep and recovery, but also to get my other stuff done every day. I allowed myself all the time in the world; I only wanted to achieve a new body by putting in the work and feel good about it too. There were days when training was impossible. In those situations, I centered myself on other actions that helped my goals, such as cooking a better meal, take a sports massage, do sauna, etc.

Adaption in training is thereby an acceptance that you’re not a machine. You have to know that in general, you will not be able to train at full capacity and with an excellent state of mind. In ordinary, you will be forced to do moderate or light training with a few exceptions when everything is perfect.

Here is why time is essential! If you were able to train beast-mode three months in a row, results are indeed significant. Though, if you can’t do that, it doesn’t mean you’re weak or ungifted. You just need more training and a pace you can sustain. It’s a marathon and not a sprint! Work on your mind and thoughts process.

Nobody in this world can tell you exactly how much it takes to add 10 pounds of muscles or lose 10 pounds of body fat but definitely a lot. Losing weight is a different process in comparison with growing lean muscle tissue. Even so, I can give you a realistic time expectation that you can use as a reference.

My Goal for New Year Resolution is To Remove 10 Kilos. How Much Time Will I Need?

One Year To Lose 10 Kilograms

Starting in January, most people set unworkable and unachievable fitness goals, like losing a few pounds every week. And they rushed and put in a tremendous amount of work for a couple of weeks only to find out it’s impossible to hold on to that for long. I own a far higher fitness level than the majority, and I started 2020 by training way lighter than them. I also intend to keep it so the whole month while I take care of my other body’s needs like proper nurture and study body physiology.

When I aimed to get rid of 10 kilos, I had times when I successfully burned 0.5-1kg every week, and only able to maintain my weight as it was in the following period. Progress isn’t constant and linear. I also followed no strict diets even if, in the short-term, they work.

There are many factors why I couldn’t burn body fat every week, even if I did almost the same things. Specific stuff influenced my capability to downsize every week. But maintaining isn’t regressing, it’s part of progress. Here is what changed:

  1. My ability to train at the same capacity dropped. I needed rest to recharge my batteries, and that forced me to exercise in the green zone (slower)
  2. Weather. I had days when heavy rains and lightning strikes kept me off training, or air pressure was too heavy for me to train hard
  3. The calorie intake. After a short period of red-zone training, my body needed more nutrients and sleep to metabolize
  4. Ineffective muscle recovery. I needed to use the foam roller a lot to release tension from my muscles. Also rest to adapt to the increased intensity, speed, rough terrain, air pressure, humidity, wind, and so on. You will experience the same things, trust me! Just don’t forget it’s normal.

Once I got over these phases, I was able to increase my performance once again. I recovered more rapidly. That allowed me to add more training sessions and volume. It was the point where I finally felt I was getting somewhere. I realized that I required time and to endure and overcome every obstacle whatsoever. The conclusion is that you should focus on adaptation and consistency, rather than killing yourself only to quit in a few weeks (read here about the mathematics of weight loss).

Here what else matters:

Body fat is composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Depending on how heavy you are, age, gender, to burn 1kg of body fat, you may need to inhale around 2.9kg oxygen and to eliminate 2.8kg CO2 and approx 1 liter of water. That is why you need extended training sessions that increase heart rate and pulmonary activity. The harder you train, the less you will resist.

Body fat is energy. More precisely, 1-kilogram stores 7500 calories. A full hour training can’t burn thousands of calories. On average, you can burn from 500 to 1200 calories, depending on dozens of factors. That is why you need dozens of workouts of low-medium intensity. You need training that requires oxygen consumption like cardio.

Food plays a crucial role too, eating too much or too little messes you up entirely. The wrong types of foods can also affect your digestion and slow metabolism too. By training and eating accordingly, you can increase the efficiency of all these. Realistically, you can burn 0.5-1kg almost every week if you don’t diet and training pretty correctly. Establish goals of losing 2-5 kilos a week, and you are doomed to failure!

I didn’t even scratch the surface of how complicated this process is, and I bet you already understood why training like a maniac from January to February makes no sense. Let me give you an example of what habits or daily goals you should set:

  1. Increase the water intake
  2. Do a kind of workout that allows you to train for a full hour which also keeps a pretty increased heart rate
  3. When you exercise, focus on breathing and do exercises that rely on oxygen consumption
  4. Learn to chill and recover so you can add a 4th or 5th workout
  5. Learn nutrition (here are some great articles) so you can avoid certain empty-calorie foods, etc.

I Plan to Gain 10 Pounds of Muscles this Year. When Will I Achieve That?

Several Year to Build 10 Kilograms of Muscles

Hypertrophy is related to many factors. Besides the types of foods, calories play a role too. Plus, depending on the individual, you may need a different dosage of protein, carbs, and fats. Then you need sleep, less alcohol, less partying and nights out, etc. Moreover, you may also need deep tissue massages, therapies, etc.

From experience, I found out how strictly related muscles are to performance. I very often recommend to my followers to focus on improving in their workouts and not wondering whether the muscles grow or not. After you create a good monthly training plan, all that matters is to stick with it and try to get better. One with the ability to enhance performance will benefit more even if the training plan isn’t so good.

Focusing too much on theory and which exercise is best is a total waste of your precious time. Instead, hit those muscles hard with every possible. Learn how to increase volume, intensity, get stronger, and so on (Read here about the advantages of high-volume calisthenics). Muscles will come as a consequence of your perseverance. The experience will teach you how many variations you need to exhaust muscles to failure.

In my effort to become muscular, I cared about doing more pull-ups and pushups than wondering whether they are effective or not. Others, on the other hand, like debating a lot about volume, intensity, exercises, perfect programming, etc. Meanwhile, I worked my ass to success! Getting too judgmental will not help you. My recipe worked and was able to add muscles naturally.

Follow the same principles with bodybuilding too. Don’t do all the reps possible unless experienced. You must avoid getting injured, and training more frequently is better than boosting three hard workouts a week. Through trial and error, you will understand how to improve strength and muscular endurance gradually.

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What is your current fitness level? What are you looking for in your journey to get fitter than ever and what do you think could help you get in the best shape of your life?